Gender inequality is the social phenomenon in which men and women are not treated equally. The treatment may arise from distinctions regarding biology, psychology, or cultural norms prevalent in the society. Some of these distinctions are empirically grounded, while others appear to be social constructs. Studies show the different experiences of genders across many domains including education, life expectancy, personality, interests, family life, careers, and political affiliation.
Gender inequality is experienced differently across different cultures and also affects non-binary people.
Gender inequality in Nigeria is influenced by different cultures and beliefs. In most parts of Nigeria, women are considered subordinate to their male counterparts, especially in Northern Nigeria and other sectors including the Nigeria music industry. It is generally believed that women are best suited as home keepers.
Feminism had not appeared in Nigeria until roughly 40 years ago. This has been attributed to Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. She was born in Nigeria, and was educated through the British schooling system. She supported and fought for women’s rights, as well as for women having a larger impact in the Nigerian government. She was a part of the WIDF (Women’s International Democratic Federation), which helped more women to gain government positions, furthering what she wished to accomplish with women in Nigeria. Ransome-Kuti died in 1978. One of Nigeria’s well-known newspapers referred to her as “a progressive revolutionary” and “a Pan-African visionary.” After the death of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti other feminists like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi and others emerged
Historically, feminist movements have tried to push agendas leading to more gender equality in Nigeria. Among the most known are Federation of Nigerian Women’s Societies (FNWS), Women in Nigeria (WIN), Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), Female in Nigeria (FIN) and Feminist Coalition (a recent movement). Still, most of them have failed to bring about significant political, social or economic growth. Though not without protest, new feminist movements and gender awareness are forming in Nigeria.
Online, women are using mobile phones for social capital building and empowerment, to access information and to form relationships with communities they would not normally engage with.
10 CAUSES OF GENDER INEQUALITY.
Over the years, the world has gotten closer to achieving gender equality. There is better representation of women in politics, more economic opportunities, and better healthcare in many places of the world. However, the World Economic Forum estimates it will take another century before true gender equality becomes a reality. What drives the gap between genders? Here are 10 causes of gender inequality:
#1. Uneven access to education;
Around the world, women still have less access to education than men. ¼ of young women between 15-24 will not finish primary school. That group makes up 58% of the people not completing that basic education. Of all the illiterate people in the world, ⅔ are women. When girls are not educated on the same level as boys, it has a huge effect on their future and the kinds of opportunities they’ll get.
#2. Lack of employment equality;
Only 6 countries in the world give women the same legal work rights as men. In fact, most economies give women only ¾ the rights of men. Studies show that if employment became a more even playing field, it has a positive domino effect on other areas prone to gender inequality.
#3. Job segregation;
One of the causes for gender inequality within employment is the division of jobs. In most societies, there’s an inherent belief that men are simply better equipped to handle certain jobs. Most of the time, those are the jobs that pay the best. This discrimination results in lower income for women. Women also take on the primary responsibility for unpaid labor, so even as they participate in the paid workforce, they have extra work that never gets recognized financially.
#4. Lack of legal protections;
According to research from the World Bank, over one billion women don’t have legal protection against domestic sexual violence or domestic economic violence. Both have a significant impact on women’s ability to thrive and live in freedom. In many countries, there’s also a lack of legal protections against harassment in the workplace, at school, and in public. These places become unsafe and without protection, women frequently have to make decisions that compromise and limit their goals.
#5. Lack of bodily autonomy;
Many women around the world do not have authority over their own bodies or when they become parents. Accessing birth control is frequently very difficult. According to the World Health Organization, over 200 million women who don’t want to get pregnant are not using contraception. There are various reasons for this such as a lack of options, limited access, and cultural/religious opposition. On a global scale, about 40% of pregnancies are not planned and while 50% of them do end in abortion, 38% result in births. These mothers often become financially dependent on another person or the state, losing their freedom.
#6. Poor Medical Care;
In addition to limited access to contraception, women overall receive lower-quality medical care than men. This is linked to other gender inequality reasons such as a lack of education and job opportunities, which results in more women being in poverty. They are less likely to be able to afford good healthcare. There’s also been less research into diseases that affect women more than men, such as autoimmune disorders and chronic pain conditions. Many women also experience discrimination and dismissal from their doctors, broadening the gender gap in healthcare quality.
#7. Lack of religious freedom;
When religious freedom is attacked, women suffer the most. According to the World Economic Forum, when extremist ideologies (such as ISIS) come into a community and restrict religious freedom, gender inequality gets worse. In a study performed by Georgetown University and Brigham Young University, researchers were also able to connect religious intolerance with women’s ability to participate in the economy. When there’s more religious freedom, an economy becomes more stable thanks to women’s participation.
#8. Lack of Political Representation;
Of all national parliaments at the beginning of 2019, only 24.3% of seats were filled by women. As of June of 2019, 11 Heads of State were women. Despite progress in this area over the years, women are still grossly underrepresented in government and the political process. This means that certain issues that female politicians tend to bring up – such as parental leave and childcare, pensions, gender equality laws and gender-based violence – are often neglected.
It would be impossible to talk about gender inequality without talking about racism. It affects what jobs women of color are able to get and how much they’re paid, as well as how they are viewed by legal and healthcare systems. Gender inequality and racism have been closely-linked for a long time. According to Sally Kitch, a professor and author, European settlers in Virginia decided what work could be taxed based on the race of the woman performing the work. African women’s work was “labor,” so it was taxable, while work performed by English women was “domestic” and not taxable. The pay gaps between white women and women of color continues that legacy of discrimination and contributes to gender inequality.
