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National Gender Policy


Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development 2006

List of Acronyms  
List of Tables Figures  
Executive Summary     
PART 1: Context and Rationale  
Status of Gender Equality, Development Implications, Problems and Challenges of Bridging Gender Inequalities in Nigeria  

1.1 Introduction   
1.2 Status of Gender Equality and Situation of Women in Nigeria     
1.3 Development Implications of Gender Misconceptions and Persistent Inequalities  

Problems and Challenges of Bridging Gender Inequalities and Women’s Dis-empowerment  
PART 2:  Policy Framework  
Principles, Goals, Objectives, and Priority Targets  

2.1 Conceptual Framework  
2.1 Guiding Principles  
2.2 Policy Goal  
2.3 Objectives  

Priority Targets  
PART 3: Policy Strategies and Institutional Framework  

Broad Strategies, Operational Mechanisms and Institutional Arrangements 


3.1 Broad Strategies  
3.2 Operational Mechanisms and Institutional Arrangements  
3.3 Policy Performance and Gender Impact Assessment  
3.4 Conclusion  


ACHPR                        African Charter on Human and People’s Rights

AIDS                           Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

APPRRW                     African Protocol on People’s Rights and the Rights of Women

AU                               African Union

BPfA                           Beijing Platform for Action

CBCGE-                      Community- Based Committee on Gender Equality

CCGE                          Coordinating Committee on Gender Equality

CEDAW                      Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Of

Discrimination against Women

CIDA                           Canadian International Development Agency

CSOs                           Civil Society Organizations

DfID                            Department for International Development

ECOWAS                    Economic Community of West African States

EFA                             Education for All 

FGC                             Female Genital Circumcision

FGM                            Female Genital Mutilation

FMWASD                    Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development

GEOC                          Gender Equality Opportunities Commission

GAD                            Gender and Development

GMS                            Gender Management System

GSAA                          Gender Situation Assessment and Analysis

HIV                             Human Immunodeficiency Virus

ICPD PoA                    International Conference for Population and Development Programme of Action

ILO                              International Labour Organisation

LGA                                        Local Government Area

MDG                           Millennium Development Goals

NAS                             National Accounting System

NCCC                         National Consultative and Coordinating Committee on Gender Equality 

NCWA                         National Council of Women Affairs

NCWD                         National Centre for Women Development

NEEDS                                   National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy

NEPAD                        New Partnership for African Development

NGOs                          Non Governmental Organizations

NGP                             National Gender Policy

NGSF                           National Gender Strategic Framework

NHRC                          National Human Rights Commission

NTA                            Nigerian Television Authority

NTTGE                        National Technical Team of Gender Experts

OXFAM                       ……………

PATHS                                    Partnership ………….Health Systems

PRSP                            Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

UNDP                          United Nations Development Programme

UNFPA                        United Nations Population Fund

UNICEF                       United Nations Children’s Fund

UNIFEM                      United Nations Development Fund for Women

USAID                         United States Agency for International Development

WID                             Women in Development




Table 3.1               Broad Delivery Strategies and Policy Outcomes




Fig 2.1             Conceptual Framework National Gender Policy

Fig 3.1.            The National Gender Management System

Fig 3.2             National mandate for Gender Equality (Government


 Fig 3.3            Stakeholder Partnership for Gender Equality


FOREWORD     top

The Government of Nigeria is committed to building a nation devoid of gender discrimination, guaranteeing equal access to political, social and economic wealth creation opportunities for women and men; and developing a culture that places premium on the protection of all including children. In furtherance of this goal, government shall promote the full participation of women, men, girls and boys by involving both the public and private sectors as agents of development.  


The mission of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development is to serve as the national vehicle to bring about speedy and healthy development of Nigerian women and men in the mainstream of the national development processes and ensure the survival, protection, development and participation of   all children in preparation for meaningful adult life.


Nigeria as a member of the United Nations signed and ratified the various relevant international instruments, treaties and conventions without reservation. These instruments have always emphasized that member nations put in place all the necessary mechanisms needed to eliminate gender discriminations, ensure equality and human dignity to all, men and women.  Yet there persists discrimination in national and state statues, customary and religious laws.  We all know that in Nigeria , traditions, customs sexual stereotyping of social roles and cultural prejudice continue to militate against enjoyment of rights and full participation of women on an equal basis with men in national development.  The National Gender Policy, which supersedes and replaces the erstwhile National Policy on Women would help to eliminate all such barriers.


