Gender Issues and the Challenges of Rural Development in Nigeria: A Case Study of Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State 2006-2011
Statement of Research Objectives
The broad objective of this study is to evaluate gender issues and the challenges of rural development in Nigeria. The specific objectives include:
- To determine the challenges of gender issues to rural development
- To evaluate the significant impact of gender to rural development
- To determine the challenges of gender issues on women participation in rural development.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Modernity and Post Modernity Theory
Modernity and post modernity is what was often referred to in the nineteenth century as the “woman question” was in the modern period driven from theoretical debate to an insistent demand for political change, particularly when it came to the issue of enfranchisement. The next generation of New women in the modern period, then, were the suffragettes of first two decades and then the flappers of the twenties. This was a period when women finally saw the political implementation of a number of equal-rights issues, particularly the vote, which was not extended to women in England until 1918 and was not extended to women in the United States until the 1920 ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.
The Jazz Age of the twenties followed, a time when women began to rebel against earlier conventions for proper female behaviour, a rebellion exemplified in both changing fashion and changing manners (Smoking, drinking, Sexual experiment etc).
Also of note in the modern period was the large number of women writing difficult modernist works that they defined against the market (and the traditional novel, which had formerly been the accepted outlet for female creativity). In literature, Virginia woolf, H.D and Gertrude stein are particularly notable figures.
Restoration/Enlightenment theory of gender: By most scholarly accounts, the eighteenth century was a transitional period in the understandings of gender and sexuality. It was during this period that the ground work was laid for the “naturalization” of gender categories, which became especially important in the nineteenth century and which provided for the belief that gendered behaviour was a matter of biology that, in short biology was destiny. Eighteenth century medial science paved the way for a strict binary system of gender by “discovering” the incommensurable differences between male and female bodies.
Under this new system of sexual dimorphism, women and men were taken to be one another’s opposites in most things. Whereas women were increasingly taken to be passive and passionless, for example men were taken to be aggressive and sexual charged. The assumption of binary gender did not happen overnight because, of particular importance in this period is the rise of Enlightenment values of equality, fraternity, and liberty which many female thinkers argued needed to be applied to all humanity including women.
However, women’s liberation’s was thus from an early age tied to other issues such as class, politics, imperialism and also race (for Evangelical women and radical feminists were particularly outspoken and influential in the fight to abolish slavery in commonwealth Britain).
Gender is a social construction and codification of differences between the sexes and social relationship between women and men (Oppong 1987, Mason 1984). Historical, ideological, cultural, religions, ethnic and economic factors that can be changed largely in the course of time, influence the society’s outlook at gender by political, economic or cultural influence (Oppong 1987, Mason 1984).
Anken (1975) defined development as strategies, policies and programmes for the improvement of the rural areas. Olujobi (2001) assert that “gender is a division of humanity into two distinctive categories based on their sexes”. Sex is seen as the obvious biological differences between men and women. To some sociologists, it is used to connote the roles played by women and men and deals not only with differences (how society constructs feminine and masculine people by also with how the society connotes power on each of the sexes.
Jaham (1974) posited that, the issues of women most especially, involvement in economic activities to alleviating poverty is not analogous to the rights of marginal populations, minorities and other disadvantaged groups, but is one concerning half the total population of any country and their involvement in all spheres of life in the process of social and economic transformation. Nigeria women, like their counterparts in other parts of African tradition have multiple responsibilities as mothers and producers and therefore tend to engage in activities that are home-based and less risky (Nwoye, 2005). According to Nwoye he maintained that, these have negative implications, as low risk activities are often those, which produce limited returns. The reduced physical mobility of many of the rural women who operate in this category also prevents them from seeking out information on better economic opportunities.
By physical assessments and systematic studies, Nigeria’s rural areas remain very highly underdeveloped, development include massive poverty, absence of physical, social and economic infrastructures including the worsening status of rural women. There exists a huge disparity between rural and urban areas, regional government efforts. (Onokerhoraye 1978, Ude 1989, Olayiwola and Adeleye 2005).
Nseabasi (2015) maintained that, of greatest interest is the fact that today’s population is mostly dominated by women, who are subsistence agricultural practices. He further added that, the patriarchal Nature of Nigerian’s societal structures imply that women to men, which tend to narrow their spaces of opportunities and limit their participation in development.
Kamar, Lawal, Babangida and Jahun (2014) emphasize the importance of engaging women in rural development as follows:
- To reach the women, once you have reached the women, you have reached the children, you have reached nation, you have reached nation at home, in the school, in the university, in the city, in the village level, at the rural development practices, and in opportunities of engaging women in rural development activities. What critical areas should nation do to enhancing the integration of women in rural development? These and related questions are addressed with particular reference to Nigeria (kamar, Lawal, Babangida and Jahun, 2014).
Various research method were used in this study among which are the questionnaire and interview method which were used simultaneously so as to minimize loss of any pertinent research information, thus provide a pool of knowledge from various respondents. The questionnaires were administered to various category of people, male and female of Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State with a view to eliciting their opinions on the issue under investigation.
