Women, Education and Work in Nigeria


This paper examines the implication of the growing educational opportunities for women in Nigeria. Although bias has existed from the traditional Nigerian society against women, recent events especially in education reveal a conquering of this deep-rooted prejudice. Enrollment figures particularly in the last ten years show a remarkable bridging of the gap between the genders. In other words, more and more women are acquiring tertiary education. However, it is the contention of this paper that, in view of the needs of development, education acquired becomes meaningful when utilized in the labour sector. Against this realization, this paper argues that the number of women who have acquired tertiary education is disproportionate to the number involved in the labour sector. Thus, a significant number of women with tertiary education do not get involved in the labour process in Nigeria. Therefore, there is under utilization of manpower and a negative return to investment in human resources. Such factors as the patriarchal nature of the Nigerian labour market, women attitudinal and psychological dispositions, choice of marriage partners by women among others are identified as responsible for the marginal participation of women in the formal labour sector. As a result, there is need for education to address the imperatives of development by liberating women from unfounded and baseless myths or stereotypes that keep them away from labour participation.