The Policy is aligned with relevant regional and international protocols and instruments such as the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA), New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) AU Solemn Declaration for Gender Eqaulity, African Protocol on People’s Rights and the Rights of Women (APPRRW), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), International Conference on Population Development Plan of Action (ICPD PoA), NEEDS/SEEDS, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and a wide range of sectors. The Policy seeks to equip stakeholder with strategic skills for engineering the levels of social change required for achieving the desired empowerment of all citizens. For effective implementation of this policy a National Gender Strategic Framework (NGSF) will be developed.  The NGSF will outline explicit implementation, monitoring and evaluation guidelines for achieving measurable targets and enhancing accountability to gender equality and women’s empowerment.


As a nation and a ministry, we are challenged by values and we will use global standards as instruments to formulate and assess our progress and achievements. These instruments are goals in themselves and tools for raising standards and informing the way policy and institutions work on the issues of gender equality, women’s empowerment and child protection.


Mrs. Inna Maryam Ciroma

Honourable Minister for Women’s Affairs and Social Development

Federal Republic of Nigeria


December 2006


The process that culminated in the production of this document started in August 2006 with the engagement of three Consultants and Technical Assistants by the Ministry; after which a work plan was drafted to ensure the early development of the Policy document. In line with the work plan, the Consultants undertook a review of most national and international documents on women and gender, met with gender focal persons at the various sectors, and had discussions with development partners and members of the civil society and individuals. Zonal workshops were also held in the six geo-political zones to ensure comprehensive and widespread ownership of the document including National Stakeholders Adoption and Finalisation Workshops.

The contribution of a great number of groups, individuals and institutions to the process of conceptualising and drafting this document must be acknowledged. First, we wish to thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, for giving women the impetus to forge a higher vision within Nigeria ’s development space. His executive gestures in giving ample opportunity for women to showcase their aptitude for leadership in many areas of our national development. The numerous policies that his government has put in place to contribute to women’s empowerment openly attest to his commitment to global and regional commitments, many of which he helped to shape. His extra-ordinary support for the cause of women in Nigeria is a legacy yet to be surpassed.

The Honourable Minister for Women’s Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Inna Maryam Ciroma has, through her programmes since assuming office, recognised the need for this transformative policy. Her vision which shaped the process, especially at this crucial time in Nigeria ’s development cannot be over-estimated.

Various key officers of many government Ministries, departments and agencies especially the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs are highly commended for the manner in which they have cooperated to transform the mandate for women empowerment and gender equality in their various sectors. They equally encouraged the process of drafting the Policy through our various consultations with them by providing relevant sector policy documents, programme reports as well as granting in-depth interviews.

Other partners in the process of consultation such as the Media, especially the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), various civil society coalitions at national and state levels, representatives of professional organisations both at formal and informal level, private sector organisations demonstrated immense support by contributing rich memoranda on their concerns and vision for gender equality, most of which confirmed the dire need for this Policy.

We highly appreciate the support of our development partners, including the United Nations family in Nigeria and especially UNIFEM, UNICEF, UNFPA, ILO and the UNDP; bilateral agencies especially CIDA, USAID, DFID; international development agencies including the World Bank and international NGOs such as ENHANSE/USAID Nig., Action Aid International, PATHS, FHI/SNR, and OXFAM, who provided support, contributed memoranda, granted interviews and provided documents on their best practices.



Dr Safiya Illiyasu Muhammad

Permanent Secretary

Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs

and Social Development, Abuja




Promoting gender equality is now globally accepted as a development strategy for reducing poverty levels among women and men, improving health and living standards and enhancing efficiency of public investments. The attainment of gender equality is not only seen as an end in itself and human rights issue, but as a prerequisite for the achievement of sustainable development.


In recognition of the extant National Women’s Policy and other sectoral policies to respond to the challenges of gender inequalities and attendant low socio-economic indicators, a National Gender Policy has been developed to replace the Women’s Policy. An extensive research and consultative process informed the Gender Policy framework while the goal, objectives, strategies and targets were adopted by consensus at several national and zonal workshops convened for stakeholders and partners.


The goal of the National Gender Policy is to “build a just society devoid of discrimination, harness the full potentials of all social groups regardless of sex or circumstance, promote the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and protect the health, social, economic and political well being of all citizens in order to achieve equitable rapid economic growth; evolve an evidence based planning and governance system where human, social, financial and technological resources are efficiently and effectively deployed for sustainable development.”


Some of the key principles upon which the policy is premised are:

a.       Commitment to gender mainstreaming as a development approach and tools for achieving the economic reform agenda, evidence based planning, value re-orientation and social transformation.

b.      Recognition of gender issues as central to and critical to the achievement of national development goals and objectives and a requirement for all policies to be reviewed to reflect gender implications and strategies as contained in the gender policy and implementation modalities specified in the National Gender Strategic Framework;

c.       Realization that effective and results focused policy implementation demands a cooperative interaction of all stakeholders.

d.      Promotion and protection of human rights, social justice and equity.


