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A SURVEY OF WOMEN ROLE IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Format: MS WORD  |  Chapter: 1-5  |  Pages: 55  |  492 Users found this project useful  |  Price NGN3,000

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A SURVEY OF WOMEN ROLE IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study 

The discriminatory practice in education which favored the male over the female was very unprogressive yet the government could not do anything to either stop or reverse it (Kema, 2003). The colonial government laid a very bad foundation for education generally and women’s education in particular. It is on record that in Nigeria, the colonial government initially did not show any interest in educational development at all. The early efforts were made by the Christian missionaries who came to evangelize to the people. 

In 1986, the federal ministry of education in Nigeria created a special unit, women’s education unit. This showed that the government was beginning to respond to the urgent need for the development of women. This special right accorded to women in education suggests that apart from women benefitting from general education, there will be a measure of encouragement to them towards specialization in sciences, engineering, and technology. Another area where the federal government of Nigeria intensified effort to develop women’s education was in the establishment of mass literacy commission. The effort of government has been complimented by the non-governmental organizations, who in several ways, especially through the offer of scholarships, and grants to secondary and higher institution female students have greatly promoted women’s education. 

Women empowerment is dated back to 1970’s and the beginning of the international women movement. Many women organizations worldwide set up credit and saving components as a way of both enabling women to increase their incomes, and coming together to address wider gender issues. The micro-credit summit programme is not only out to reach women but also to empower them. Women empowerment is not a modern concept. Women all over the world including countries in the south have been challenging and changing many gender inequalities since the beginning of history. These struggles have not been supported by many men who have not been outraged at injustice against women. 

Man is by nature an independent social being and cannot develop, actualize and objectify himself through labor in isolation from others and from the social environment (Mbah, 2005). Men have to interact with others to live well and to achieve more meaningful sustainable socio-economic development. The relationship between men and women has for a long time been marked by the   sub-ordination of one group to the whips and caprices of another. Women’s position being relegated to the background and placed in a dependency position makes it almost difficult if not impossible for them to take their own decision on issues and problems to affect them more especially on reproductive health. 

(Onu, 1998) opined that “women are at the heart of development. They control most of the nonmoney economy (subsistence agriculture, bearing and raising children, doing domestic labor) and taking important part in the money economy (trading, the formal sector, wage employment)”. He further stressed that everywhere world, women have two jobs, around the home and outside it. This assertion implies that women have a lot in of contribution to make towards the healthy socio-economic development of every county but women are constantly denied this opportunity by the nature of our societal organizations, and the cultural set up that makes it more comfortable for men to maintain the status quo. Today, awareness has led to the recognition of the important role women can play in national development and this calls for an urgent need to address these critical areas that have hindered full recognition of women’s talents, women’s right, women’s development and empowerment. CEDPA (1997) argued that there exist countries barriers that hinder women’s efforts to improve the qualities of their lives. Compared to men, women have less access to crucial resources such as information, education, skill training, health (especially reproductive health and family planning), cash income and credit, all of which are necessary for survival within the current economic depression. 

According to the United Nations Millennium Campaign to reduce world poverty by the year 2015, women work two-third of the world’s working hours. The overwhelming majority of the labor that sustain life-growing food, cooking, raising children, caring for the elderly, maintaining a house, hauling water is done by women, and universally this work is accorded low status and with little or no pay. The ceaseless cycle of labor rarely shows up in economic analysis of a society’s product and value. 

Women earn only 10 percent of the world income. Where women work, they are limited to a set of jobs deemed suitable for women invariable low pay, low status position. Furthermore, there are certain laws or customs that prevent women from getting loans or credit, or having the right to inheritance or to own their homes, they have no assets to leverage for economic stability and cannot invest in their own or their children’s future. 

Presently, women have more opportunities for education and stronger legal rights in many countries; they are taking leadership roles in local communities and stand at the fore front of peace movement. Perhaps the greatest change will come when women and men agree to work together for gender equality. Women’s rights are well established by international agreements, notably the international agreements on eradication of discrimination against women (CEDAW), which explicitly include women within the definition of human and hence in all international human right conventions. 

In our society, community development practice is not new. Before the colonial era various communities employed communal efforts as mechanism for mobilizing community resources to effect physical improvement and functional facilities in their various localities. In the social, political and economic aspect of their lives. Through communal labor farmland were cultivated, homes steeds constructed and other needed amenities provided. 

In the colonial era a new concept of community development was introduced in the area of mass mobilization for self-help activities. Community development in recent times has come on top of the agenda of federal, state and local government in Nigeria. This re-awakening is justified for obvious reasons. It is common knowledge that Nigeria communities have been showing no appreciable improvement in the provisions of basic needs like food, house, medicate educational facilitates and provisions of social amenities like roads, water supply electricity etc. This situation has steadily degenerated into state of poverty diseases, filth, ignorance, unemployment for the majority of the people and their coping mechanism drastically eroded and is at the brink of collapse. 

In the third National development plan (1975-1980) the country’s rural development policy was for the first time incorporated in the framework of national development. The policy stipulated that the main objectives of the rural development are to increase rural productivity and income, diversify rural economy through the provision of basic social amenities such as health centers, pipe borne water and feeder roads .Also the establishment of local government areas in 1976 by the military government down to the grassroots in order to enhance full participation of the community members. But this has not made transformatory impact; it rather seems to have aggravated the problems. Rural areas (communities) still remain in deplorable conditions.  Under the present administration, the reviewed community development policy seeks to build the enthusiasm among the various partners involved in rural development. This study focuses on women who have also been recently affirmed as principal prerequisites for a successful approach to rural development. 

From the onset, women have prided themselves in participating in what is today rural development. However, in societies where the agrarian’s mode of production dominates, roles are often directed or dictated by the society and culture. This limits the role, challenges of women to family related activities. (criele et al, 1977) 

Women in Nigeria like their counterparts in other parts of developing countries are mostly involved in food production to feed their families. According to world Bank(1993),women in Nigeria are responsible for production of about 70 percent of the total food supply. NCEMA (1990) and FOA (1979) also showed that the contribution of women to food production was 5060 percent in Asia and more than 30 percent in Latin America. The main activities of women in rural communities is mainly participating in agricultural production (cocoa, oil palm, rubber, coffee). These crops serves as sources of revenue for the government. The women also are involved in agro forestry production particularly around the rural compound and farm stead. 

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