Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Gender Inequality and Appointment to Leadership Positions in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Gender Inequality and Appointment to Leadership Positions in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions

Article excerpt


The issue of gender bias has become one of the most consistent violations of human rights, denying particularly women of their equality, dignity, security, self-worth, has infringed their fundamental freedom. This endemic situation is prevalent in many developing countries of which Nigeria is no exception. Mostly, the situation usually arises from considerable issues such as inequality in education, employment, and health outcomes. In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are many discrepancies between sexes in education. Employment opportunities as well as wages and salaries tend to differ greatly in developing countries (UNESCO, 2003).

This situation tends to sideline women in many spheres of life. This is because they tend to be affected physically, mentally, psychologically and emotionally. Even though there have been interventions to ease the problem of gender inequalities in terms of education and employment, the encountering problems that tends to arise seems to be unaddressed. This is because; the limited number of females occupying leadership positions in tertiary institutions in Nigeria seem to be unchallenged. It is on the basis of this that, this present study seeks to examine the causal factors and effects of gender disparities in appointment of leadership positions in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

From generation to generation, some people flinch when you talk about equality of men and women in positions in contest of the needs of society, thinking that you are introducing something far too common for a discussion. I suppose that this issue of inequality of women in selection of key positions in tertiary institutions should be a daunting task that needed to be tackled in a country engulfed in crises like Nigeria.

Statement of the problem

All over the world, the tertiary institution has remained the domain of men unless women's perspectives are infused into both their structure and process. Comparatively, only very small percentages of women have been appointed for the attainment of purely administrative academic positions in the tertiary institutions. It is ironic that the higher institution which is expected to play a proactive role in achieving the goals of equality of opportunity in the society is itself facing the acute problem of gender inequality in respect of overall representation of women in administrative/ academic positions in the system. Even though a considerable number of women have acquired the same academic qualifications like their men counterparts in this present age, the story of inequality is yet to be re-written. The former President Jonathan gave license to twelve new Federal Universities, not even one female Vice Chancellor was appointed and last week his successor and the President of Federal republic of Nigeria General Muhammad Buhari decided to change them and only one lady was among the thirteen Vice Chancellors appointed. This trend has become of great concern to many who are agitating that women should be given the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the development and be part of policymaking bodies. Thus, women have become the focus of international programmes and conferences aimed at integrating them into the development process on an equal basis with men.

Defining gender inequality

Even though gender inequality is a broad issue on the international agenda, there is no general accepted definition of the term. This is because it is a broad concept that is best understood within the wider context of social exclusion that is the systematic discrimination of individuals based on characteristics such as sex, economic status, race, ethnicity, language and even health status. The United Nations however defines gender "as social-cultural construct, and underscores the social relations between men and women, in which women are systematically subordinated" (UNESCO, 2002). This definition points out that women are restricted and underprivileged in one way or the other. …

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