The Core strategies for achieving the objectives of the National Gender Policy include:

·         Policy, partnership and programme reforms through mainstreaming of gender concerns at all levels;

·         Gender education and capacity building to enhance necessary technical expertise and positive gender culture;

·         Legislative reforms to guarantee gender justice and respect for human rights and

·          Economic reforms for enhanced productivity and sustainable development, especially that which addresses the needs of women and children, and other vulnerable groups.

Information and Communication, Research and data as well as Monitoring and Evaluation are supportive strategies for achieving the policy goal.


Guided by international, regional and national instruments especially the strive to attain the Millennium Development Goals, the policy earmarks targets that are in concert with sectoral targets and is aimed at accelerating economic recovery and progress towards the MDGs. A holistic multi-sectoral approach is proposed for implementation of the policy. Strengthening of existing organs of government is required for policy efficiency and additional institutions and mechanisms are proposed to improved sectoral performance.


An anticipated major challenge to achieving the policy objectives is moving from the policy prescriptions to the actualisation of the policy goal and targets.  For the conceptual framework to be functional, greater synergy is required among stakeholders.  Furthermore, overarching institutional restructuring and increased professionalism is required in order to meet the demands of this policy document.  The efficacy of the policy strategies is contingent on a functional gender management system while the following elements and actions are indispensable:

·         Political Will

·         Gender as a Core Value for Transforming the Nigerian Society

·         Confronting Patriarchy

·         Coordination, Networking, and Monitoring

·         Resource Mobilization

    PART 1     top




1.1.      Introduction     top

Promoting gender equality is now globally accepted as a development strategy for reducing poverty levels among women and men, improving health and living standards and enhancing efficiency of public investments. The attainment of gender equality is not only seen as an end in itself and human rights issue, but as a prerequisite for the achievement of sustainable development.


Gender equality and women’s empowerment continue to be central themes in global treaties, covenants, and declarations because they are now acknowledged as catalysts to people-centred development strategies which focus on poverty reduction, improved  standard of living, and good governments that give men and women equal voices in decision-making and policy implementation. Good governance, attainment of MDGs and other global/regional targets, (CEDAW, EFA, ICPD PoA, ILO, Environment, reduction of HIV/AIDS etc.)


African governments have equally responded positively to the burden of under-development by instituting continent-specific development goals and strategies, while also recognizing the firm commitment to gender equality as the bait to development. These are expressed in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), adopted in 1981 and its Women’s Rights Protocol of 2003; the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, 2001; and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) adopted in July, 2001. These initiatives are linked with other international agreements, and especially the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


The above notwithstanding, the history of development policies in Nigeria has been that of a general neglect of the gender variable. The first twenty years of development planning in Nigeria as a Republic remained largely welfarist, whereby gender concerns and women’s interests were subsumed within the national interest, and a trickle down approach to development practice.  Under such arrangement, development policies remained gender-blind, thus gender was never an issue of development planning.


Nigeria embraced gender-biased economic policies since the decades of 1980s by pursuing economic growth through structural adjustment and broad liberalisation policies. This comprised short-term economic stabilization measures and longer-term market reforms and liberalisation of all key sectors of the economy. The World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Strategies have been broadly accepted and, although Nigeria has exited the strangle-hold of debt crises and enforced liberalisation, by virtue of substantial debt forgiveness and unprecedented foreign reserves, the extant macroeconomic development framework Nigeria Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) is still fashioned, to achieve poverty reduction by subscribing to pro-liberalisation policy frameworks. NEEDS is a Medium-Term Plan conceived to address poverty and achieve sustainable growth through home-grown strategies that aim at wealth creation, employment generation and value re-orientation. NEEDS is therefore not just a macroeconomic policy; it addresses critical social, political and cultural problems that have short-changed Nigeria ’s immense growth and development potentials. Gender issues are subsumed within the latter. Ostensibly therefore, NEEDS claims to address gender inequality lies within this framework. The more visible aspects of NEEDS may therefore be said to be those reforms that reflect more of gender-bias than gender sensitivity.


With the introduction of the Millennium Development Goals, more vigorous global and national attentions are now drawn to pursuing gender sensitive policies. Goal 3 of the MDGs, aimed at achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment, is not only of intrinsic value in itself, but also central to the attainment of all the other MDGs. To meet MDG 3 and all the other goals, there is the need to increase the capacity of development planners and other policy advocates to understand how gender relations work in their interface and at all levels.  For instance, to achieve environmental sustainability, the roles that gender plays in the depletion and pollution of natural resources and the environment, and in particular, the constraints and competition in the access to and use of natural resources must be explored and addressed by complementary policies. 


