THE ROLE OF WOMEN EDUCATION IN PROMOTING HEALTHY SOCIETY IN DEVELOPING SOCIETY
Background of the study
Education in its broadest perspective is the lifelong learning, both formal and informal, which aims at equipping the individual effectively with acceptable skills, knowledge, attitudes and competences that will enable him/her to cope favorably with the problems of the society. It is one of the main keys to economic development and improvements in human welfare. As global economic competition grows deeper, education becomes an important source of competitive advantage, closely linked to economic growth, and a way for countries to attract jobs and investment. In addition, education appears to be one of the key determinants of lifetime earnings. Countries therefore, frequently see raising educational attainment as a way of tackling poverty and deprivation.
In developing countries, education is also linked to a whole batch of indicators of human development. Unfortunately, the potential contribution of women in education is undervalued and underutilized (Onyishi, 2007). In Nigeria, there had been several developmental initiatives in the sector since 1960; however, the standard has been degrading instead of getting better (Norah & Ihensekhien,
2009). In view of the crucial role of women in molding individuals from birth and throughout human lifecycle, there is no way a country can achieve development without the participation of women in government. It is not just the participation of women in government that is the necessary solution, but having women in decision making positions. In many countries of the world, the contributions of women were not being recognized until when the United Nations (UN) declared the Decade of Women (1976-1985), making it mandatory on governments to focus on issues of women as an integral component of national development (Lawson, 2008).
Women's education can be regarded as a kind of knowledge given to women for enhancing their self-respect and self-dignity. This knowledge can be in form of formal, non-formal and informal education, it can also be in form of adult education, community development, workshops, seminars, conferences and training. Women's education is for making women to become economically independent and self-reliant (Lawson, 2008). Women as mothers, are educators within their families, what they learn, they pass on to their children and their future generations (Lawson, 2008).
Education for women is a development priority due to the dynamic potential of educated women. Therefore, the main objectives for women's education are as follows:
⦁ To enable women to improve their family's health and diet.
⦁ To increase women's productive ability, thus raising their families' standard of living.
⦁ To give women access to appropriate technologies, management of
cooperatives and the use of loan facilities.
⦁ To improve women's social and culture status.
⦁ To enable women to discharge their responsibilities more effectively
⦁ Helping women to fight their own fears and feelings of inadequacy or
⦁ Educating women in all round development. That is mentally, socially, physically, psychologically, religiously and economically.
⦁ To make women participate fully in all the affairs of their nation and to be at centre of sustainable development.
⦁ To make women able to acquire their own basic needs of the society, like food, shelter, fuel, clothes and nurturing.
⦁ To enhance nation building in terms of economic and human development.
Since Nigeria has joined the rest of the world to allow women to participate fully in the society; from going to school to doing formal jobs, she has witnessed a remarkable improvement in educational sector and the workplace (Anugwom,
2009). The Federal Government of Nigeria has also fully embraced some of the resolutions of these conferences and has in the past ten years or so appointed women generally into some decision making positions such as Ministers, Special Advisers, Director Generals, etc. To this effect, this study is set to investigate the role of women of education in the development of Igbo-Eze North local government area of Enugu state.
Statement of the problem
The current wave of globalization has greatly improved the lives of women worldwide, particularly the lives of women in the developing world. Nevertheless, women remain disadvantaged in many areas of life, including education, employment, health, and civil rights. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development and the World Bank, 57 percent of the 72 million primary school aged children who do not attend school are females. Additionally, girls are four percent less likely than boys to complete primary schools (Gender statistics, 2010). While many gains have been made with regards to overall level of education worldwide and more children than ever are now attending primary school (King, 2013), there is still not world-wide gender parity in education. In every income bracket, there are more female children than male children who are not attending school. Generally, girls in the poorest 20 percent of household have the lowest chance of getting an education (Jensen, 2010). This inequality does not necessarily change in adulthood.
Statistics show that of the 774 million illiterate adults worldwide, 64 percent are women – a statistic virtually unchanged from the early 1990s (Herz & Gene, 2004). The United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to promote gender equality and empower women therefore uses education as its target and the measure of gender disparity in education as its indicator of progress. Through the efforts of the international community, the UN hopes to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education in all levels of education no later than 2015. What a lofty target to realize!
