THE ROLE OF GENDER IN ADMINISTRATIVE POSITIONS IN NIGERIA PUBLIC SECTOR
Nigerian public sector industry has long been the exclusive realm of the Nigeria men. This is as a result of the prevalent view in the world that women are subordinates, as a result of which certain jobs were not meant or seen as appropriate for them. Another general assumption is that women are less-educated, lack of the will to coordinate, lack the motivation to achieve, always less-concerned, more committed to their role as women/mother than Jobs, naturally weak and lazy and do not make good administrators cum managers. A problem this work tend to evaluate, taking cognizance that with more education cum knowledge, women have left the traditional careers open to them and have gone into fields that formerly were exclusive to men of which management is one. This study, therefore, tends to focus on women in management to discover the problems they encounter as they compete with men to move up the administrative ladder, and the opportunities open to them which they could explore to enhance their advancement in their career. The study in evaluating the above stated problems adopts the use of primary and secondary data. The primary data, combined the use of role face to interview among educated women in the selected public parastatals cum agency like Federal Inland Revenue Department (FIRS), National Agency for food and drug administration Corporation (NAFDAC), Bureau for Public Enterprises for Privatization and Commercialization (BPE) and Extended Programme for Immunization Department (EPI) and the admission of questionnaires among staff of the above mentioned departments and agencies. The study in its secondary data made use of materials from archival library, Journal and, CD Rom, necessary to form a good value judgment of the work. The instruments used are in-depth interview method and questionnaires. To enhance the further study, the work used analytical approach using statistical and descriptive methods that was enhanced by interpretative concept. The work is situated on the Trait Theory. The findings prove that there has been a remarkable change in what was obtainable before. The results show that for women to get into administrative jobs, they should have a minimum of first degree with professional qualifications as an added advantage for better opportunities. Women administrators or managers have become more dedicated, vibrant and goal achieving at their work, not allowing family responsibilities to affect their performance at work. Women who have managed big offices in recent time in Nigeria had shown that gender is not a barrier if you can achieve and have a vision to sail through. In conclusion, although promotion policy of organization does not discriminate against woman and “on-the-job” training is provided for women administrators, there are still few women at top management positions. Gender and organizational policy are the reasons for few women at top management positions, of which the Jinx should be totally broken to allow for more women participation in the administration of the society at large.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The focus of this study is on the problems and opportunities of women in administrative (directorship) positions within the selected public corporations in the federal level in Nigeria. The administrative world is said to be dominated by men, with women concentrated in the lower paid jobs lacking status, until recently in the Nigeria public sectors when some women, with dedication, diligence and determination emerged to change or become the vessels of change against what Oguje (1985) had equally argued and agreed that long before now, the Nigerian administrative industry and business have been the exclusive realm of the Nigerian men. The stemmed from the fact that the business cum administrative world’s attitude toward women in management situation is merely extension of male’s attitudes toward women in general. These misconceptions have been instilled in the males mind at a very early age.
The participation of males and females within the African Social economy was regulated by their gender. Women in Nigeria like their males in other parts of the world, used to be confined to domestic roles. The roles and position of women were learned in childhood through the process of socialization. Girls were socialized into female roles. They were homemakers and help the new in several respects. Few of them attended school. Parents believed that it was not gainful to educate the female folk because they would marry with other families, and as a result, they will not profit their knowledge cum skill. The women’s role had been clearer mapped out by the man. A boy was given first option of receiving education, not daring to look beyond doors, to the world of greater goals and achievement. To contemplate such was sacrilege. This is basically proved to be the arisen ‘d’etre’ for the relegation of women to the role of serfs (Afolabi, 1983) noted.
However, in Nigeria today, the number of educated women has increased and is still increasing. All the courses in Nigeria Universities are open to both males and females, and the women are showing their capabilities in all the fields. Through education, women have left the traditional careers open to them and have gone into other fields, even fields formerly exclusive to men. Salamatu (2005) in this respect noted that the days for wait and receive from men are over as educated women are now the main hustlers and job givers in the competitive society of ours. In discussing how the women excel more than their men folk she further asserts that they sit the same examinations with their male counterparts and excel. Now, there are many women professionals for examples, woman doctors, pharmacists, lawyers, engineers and managers among others.