1.2       Status of Gender Equality and Situation of Women in Nigeria   

Patriarchy     top

Nigeria is a highly patriarchal society, where men dominate all spheres of women’s lives. Women are in a subordinate position (particularly at the community and household levels), and male children are preferred over the female. The influence of the mother and the father is particularly significant in shaping and perpetrating patriarchy. The mother provides the role model for daughters, while the father demonstrates to sons what it means to ‘be a man’ (World Bank 2005:6)


As in other male dominated societies, the social relations and activities of Nigerian women and men are governed by patriarchal systems of socialization and cultural practices which favor the interests of men above those of women. Consequently, a high percentage of women’s employment is restricted to low income-generating activities, concentrated within the lower levels of the unregulated, informal sector, which are not adequately represented in the National Accounting Systems (NAS). By comparison, men employed within the informal sector are located in the upper levels and are predominantly engaged in higher income-generating activities. The need to support initiatives that ensure financial independence for women is a critical step for mainstreaming gender into governance, especially with respect to politics and public life in order to liberate Nigeria ’s human capital resource for active participation in the vision for a free market economy (CIDA Nig.GSAA 2006).


Constitutional Rights

Despite a general commitment to the principle of non-discrimination as enshrined in Section 2 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,  Nigeria falls short of the desired result of giving males and females equal opportunities to advance socially, physically, educationally, politically and economically.  Evidences abound that several negative aspects of gender relations, such as gender-based division of labour, disparities between males and females access to power and resources, and gender biases in rights and entitlements, remain pervasive in Nigeria .  


By the Nigerian Constitution, civil and political rights (Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution) are actionable in a court of law whilst economic, social and cultural rights (Chapter 2 of the 1999 Constitution) are not. Section 43 permits both male and female Nigerians to own and acquire movable and immovable property. In spite of this, a large proportion of women in Nigeria are barred from owning land by customary laws of inheritance.



Data indicates that a sharp contrast between the income generating and livelihood opportunities of women and men persists across multiple sectors in Nigeria . For instance, women’s participation in the industrial sector is 11% as compared with 30% for men. Women represent 87% of those employed in the service sector, which involves predominantly informal and unregulated forms of employment. Women’s participation in income generating activities that are predominantly characterized by intense manual labour, such as mining and quarrying is virtually nonexistent largely due to gender-related perceptions regarding the social construction of labour and production related activities (National Bureau of Statistics, 2004). In the Federal Civil Service, which is the largest single-entity employer in Nigeria, 76% of civil servants are men whereas 24% are women and women hold less than 14% of total management level positions. Women represent 17.5% and men 82.5% of those employed within the medical field, which generally involves highly skilled and relatively well-remunerated work. (CIDA Nig. GSAA 2006).


Gender Roles and Division of Labour

Institutional practices and perceptions of gender roles also have an impact on the equitable enjoyment of employment privileges and incentives, in both urban and rural settings. For example, tax authorities generally assume that male breadwinners bear the sole responsibility for meeting the financial and material needs of families and neglect to acknowledge the existence of female headed households. Accordingly, tax benefits related to child care are restrictively granted to male workers whereas female workers (including single mothers and divorced women with children in their care as well as married women, some of whom are family breadwinners), as a result of being denied access to these benefits, tend to pay relatively higher taxes. (CIDA Nig. GSAA 2006).


Gender-based norms also ascribe women the responsibility of carrying out tasks related to household management (i.e. domestic tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, caring for children and the elderly, etc.), which does not diminish when women engage in paid employment. This dual burden prevents women from pursuing their careers as well as attaining management and decision making positions at the same pace and rate as their male colleagues in virtually all sectors and spheres.



Gender inequalities within the overall society, and across all sectors, reflect the wide disparities between women and men which, in turn, contribute to uneven development and the feminization of poverty. Among the 70% of the population estimated to be living below poverty line, over 65% are projected to be women. Income and purchasing power is estimated to be US$1,495 for men as compared to US$614 for women and men have greater access to high-paying, secure employment. For example, 76% of Federal Civil Service workers are men, whereas women make up 24% of the workforce and occupy less than 14% of the overall management positions, despite the appointment of women to the position of permanent secretaries (beginning in 2000 and in line with affirmative action initiatives). Additionally, approximately 17.5% of medical doctors are women whereas 82.5% are men. These disparities have a significant impact on the capacity of women and men to contribute to the economic growth of the country, the reform agenda, and efforts to reduce dependency ratios within family units and achieve the desired value-re-orientation goal of government. Other indications of gender inequalities include disparities in participation within the formal sector which stands at 87% men with 11% women compared to 30% men engaged in the industrial sector. The extractive industry with annual business volume of over US$42m has almost zero level participation of women. (CIDA Nig. GSAA 2006).