There are still 58 million girls worldwide who are not in school. The majority of these girls live in sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia. A girl growing up in a poor family in sub-Saharan Africa has less than a one-in-four chance of getting a secondary education. The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to get as many girls as boys into primary and secondary school by 2005 is likely to be missed in more than 75 countries. Nigeria is still among the nations facing many challenges in reaching that target by 2015 as well bridging gender gap in primary and secondary education. It is imperative to say that education plays a particularly important role as a foundation for girls’ development towards adult life. At the time ensuring gender equality requires adapting equally to the needs and interests of girls and boys. International human rights law lays down a threefold set of criteria where by girls should have an equal right to education, equal right in education and their equal rights should be protected and promoted through education (Akmam, 2002).
Gender inequality in education is extreme. Girls are less likely to access school, to remain in school or to achieve in education. Despite almost 30 years of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and 20years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), today girls make up around 56 per cent of the 77 million children not in school, and women make up two thirds of the adults who are illiterate. Even girls who do enroll in school may have irregular attendance due to other demands on them, and the fact that their education may not be prioritized. Girls are more likely to repeat years, to drop out early and to fail key subjects, and in most countries girls are less likely to complete the transition to secondary schooling. Inequality in society inevitably has an impact on the provision and content of education. Hence, the need to examine and address the issues surrounding poor education of women in our society cannot be overemphasized.
Purpose of the Study
The intent of this study is to examine the role of women education in Igbo-Eze North local government area of Enugu state. The study will specifically
1. The challenges of women education in the area under study.
2. The extent to which women are venturing into tertiary education in the area under study.
3. The benefit of women education in the area under study.
4. The role of women education in the area under study.
Significance of the Study
Theoretically, this will throw more light on the existing literature with regard to the place of women education in developmental processes and the extent to which women are embracing educational ventures.
It will be of great help to students and researchers who may want to investigate issues relating to women education. This work will also serve as a working document to women community-based organizations and other established women organizations that are interested in improving the status of women.
This study will provide Nigerian women with the fundamental reliability and understanding of the women and access to education in Enugu state, thereby keeping them abreast on the mechanisms suitable for the promotion of gender equality in economic and political participation.
This work will also be more beneficial to women, especially those who are aspiring for political positions.
This work will serve as a basis for building structures that will promote the aspirations of women on gender equality in political participation.
This research work will also be beneficial to policy makers in general, thereby including more women into the decision making process.
If findings of this study are implemented, it will help to restore confidence in women, thereby building a sense of belonging in them to collaborate with their male counterpart in driving the economy of the state.
This work will produce data, which will enhance the understanding of major challenges confronting women and education pursuits in developmental processes and the best strategies for eliminating the constraints. Based on this, governmental and non-governmental organizations would be able to mount effective policies and empowerment programmes that would be beneficial to women and the world in general.
This research work will equally serve as a good reading material for all those who seek knowledge, especially those who desire to enrich their knowledge on the issue concern women education and developmental strive.
Scope of the study
The study was specifically carried out in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area and did not extent to geographical areas. The study generally examined the role of women education in urban areas in Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State. It is limited to investigating:
⦁ The challenges of women education in the area under study.
⦁ The extent to which women are venturing into tertiary education in the area under study.
⦁ The benefit of women education in the area under study.
⦁ The role of women education in the area under study.
This study will be guided by the following research questions:
1. What are the challenges of women education in the area under study?
2. To what extent are women venturing into tertiary education in the area under study?
3. What are the benefits of women education in the area under study?
4. What are the roles of women education in the area under study?
This chapter is concerned with the review of related studies earlier done in the field of women education and development. It is organized into four subheadings, namely: conceptual framework, theoretical framework, empirical studies and summary of review of related literature.
Female education is a catch-all term of a complex set of issues and debates surrounding education (primary education, secondary education, tertiary education, and health education in particular) for girls and women(UNESCO, 2017). It includes areas of gender equality and access to education, and its connection to the alleviation of poverty. Also involved are the issues of single-sex education and religious education , in that the division of education along gender lines as well as religious teachings on education have been traditionally dominant and are still highly relevant in contemporary discussions of educating females as a global consideration.
In fact, women education refers to the entire movement and advocacy towards encouraging women to venture into education beyond the basic level so as to have equal job opportunity with their men counterparts. It is encouragement for easy access to all levels of education, irrespective of the course involved. The essence of women education is partly to make these gender disparities in education better. For instance in West Africa, Lindsay (2005) posited that the ratio of education completion in which 43.6% of men have completed primary education as opposed to 35.4% of women; 6.0% of men have completed secondary education as opposed to 3.3% of women; and 0.7% of men have completed tertiary education as opposed to 0.2% of women is to be corrected through women education advocacy..