Explicating this broken of chain by women folk, Kuforiji-Olubi (1986) reiterated in some parts of Nigeria more than others, under the guise of religion or age-worn practice, women no matter how well educated are relegated to the background and traditionally are expected to be contented in purely supportive roles. A good example of this is the practice of Pudha in the Northern part of Nigeria. This is a system whereby married women are confined in their homes (or cover themselves from head to toe on going out) in order not to be seen by other men. A case Salamatu (2005) believed that those Northern people or elites practicing it are dehumanizing the human race and making slave out of nothing from womanhood. Agreeing with the scholar above Oguje (1985) said that the broken of this chain of chord to some extent had made it that a woman could aspire to become a secretary to the president of a blue–chip corporation, but never to the high office itself. Even nepotism offered female heirs no real opportunities since father realized that daughters would never receive the respect of the male employees.
To this premonition, Kuforiji – Olubi (1986) posit that in most parts of the world, Nigeria not excepted, male managers and directors respectively, remains the gate-keepers to women’s entry into the executive suite, and the problem of women is far more basic than gaining recognition for their competence, as it touches more on the legitimacy for a women being in an executive role.
According to Arden (1996) the inability of women to rise to the top position is due to the degree of sizing of the capability of the women folk by their men counterparts, who sees them as weak and never do well. A temporary bridge created and foisted on the women by the men dominated society. To which effect, Oguje (1985) detested that if there is to be true equality between the sexes in management, it will be necessary that traditional male sexist value undergo fundamental changes. Another emphasis is that there has been discrimination in the apex of leadership traditionally. In many places, women are not allowed to hold traditional to direct and manage the affairs of the Nigeria administrations, and that they are encourage to participate on equal levels with men. This study is geared towards findings out from women in senior administrative cum managerial positions the opportunities before them and the problems they undergo in order to make a success of their chosen careers. In this process, the study will looks at emerging role and performance of women in National food and drug administration control, Bureau of Public enterprises, Extended programme in Immunization and federal Inland revenue services.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Administration in Nigeria is said to be domain of men. It was not common for women to work in organizations; there were paucity of women in the managerial hierarchy. Women were confined to domestic roles. Women are preparing themselves for positions beyond those occupied by women since World War II. More are remaining single; more continue to work consistently and for as many years as men. Women are realizing that it is not necessary to choose between work and family life and are discovering management can make it possible to successfully accomplish both.
Despite their training, only very few women hold management posts especially at top management level. This seems to be a world –wide phenomenon. Asplound (1988) and Jackiel (2010:34) pointed out that there are few women director and that even in organizations with a predominantly female staff very few of the women are directors CBN (1994) and Africa Human Resources Journal (1998) showed that the managing directors of most banks and financial institutions are men, while public parastatals and government agencies are the only officers you see women aspiring to the positions of director-generals and above among others.
Although the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria does not favour discrimination of women because of their sex, this does not seems to be in practice. There is little evidence that legislative changes have had any positive effect on women at work. According to Kuforiju – Olubi (1986) (once and one of the few women at top position) most women are discouraged from taking managerial roles in organization or even in the professions and also men are discouraged from accepting them as managers cum directors. She pointed out that for a woman to succeed and reach the top in her profession or organization, she has to be exceptional. One exceptional woman a midst the difficulties and barriers often thrown in their way, can reach the apex of an organization or the upper level of the ladder. It is not a requirement that every woman must be outstandingly competent but such competence is necessary to overcome the barrier. It is also confirmed that women who have attained senior positions work harder than any man in the same situation. There is also an insinuation that women in a high positions are constantly being tried and tested by their peers and subordinates and interested standards – by alike, most of whom cannot hide their consternation and curiosity, but a knowledgeable, efficient and hard working woman soon gain the respect and admiration of her associates and very often pleasantly surprise her otherwise would be detractors.
The painful difference between the sexes is that a man must confirm, expectations for his success, whereas a woman must often disconfirm expectations for her failure. Generally there is the assumption that women are less educated, lack the motivation to achieve and are more committed to their roles as women cum mothers than their jobs. From the foregoing statements, the following are broad questions are raised:
1. What opportunities are there for women director in corporate organization?
2. What problem or obstacles militates against their progress up the management ladder.
3. Do family responsibilities affect the performance of women directors?
4. Do women directors receive on-the-job training?
5. Does the promotion policy of organization apply equally to men and women
6. Why are there few women at the top managerial positions?
7. How has the role of these women enhance society development in terms of performance?
8. What are the possible challenges against their performance expectations?
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The followings are research adduced questions to be answered while writing this work.