Health and HIV/AIDS

The under-representation of women in decision making bodies and policy formulation processes also has a significant impact on the core economic sectors including the health sector’s responsiveness to gender equality considerations. With the exception of reproductive health policies, the vast majority of sectoral policies and service delivery systems frequently fail to adopt gender-sensitive approaches and address gender inequalities. In the area of health care ensuring access to health facilities and affordable health services remains a major challenge for the country and women in particular. Doctor/patient ratios demonstrate that the health care system lacks the human resources necessary for responding to the health care needs of Nigerians (e.g. the doctor/patient ratio recorded at 1:70’000 in some instances).


As a direct consequence, maternal and child mortality and morbidity rates remain alarmingly high with related implications for the overall health and well-being of Nigerian women and population growth rates. Prevalence levels of communicable diseases are also high, largely as a result of poor sanitation, low levels of awareness, and lack of access to potable water. HIV/AIDS prevalence rates amongst women are higher in part due to the fact that women are biologically more susceptible to contracting HIV than are men. Thus, the infection rate among females 20–24 years of age is 5.6%, as compared with the overall infection rate of 5%, while 60% of new infections are among females 15–25 years of age. Whereas the government has acknowledged the gender dimensions of HIV/AIDS and has developed and implemented gender-sensitive HIV/AIDS programmes, interventions, policies, and strategies (i.e. gender equality considerations are a central aspect of Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS National Strategic Framework), significant challenges remain with respect to addressing practices that perpetuate gender inequalities, such as early marriage, transactional sex, lack of access to health information and services and women’s role in shouldering the burden of care for persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS (CIDA Nig. GSAA 2006).


Legal and Human Rights

As in most nations, Nigeria possesses a body of laws which regulate and govern various aspects of both public and private life. For instance, marriage is regulated by and can be contracted under the Common Law, Statutory Law, Customary Law and Islamic (Shari’a) law. However, the manner in which such laws are interpreted and applied is often inconsistent and frequently varies based on subjective considerations, particularly in cases where women seek redress for violations committed by their spouses or when intestate inheritance issues arise. This is further complicated by unwritten family laws and traditions which discriminate against women, especially in cases related to divorce, child custody and inheritance of properties, although Islamic laws tend to be more accommodating of women’s concerns in cases pertaining to family/marital break-up. Ensuring that laws and acts formulated to protect the rights and interests of women are enforced remains a major challenge for women’s rights advocates and gender and development practitioners.


 Human rights violations are prevalent in Nigeria with women’s rights being violated much more often than those of men, in both the public and private spheres. To date, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), established in 1999, has not adequately fostered the capacity of key public institutions, officials and leaders to generate popular understanding and promote fundamental human rights and freedoms. The most pervasive and severe violations of women’s rights are frequently those associated with the unwritten traditional norms and practices of Nigeria ’s numerous and diverse ethnic groups. The most common norms and practices concern widowhood rites, inheritance rights, the land tenure system, female genital mutilation/female genital circumcision (FGM/FGC) and early marriage. These practices have a devastating impact on the health and well-being of Nigerian women and girls and further undermine their progress and development.



Women are responsible for carrying out 70% of agricultural labour, 50% of animal husbandry related activities and 60% of food processing activities. Despite the integral role that women play in the agricultural sector, their contributions are not valued or recognized, nor are they reflected in the National Accounting Systems or given prime consideration in agricultural policy processes. Consequently, the issues and concerns of women employed in the agricultural sector have been largely overlooked in programs dedicated to improving agricultural productivity. Women have access to less than 20% of available agricultural resources- a serious impediment to their maximising agricultural production. Men are generally presumed to be the chief actors in agricultural production and, as such, are often the main participants in and/or recipients of program-related support.


Gender Based Violence

Gender-based violence has become a major issue in recent times. It reflects the extent to which women’s human rights are threatened thereby leading to the voiceless ness of women in many issues concerning and affecting their lives. Violence against women, particularly domestic violence and rape, is widespread which has increased the vulnerability of women to HIV/AIDS. In Nigeria , harmful traditional practices meant to control women’s sexuality have led to great sufferings. Notable among them is the practice of female genital mutilation, which is a violation of basic rights and a major lifelong risk to women’s health. Another major violence against women is the insalubrious attitude of wife-beating and women trafficking. The underlying force behind this behaviour is the wrong believe that women are inferior and are suppose to be treated as second class citizens in the society.  In other to tap the potentials of women for development, gender sensitive policy that entrench equity between men and women is key.


