Women in public administration: The challenges and prospects
1.1 Background to the Study
Under international standards, both men and women should have equal rights and opportunities to everything worldwide, most especially to participate fully in all aspects and at all levels of the public administration. Globally, women constitute over half of the world’s population and contribute in vital ways to societal development generally. In most societies, women assume some key roles, which are: mother, producer, home-manager, and community organizer, socio-cultural and political activists. Of these many roles mentioned, the last has been engendered by women movement (Oluyemi, 2016).
It has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that woman has been down trodden and cannot he heard. African derogatory ideologies on women are inhuman and unjust. Women are perceived to be properties and thus have been thoroughly enmeshed in the people’s mind (Anumudu, 2006). In Nigeria, the issue of marginalization of women in public administration and gender disparities in the provision of education, employment and general recognition in other spheres of life still generates an unhealthy debate.
In politics and decision making, Nigeria’s pre-colonial history is replete with the exploits of queen Amina of Zaria, who led armies to drive out invaders from Zaria. Moremi of Ile-Ife, among other who have contributed immensely to the development of their society and left a footprint on the sand of history. Equally, Nigeria’s recent past speaks of prominent women leaders like Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Magaret Ekpo and Hajia Gambo Sawaba who champion various causes of women emancipation (Asaju and Adagba, 2013:60). In modern Nigeria, “women have played the roles of bread winners and decision makers in many families in the event of the demise of the father of the house or inadequate male presence” (Onwubiko, 2012:68).
Today, many women have established themselves in different spheres and professional callings. Examples of these women include Folorunsho Alakija, Hajia Bola Shagaya (Business); Patience Ozokwor, Genevieve Nnaji (Entertainment); Chioma Ajunwa, Amelia Okoli (Sport); Prof. Francisca Okeke, Prof. Grace Alele Williams (Education); Prof. Adenike Grange, Dr. Olufunmilayo Falusi Olupade (Medicine); Diezani Allison-Madueke, Hajia Zainab Maina (public administration) to mention a few.
The steady advancement of women in contributing to the socio-economic development in Nigeria has impacted tremendously on the national polity and successive governments have responded positively in many ways. These include the establishment of Federal Ministry of Women affairs and its parastatal, the National Council of Women’s Societies (NCWS) which provided additional and statutory avenue for the promotion of women related issues and the enhancement of their role in national development. Equally, more women were or are being appointed into key political and decision making position such as Ministers, Judges, Permanent Secretaries, Director-General among others. Despite this tremendous feat achieved by women, the wide disparities between men and women in the country in terms of access to socio-economic opportunities including participation in politics and decision making makes it extremely difficult for women to fully realize their potentials in contributing to national development (Ngara and Abayam, 2013). Therefore, this study seeks to examine the women in public administration by focusing on the challenges and prospects.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Since the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial and in contemporary time in Nigeria, women never enjoyed parity with men in the political scene or in public administration. The history of public administration in Nigeria is replete with issues of male domination and women tokenism in participation in public affairs (Aina and Olayode, 2012). The public sector has remained male-centric even in contemporary time. The military era consolidated on this chauvinistic tradition and merely provided women with the least opportunity to challenge gender inequalities and discrimination in the Nigerian public administration.
Concerted efforts made by government and non-governmental organizations to increase the level of participation of women in public administration such as the declaration made at the fourth World Conference on women in Beijing, which advocated 30% affirmative action and National Gender Policy (NGP) that recommended 35% affirmative action, have not translated to gender equality for the Nigerian women as effective participation of women both in elective politics and appointment remains largely elusive. Admittedly women constitute an oppressed, exploited and under-privileged in the third world countries of which Nigeria is one.
Finally, the recent involvement of women in political positions in Nigeria is being hailed by many as a seminal movement of the advancement of women in politics. But a deeper look at the current political gender balance shows that women still have a long way to go in order to gain equal footing in the nation’s halls of power.
It is against this backdrop that this study seeks to investigate women in public administration.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of the study is to assess women in public administration by focusing on the challenges and prospects. The specific objectives are:
i. To assess the roles play by women in nation building in contemporary time in Nigeria.
ii. To examine the impact of gender inequality on staffing of women in the Nigerian public sector.
iii. To investigate the impact of affirmative action on women political participation in Nigeria.
1.4 Research Questions
The study is being conducted with the following research questions:
i. What are the roles played by women in nation building in contemporary time in Nigeria?
ii. What is the impact of gender inequality on staffing of women in the Nigerian public sector?
iii. How does affirmative action affect women political participation in Nigeria?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The under mentioned hypotheses will be tested in the course of the study:
Ho: The roles play by women is not having a significant impact on nation building in contemporary time in Nigeria.
Hi: The roles play by women is having a significant impact on nation building in contemporary time in Nigeria.
Ho: There is no significant relationship between gender inequality and staffing of women in the Nigerian public sector.
Hi: There is a significant relationship between gender inequality and staffing of women in the Nigerian public sector.
Ho: Affirmative action is not affecting women political participation in Nigeria.
Hi: Affirmative action is affecting women political participation in Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study