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Gender Equality: An important economic rationale


 Olatunji Israel Tijani,Bukola Afeni
Adeola Akinrinola

Gender equality simply means a world where women and girls enjoy the same rights and have the same opportunities as men and boys.
Statistics obtained from United Nations as well as an independent survey conducted by the reporters in the process of compiling this report shows that one out of three women around the world have been beaten, coerced into sex and deprived of formal education.
A pseudonym respondent under the name, Peace Ajayi said her coercer claimed that her silence meant “yes” because she didn’t say “no” outrightly.
Another respondent who chose to be anonymous highlighted an emotional threat as one of the methods coercers adopt. They say things like “if you don’t have sex with me, I’ll have sex with someone else,” or “I’ll break up with you if you don’t have sex with me.”
Recently conducted independent survey by the reporters where 27 respondents took part shows that 63% which makes up 17 respondents believe that the most common gender stereotypes in Nigeria is that women’s education end in the kitchen and one out of three has experienced gender discrimination and/or sexual harassment.
In a statement obtained from Adeoye Quadri, an electrical engineer he said women are very good at up keep of the home and should be assigned for the role.
Another respondent is a Lagos based pharmacist, who identify himself as Ugwu, he said “it’s the unfavourable economic situation of the country that made some women to work in an effort to support the family to meet it’s financial needs otherwise women should be a full-time worker in the kitchen and at home generally.
The future of adolescent girls is not so bright
It is estimated that worldwide, 62 million girls’ half of whom are adolescent are not in school. The disparity in gender in education remains quite real today worldwide. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 78% of girls will never enter school, 4% have left school, 24% will enter late. Looking at this data, one would see that the future of adolescent girls looks bleak.

Girls and young women who are victims of gender based violence can be limited in their educational opportunities and success, which can alter their capacity to earn viable income. UNESCO data shows that young women make up two-thirds of the global illiterate population. About 27 million live in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to United Nation Millennium development goal, gender equality can help achieve higher levels of economic growth through women empowerment and development by getting rid of gender stereotyping, gender bias, gender based violence and also educating women and girls because educated women are healthier and earn higher incomes that can lift their households out of poverty while the benefits are been transferred to their children.

7.6 million teachers are needed in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016, data source from financial watch website on assessment of teacher needs by country shows that Nigeria would be in need of over 1.3million teachers in the next 6 years, 12% of the global total. The statistics shows that the biggest challenge remains in Nigeria. Education funding over the years have been poor. Nigeria’s education sector has again been allocated much lower than the 26 percent of national budget recommended by the United Nations.
The global organisation recommended the budgetary benchmark to enable nations adequately cater for rising education demands. But in the proposal presented to the National Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari allocated only 7.04% of the 8.6 trillion 2018 budget to the education.
The allocation is lower than the 7.4 percent the government gave the education sector in the of N7.4 trillion 2017 budget. The teaching profession is unattractive, salary of teachers are poor. And when they retire, their pensions take too long to get to them.
The most essential step to take is making the need for gender equality as part of education and training. The public should be educated on gender inequality and gender based violence. General awareness is minimal and that is why it must be discussed openly.

Approximately 56% making up 15 respondents out of a total of 27 who took part in an independent survey conducted by the reporter believe that gender equality should be included as part of training and education as a way of creating awareness on the need for eradication of gender inequality.
Women empowerment according to MDG will also close the gap between men and women in entrepreneurship.

Women and girls, must be able to share their truths as survivors of targeted gender stereotyping inflicted upon them because of their gender. Real fears about social stigma and isolation can only be overcome through the broad recognition that violence against women and girls is tragically normalized. By not giving the survivors of gender stereotyping emotional affirmation and non-judgemental support, it allow their offenders to operate freely and with impunity therefore they must be advocated for.

Chart 1: Statistics from countries who believe that the role of women in the society is to be good wives and mother
Source: Ananya, Quartz

This research was made possible with support from Code for Nigeria via the Naija Data Ladies programme.

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