Equal relationships between men and women in matters of sexual relations and reproduction, including full respect for the physical integrity of the human body, requires mutual respect and willingness to accept responsibility for the consequences of sexual behaviour, sensitivity and equity in gender relations enhance and promote respectful and harmonious partnerships between men and women


The law on domestic violence is clearly inadequate, particularly regarding wife battery. Domestic violence is currently classified under common assault, which down plays the seriousness of this crime. According to section 55 of the penal code, wife beating is allowed as long as it does not amount to grievous hurt. As defined in section 241 of the penal code “grievous hurt” include emasculation, permanent loss of sight, ability to hear or speak facial disfigurement, deprivation of any member or joint, bone fracture or tooth dislocation (Imam, 2000). This means that a man who beats his wife short of inflicting the above injuries is acting within the law. How is the woman’s fundamental right to dignity then protected under such circumstances? Section 353 of the criminal code makes an indecent assault on males punishable by 3 years imprisonment. A similar offence of indecent assault on females is treated as mere misdemeanour punishable by a maximum of 2 years imprisonment (section 360), clearly a discriminatory provision.


Justice and Law Enforcement

The Nigerian Justice and Law Enforcement Administration is not gender friendly in the delivery of its mandate, often negating to adhere to the principle of upholding fundamental rights to freedom and good governance. Operational procedures and protocols within most law enforcement agencies are biased in favour of men. The most striking example is the Police Act which views and treats women as not on equal standing with men. Many of its provisions violate provisions of the CEDAW and the African Protocol on People’s Rights and the Rights of Women (APPRRW). For instance, although women have the right to post bail for police detainees, in practice women are frequently denied this and other rights on insufficient grounds. Within respect to the police force, female police officers are not accorded the same degree of respect as their male counterparts. They are often treated as second-class officers, regardless of their rank, and are seldom awarded strategic career postings, thus limiting their opportunities for professional advancement. With respect to recruitment and training, women are often prevented from participating in full drill training thereby limiting their capacity to effectively perform their duties.


Civil Disturbance and Conflict

Conflicts are unhealthy competition for power, resources and interests. By its very nature, conflict is counter productive. Indeed, the bases of conflicts in different parts of Nigeria are closely related to their economic and political history. The festering areas of conflict ranges from resource control agitation and the natural resource degradation in the Niger Delta Region, ethnic upheavals among rival tribes like the Tivs and Jukuns of the middle belt, The Ifes and Modakekes of the Southwest and nationals of Nigeria and Cameroon in the Bakassi region, to religious conflicts between Muslims and Christians in communities where people have co-existed for centuries. Women and Children suffer more the brunt of conflict relative to men. The issues women faced during conflict and civil disturbance include: violence, rape, hunger and disease, displacement etc. 


Information and Technology

Access to technology and information plays a central role in global power relations and, as such, can be regarded as a determining feature of gender relations and women’s empowerment. Men and women who have limited access to modern technologies are at a distinct disadvantage in terms of their capacities to secure educational, economic and other related opportunities, both locally as well as internationally.


1.3.      Development Implications of Gender Misconceptions and Persistent Inequalities Policy    top

A wrong perception of the concept of gender by policy makers, charged with the responsibility for policy articulation and execution continues to challenge the attainment of gender equality and women’s empowerment goals.  There is still evidence that gender education has not permeated all levels of the populace thus the impression that gender issues are exclusively about women still persists. Similarly the impression that gender issues negatively challenges accepted norms and values of marriage, family and religion is rife. Many stakeholders believe that gender concerns should be addressed only within the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development.


Resource Management and Utilization

Gender inequalities substantially limit women’s access to, control over, and use of services and productive resources. Women face numerous challenges within the agricultural sector, including lack of control over land, capital and even their own labor. Others challenges include lack of access to appropriate technologies, lack of time, exploitation by marketers or service providers and lack of access to productive opportunities. Furthermore, women’s access to improved seeds, fertilisers and pesticides is limited. Generally, women are unable to access extension services and are rarely included in the membership of cooperatives, which often receive government-subsidised inputs for small farmers. Additionally, women lack the capital required to purchase inputs, even when they are offered at subsidised rates. Other examples of unequal access to and control over resources relate to the following:


Gender-based differences also exist in relation to the use of forest resources. Men tend to utilize forest resources for the generation of immediate income (e.g., logging wood for sale to furniture makers and other commercial users) while women generally tend to allow trees to reach maturity in order to cultivate herbs and oils which have medicinal properties (i.e. which can be used for maintenance of family health or for commercial purposes) and to derive higher revenues in the long run. However, due to lack of control over forest resources, women are often denied opportunities to maintain their interests and promote effective and sustainable use of forest resources.