#10. Societal Mindsets;
It’s less tangible than some of the other causes on this list, but the overall mindset of a society has a significant impact on gender inequality. How society determines the differences and value of men vs. women plays a starring role in every arena, whether it’s employment or the legal system or healthcare. Beliefs about gender run deep and even though progress can be made through laws and structural changes, there’s often a pushback following times of major change. It’s also common for everyone (men and women) to ignore other areas of gender inequality when there’s progress, such as better representation for women in leadership. These types of mindsets prop up gender inequality and delay significant change.
10 FACTS ABOUT GENDER INEQUALITY.
Gender inequality is not as severe as it used to be, but it remains a major human rights issue. Progress is also inconsistent; some countries are much more equal than others. Here are 10 facts that everyone should know about gender inequality today:
#1. Many girls still don’t have equal access to education;
For centuries, girls have lacked equal educational opportunities. In the past, inequality was widespread and restricted most girls from attending primary schools, universities, and other educational institutions. The belief was that women should be wives and mothers, not scholars or professionals. Education access has significantly improved. According to the 2020 Global Gender Gap Report, 88% of females worldwide had primary education. That’s still lower than boys, whose percentage is at 91%. Millions of girls are still unable to attend school.
#2. Gender inequality in education costs countries trillions of dollars;
The effects of unequal education access ripple across the economy. When girls face barriers to finishing at least 12 years of schooling, it costs countries $15-30 trillion in lost lifetime earnings and productivity. According to a World Bank Report (“Missed Opportunities: The High Cost of Not Educating Girls”) women with secondary education are more likely to work. They also earn almost twice as much as women with no education. With the professional opportunities made possible with education, other social problems are addressed such as reduced child mortality, malnutrition, and child
#3. Women are paid less;
According to the World Economic Forum, the gender pay gap persists globally and can be found in nearly every industry and profession. That’s true even when looking at the objective factors that should influence income. On average, women make 68% of what men make for the same work. In countries with the least gender parity, women make just 40%.
#4. Women work more low-paying jobs (and perform more unpaid work);
Women aren’t only making less than men for the same work, they’re also responsible for more low-paying work and work that doesn’t pay at all. Worldwide, women make up 70% of the health and social-care workforce, which includes important but low-paying jobs. Women also perform more unpaid labor such as taking care of kids and elderly family members, cleaning, cooking, and more. The International Labour Organization reports that women spend 3.2x more time on unpaid labor than men.
#5. Violence against women and girls is global and pervasive;
Gender-based violence against girls and women is a global issue. The World Health Organization reports that 1 in 3 women (or over 700 million) suffer physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. It disproportionately affects women in low and lower-middle-income countries. Younger women are also at a higher risk. There is no place on earth where being female isn’t a risk factor for violence.
#6. Gender discrimination affects mental health;
Gender discrimination leads to gender inequality. Several mental health effects follow. A study from 2020 found that women who reported experiencing gender discrimination in the past 12 months had a higher score on a depression screening tool. Women also experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and eating disorders. Women are also 1.5 times more likely to attempt suicide (though men are more likely to die by suicide). Research has searched for inherent characteristics that might explain this mental health gap, but inequality is more likely the primary cause.
#7. Gender inequality, racial discrimination, and LGBTQ+ stigma are linked;
Inequality does not affect everyone the same. In 2020, white women in the United States earned 81 cents for every dollar a white man earns. However, other ethnicities (like Hispanic and Black women) earned just 75 cents. According to a WeForum piece, it seems like focusing on gender diversity generally benefits white women the most. Data also shows that being LGBTQ+ makes people more vulnerable to discrimination.
#8. Climate change and environmental degradation exacerbates gender inequality;
Climate change endangers people of all genders, but women face specific inequalities. According to a CARE International report, women are significantly more likely than men to suffer climate change consequences. There are a few reasons for this, including the fact that women face a higher risk of sexual violence in displacement camps and they shoulder more unpaid responsibilities at home when men leave to find income. Women also make up a high percentage of the communities that depend on local natural resources, which are threatened by climate change and environmental degradation.
#9. Gender inequality leads to worse health outcomes;
According to a series of papers from The Lancet, gender inequality leads to worse health not just for girls and women, but for everyone, including anyone who doesn’t meet traditional expectations for gender. Gendered jobs are one reason. More women die of Ebola because they’re over-represented in paid and unpaid caregiving and nursing jobs. Meanwhile, men are more likely to die of lung disease because of their work in mining. In countries with more female physicians, maternal and infant mortality rates go down. Life expectancy for everyone goes up, as well. When women don’t face barriers to a medical career, it also simply means more doctors, leading to better medical care for all.
#10. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened gender inequality;
Before the pandemic, the world was on track to reach gender parity in around 100 years. The pandemic added more than 35 years. Economic effects are a big reason why. Globally, women occupy more informal, low-paying jobs, which were hit hard by the pandemic. Women occupy more nursing jobs, which come with higher risks. Women also continued to bear most of the world’s unpaid labor, which increased as schools and childcare centers locked down. Gender-based violence also increased.