To achieve research precision and obtain reliable result in order to elicit extent validity, the use of multiple data gathering techniques was adopted in looking at gender issues and challenges of rural development in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, the researcher used survey method.
In structuring the questionnaire, efforts were made to give respondents the chance to write their views through the use of structured summated rating scale (Likert rating scale).
The interview method employed by the researcher is a conversation inform of questions or statements asked by the researcher to the indigent citizens with the simple aim of obtaining relevant information for the study. It is pertinent to infer that the use of structured interview method is just out of necessity rather than design. Hence there are no field rules or procedures that are sacrosanct, rather every stage of preparation is a preamble to the interview.
Area of the Study
The research work is limited to Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State situate in Ebonyi Central Zone. Ikwo Local Government is bounded in East by Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State and West by Abakaliki Local Government Area, North by Izzi Local Government Area and South by Ezza and Cross River State. The indigenes are predominantly subsistence farmer. The research is restricted to the gender issues and challenges of rural development in Nigeria a case study of Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State because of time and financial constraints.
Population of the Study
The target population of this study is the female gender of Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State origin; out of which a sample of 135,998 indigenes was selected, and Taro Yamen formula was used to reduce the population into researchable size of 398 respondents. Thus, 200 questionnaires were returned after administering to the respondents to elicit their responses.
This chapter deals with the presentation and analysis of the results which the researcher was able to gather through questionnaire administration and interview (unstructured).
The questionnaires were designed for the purposes of this research work.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Summary of the Finding
This research work revealed that gender issues and the challenges of rural development in Nigeria pertinent. Gender issues are one of the biggest and strongest problem bedeviling Nigerian economic growth, posterity and development more especially in the rural development aspect. This work also revealed that gender bias and gender discrimination account for majority of underdevelopment in the rural areas, ill fighting in political position, lack of transparency, accountability and hence peace in our society. Certain gender practices and social influence prevent gender balance especially the women folk such as school enrolment.
The various problems facing our societal development, abandonment of project, insecurity, and increasing poverty are the offshoot of gender issues. The challenges of gender are the after-math of the problems of rural development in Nigeria, because from findings they are many projects that affect life which the female gender would embark but because of harassment, lack of access to land, poor environmental problems, discrimination and biasness in decision making by the male gender prevent such participation or occurrence hence the empirical evidence derived from the analysis shows that the validity of the general result that gender issues pose challenges to rural development in Nigeria development experience and agenda.
Considering the results of the finding, it is obvious that gender issues pose challenges to rural development in Nigeria owing to an extent that the female gender are neglected in decision making, appointment in various positions of authority, discriminated against their male counterpart, subjected to unpaid labour/domestic activities for almost their life and at times denial of source of living such as land.
In recent times the challenges of gender issues have attracted national outcry as a result of gender based discriminatory practices in Nigeria and other violence associated to it. The negative implication of this is the major challenges of rural development such as poor socio-economic development and infrastructural development.
It is therefore pertinent and high time that Nigeria should look into the grave dangers associated with gender issues and the challenges to rural development.
Based on the findings and conclusions, the researcher made the following recommendations:
- Implementation of Beijing women’s world conference. This, if implemented should be able to address the African platform for Action such as combating the increasing poverty of African women, improved access to education and health services, advancing legal and human rights of women in order to reduce gender issues and its challenges to rural development.
- Effective law should be enacted to maintain equality in line with Nigerian constitution which should be made more effective and reliable on issues concerning gender issues because it provides equality before the law hence certain gender are discriminated against the orbit of law.
- Women group should form non governmental organization in order to improve the living condition, status and wage serious war against discrimination. They should be internal mechanism which should protect the legal right of the female gender.
- Good recruitment scheme.
- The male gender should provide employment opportunities to the female gender so as to make them compete favourably like their counterpart in the Western World. They should also empower the women to be self employed or self reliant.
- Institutional re-orientation Different institutions should be given orientation to understand the relevance of equality in promoting rural development than posing gender challenges to rural development. The traditional institution, religious institution should preach against gender bias in different homes or institution.
- Gender statistics department should be maintained. Government should have efficient and reliable database on gender issues so as to serve as guide in decision making and appointment. Gender statistics is also necessary in infrastructural development so as to save the lives of mothers from immediate danger of the environment that would reduce population of the country which would have helped in rural development of his/her area.
- Equal education for all National assembly should legalize education for all citizens both male and female in order to maintain gender balance and reduce discrimination and street hawking/begging going on in alarming rate in different city centres of Nigeria and also prevent imminent challenges of gender and rural development hence education is the life wire of every successful nation.
- Cultural regeneration should be introduced Those cultures which do not support gender balance should be changed with legal backings and institutional framework be established to provide good platform that will cement new generation of culture that cares for all both male and female for better rural development.
Recommendation for Further Studies
- To examine the impact of foreign culture on gender issues and its negatives consequences.
- To investigate gender issues and its challenges to national building.
- The imperative of gender alliance for effective rural development and nation’s building in global context.
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