Feminization Of Poverty In Nigeria
By Yakubu Yahaya
Poverty has been widely accepted in terms as general scarcity or dearth, or state of one who lacks a certain amount of material possession or money. Absolute poverty or destitution as Nigerian women have been subjected to enforcing the patriarchal human nature refers to deprivation of basic human needs, which commonly includes food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care and education. While feminization of poverty describes a phenomenon in which women represent disproportionate percentages of the world’s poor, the ‘burden of poverty borne by women especially in developing countries’.
Though in recent times policies have been adopted to address the wide spread of poverty amongst women in Africa’s most populous country, they have largely failed to address the issue. Various factors are at play here, first let’s explore the traditional gender role enforced on women, which claims the sole aim of women is family raising. This confines women to the home depriving them of basic education, limiting their ability to participate in both the informal and formal sectors of the economy, resulting in lack of income for them and dependence on spouse of family for livelihood. In Nigeria where 70% of the population live on an average 2 Dollar per day women are thought to constitute approximately 49% of the total population. Participation in industrial sector stands at 11% compared to 38% for men, federal civil service 24% are women compared to 76% for men, also literacy levels amongst men and women shows 59.4% to 74.4% respectively.
These alarming figures shows the extent to which women are been marginalized in most developing countries where Nigeria is not an exception, until recent times women barely held high profile political offices, executive position in corporate organizations amongst others, though there is an upward trend regards that. More need to be done to curb the continuous increase of wide spread abject poverty in Nigeria, not just amongst women but the population in general.
Lastly, the notion of assigning gender roles to women in our traditional contemporary society needs to be revisited as recent study conducted by Times magazine in 2013, shows women are better managers than men. Thus, there is need to encourage subsidized education to encourage parents send their female children to school, effective and efficient skill acquisition programs nationwide, revisiting the proportional figures of women to be employed in the civil services, amongst other policies that could be adopted but to mention a few.