1. Are women discriminated against in their work places?
2. Can women directors cope with long hours of work?
3. Are women able to cope with the tensions and pressures of administration?
4. Are there peculiar traits in women that prevent them from reaching the top level of administration?
5. What is the general conduct of male colleagues towards women directors?
6. What qualification do women need, for administrative jobs?
1.4 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
This work is guided by the following research objectives:
i. To evaluate available opportunities for women in management in the administrative sectors of the Nigeria economy.
ii. To identify the problems or obstacles to the advancement and promotion of women in corporate and public employment in the administrative sectors of the economy.
iii. To find out what extent gender affects the career of women in administration.
iv. To examine what problems women do encounter in their bid to move up the directorship ladder
v. To determine the opportunities open to women in administrative position which they can explore.
vi. To determine if there is a level beyond which women cannot progress in organization
vii. To evaluate if there is any challenge against women performance expectation.
viii. To examine the role of the women in administrative positions as affecting the development of the society.
ix. To make appropriate suggestions.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This work is significance in several ways. First, the study is important because it will help women who want careers in administration of directors to know what is required of them and the problems before them, so that they can begin early to prepare themselves for success. Secondly, the study’s choice of NAFDAC, EPI, FIRS and BPE among other was to explicate how women had in the last nine years coherently managed the affairs of these organizations with reckonable achievement competitive to their male counterparts. Thirdly, although in Nigeria, sex discrimination is illegal and equal treatment is advocated, this work will educate the public on what is obtainable in practice. Thus, it will help alleviate social problems and help reform conservative traditional systems that keep stereotyped roles for women. Fourthly, the study will enhance and encourage policy makers to formulate effective policies on non-discriminate and efficient use of the workforce of the nation irrespective of gender. Fifthly, the informed that the women are credible access to nation building if only the society will appreciate and appropriate the capabilities of women in attaining high offices. Sixthly, the work in affirming this nations helps to extend the frontier of knowledge. Finally, from the study tertiary institutions in the country can draw some necessary information for the design of traditional programmes to add to their curriculum which will enable them to better equip and train their female students for success in their chosen careers, and to introduce changes in the traditional male sexist values.
The study adopts the followings as its hypotheses:
i. That Family responsibility does not mostly affect the performance of female directors at work.
ii. That Women director in most cases receives on-the-job training to enhance their performance.
iii. That promotion and appointment in most organization’s policy applies to both male and female equally.
iv. That the positions of gender coupled with company policy are the reason for few women holding top management positions in organization.
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
The investigation of this inquiry and the unfolding deduction is centered on the period 1999 to 2009, being the very time the selected women in public paratatals - director (NAFDAC, EPI, BPE, FIRS) occupied the various offices that had earned them prestige and acknowledgement.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
The study, based on the fact that the topic is a little bit controversial, has fallen into several limitations. The known apathy of Nigerian to questionnaires responses particularly when it affects matters of corporate policy. Other limitations are the general uncertainty in the country’s political economy and social life in the current period, the availability of the women, time factor and finance particularly for transportation in the course of data collection and production of the finished work. Shortfall, in men’s responses also inform some element of sectional apathy couple with poor logistic that negated the who process of investigations. However, despite these limitation efforts was made to carry out the research thoroughly, in order to form good value judgment consequent our stipulated research topic.
1.9 DEFINITION OF RESEARCH TERMS
Premised on the research topic, the followings are the research definition of terms:
Gender: It is the manner of categorizing individuals that uses biological difference as the basis of assigning social differences.
Parastatals: This is government subsidiary company, meant to service government duties. They are profit making firms per say but help to sustain government in the implementation of its policies.
Manager: A person who has been appointed to carryout a job of management. Also a person who undertakes such jobs as a profession that is, a person who holds managerial position
Director-General: A person holding the general supervisory position to see to the efficiency and effectiveness of a firm. There may be several managers under the head of management supervision.
Sex-role stereotypes: These represent beliefs that have been stable overtime and held by a large proportion of the population. For instance, that men or masculine have dominance traits as independence, aggressiveness and dominance.