Similarly, environmental degradation reduces the availability of and accessibility to potable water. Daily, women must travel long distances (as far as 2 km in many rural areas in Nigeria ), facing hot and dusty weather conditions, to gather water. Additional time is expended as women must often wait in queues at wells and other water gathering sites in order to gain access to water.



Despite the contributions of women in the agricultural sector, their role in promoting economic growth and social stability continues to be inadequately recognized and undervalued. The following factors are responsible:

  • The male dominated culture in Nigeria   which give women an inferior position in society;
  • Customs that forbids women from owning land, taboos, and the sexual division of labour which keeps women subordinate to men; and
  • The problem of unpaid productive activities performed by women at the domestic front.

Given the above, appropriate gender-sensitive policy that dismantles every form of discrimination against women in agricultural production and land use system will be a priority policy for implementation.


Rights Enjoyment

A gender audit of Nigeria ’s local laws and policies affirms that, until very recently, many legal instruments were discriminatory and/or, at best, gender blind. Ranging from the constitution to the criminal code, local edicts to customary laws, women’s rights have been systematically undermined. Violations of women’s rights are further complicated by the existence of three legal systems—English Law, Customary Law and Shari’a Law.


One outcome of the tripartite legal system is the presence of numerous gender insensitive local laws that are not easily documented and consequently difficult to monitor. Advocating the abrogation of such laws is cumbersome, given the federal system with almost autonomous powers. Consequently, gender-sensitive legislations at the federal level may not result in progress at the state level, suggesting that interventions focused on the state level may be more effective. This reality needs to be better acknowledged by programme planners and implementers.


Macro-Economic Framework

Another dimension of gender-based marginalisation can be perceived in the unwritten norms and traditions which shape and influence organisational culture and practices. Failure to address the discriminatory aspects of frameworks and polices in all sectors will impede efforts to realize the MDGs, NEEDS/SEEDS and other international development goals.



Declining supplies of electricity is a major problem throughout Nigeria . Inconsistent supplies and high costs, especially in rural areas for domestic use and small-scale food processing, also increase women’s dependence on fuel wood. Energy availability and affordability has time and poverty implications for both women and men. However, due to the preponderance of women for cottage production and informal domestic purposes, there exists a need for interventions to be guided towards reducing women’s drudgery; and increasing productivity and thereby family incomes.


1.4Problems and Challenges of Bridging Gender Inequalities and Dis-empowerment: WID vs GAD Approaches Women’s     top

Despite past efforts of government at integrating the women’s question into the development agenda, gender inequalities remain pervasive within most Nigerian spaces. Hence, the current push for a different approach which would not only ensure women empowerment, but a sustainable development for the country through gender equality policy initiatives would help balance power relations between men and women, and transform the institutions which continue to perpetrate gender injustice, poverty, and underdevelopment.


Policy Disconnect

The long history of women empowerment in the country is not in tandem with the current situation analysis with respect to all the gender issues suffered by majority of women in Nigeria . All efforts through special legislation, state bye-laws and gender specific policies at all levels of government and by the civil society though note-worthy have failed to deliver dividends of development to women and men equitably. However the continued manifestations of the problems highlighted at the sectoral level demand for the adoption of a different and more pragmatic approach to the policy framework as compared to that of the National Policy on Women.


Rights Protection

In the absence of an Equal Opportunity Commission in the country, and vibrant legislative structures to protect the rights of women, development opportunities continue to elude women. Worst still, the existing policy documents, including the extant National Policy on Women failed to challenge the structure, which continues to reproduce gender inequality and the overall dis-empowerment of women. Thus, using a development oriented approach; gender inequality is no longer seen only in human rights terms, but also as a cost to the development process. 


Global Goals and Commitment

New development imperatives continue to support the goal of gender equality, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the African Union Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality.  Broad and systematic changes are therefore required to transform the institutional policy processes in such a way that they become gender sensitive and responsive. A new National Gender Policy is therefore required to chart the way for this institutional change, and social transformation amenable to the principles of gender equality.


A major challenge now is how to integrate the principles of gender awareness, sensitivity and responsiveness within the MDGs and other regional and global instruments into the extant national macro-policies such that gender equality becomes more than just the concerns of women and the few gender-sensitive institutions and people but becomes part of the goals of governance at all levels and within the populace.


Policy Direction and Gender Conceptualization

Other challenges in defining a gender policy that will have direct effect on overall development goals as well as gender justice are re-conceptualizing gender ideologies, especially gender equality, not only from the context of legal equality and human or women’s rights, but within a broad development context.  This has led to the retooling of development frameworks that would fit into the expression of gender equality and gender equity.  Hence, this has placed gender relations within macro-economic policy concerns, especially with the realisation that the power relations between women and men are critical to economic growth outcomes.


Therefore, the purpose of the gender policy is to bring a gender perspective into all aspects of planning policy, developing legislation and transformation activities in Nigeria . Thus, the gender policy addresses the systematic inequalities between women and men in our society without ignoring the fundamental differences between them. More importantly, the gender policy prioritises the empowerment of women as an entry point to achieving gender equality, and seeks balance of power relations between men and women for the optimum benefit of both parties.



PART 2     top





2.1.            Conceptual Framework     top

Figure 2.1


System-Wide Approach to Gender Mainstreaming and Women’s Empowerment




2.2.            Guiding Principles     top

The Government and People of Nigeria affirm that: 

e.       Commitment to gender mainstreaming as a development approach shall inform the economic reform agenda, medium and long term development planning, value re-orientation and social transformation and other development initiatives of government.

f.       This Gender Policy supercedes, central to and critical to the achievement of national development goals and objectives. Consequently all policies shall be reviewed to reflect gender implications and strategies as contained in the gender policy and implementation modalities specified in the National Gender Strategic Framework;

g.      Effective and results focused policy implementation demands a cooperative interaction of all stakeholders including government, private sector, civil society organisations, traditional and religious leaders, community based organisations and development partners at all levels. Consequently all stakeholders shall be charged with the mandate for gender equality mainstreaming and women’s empowerment.

h.      The policy shall be based on the promotion and protection of human rights, social justice and equity and will depend on cultural re-orientation, elimination of stereotyping and discrimination as well as support for legislative and judicial reforms.

i.        Appropriate strategies and mechanisms, including financial accountability systems, for the delivery of gender equality as a cross-cutting issue shall be adopted and reviewed periodically to enhance achievement of explicit results and measurable progress towards policy targets. Thus the Policy shall build on existing structures and best practices as well as draw from international experiences and practices.


2.3.      Policy Goal



The overall goal is to
build a just society devoid of discrimination, harness the full potentials of all social groups regardless of sex or circumstance, promote the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and protect the health, social, economic and political well being of all citizens in order to achieve equitable rapid economic growth; evolve an evidence based planning and governance system where human, social, financial and technological resources are efficiently and effectively deployed for sustainable development. 


2.4.      Policy Objectives


The objectives are to:

1.      Establish the framework for gender-responsiveness in all public and private spheres and strengthen capacities of all stakeholders to deliver their component mandate of the gender policy and national gender strategic framework.

2.      Develop and apply gender mainstreaming approaches, tools and instruments that are compatible with the macro-policy framework of the country at any point in time, towards national development.

3.      Adopt gender mainstreaming as a core value and practice in social transformation, organisational cultures and in the general polity in Nigeria .

4.      Incorporate the principles of CEDAW and other global and regional frameworks that support gender equality and women empowerment in the country’s laws, legislative processes, judicial and administrative systems.

5.      Achieve minimum threshold of representation for women in order to promote equal opportunity in all areas of political, social, economic life of the country for women, as well as for men.

6.      Undertake women and men-specific projects as a means of developing the capabilities of both women and men, to enable them take advantage of economic and political opportunities towards the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

7.      Educate and sensitise all stakeholders on the centrality of gender equality and women’s empowerment to the attainment of overall national development.


2.5.   Priority Policy Targets     top

In recognition of the wide gender disparities across sectors and the need to achieve minimum equity thresholds, the policy has identified and set targets for priority areas of action. Appraisal of the policy shall be undertaken every five (5) years with annual gender performance appraisal exercise to assess progress towards target and the attainment of national, regional and international obligations and commitments especially the MDGs.


2.5.1. Objective 1: Establish the framework for gender-responsiveness in all public and private spheres and strengthen capacities of all stakeholders to deliver their component mandate of the gender policy and national gender strategic framework.



(a)    Produce and launch National Gender Strategic Framework (NGSF) by June 2007.

(b)   Develop and operate gender sensitive sectoral policies with adequate human, technical and financial resources for effective performance by the year 2010.

(c)     Establish and operationalize the national gender management system with a fully functional FMWASD (national gender machinery)

(d)   Strengthen the capacity of the State Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development (renamed Ministry of Gender and Social Development) to carry out the new mandate of policy oversight and coordinating function for gender equality programming and monitoring by 2008.

(e)    Build effective partnership between the Public and Private sector and the Civil Society for promoting gender equality principles and practices by 2008.

(f)    Ensure that all partnerships with national and international organisations are based on commitment to gender equality principles, with explicit and measurable results by 2010.


2.5.2. Objective 2: Develop and apply gender mainstreaming approaches, tools and instruments that are compatible with the macro-policy framework of the country at any given time towards national development.



(a) Establish and strengthen appropriate educational, training, institutional and operational frameworks that link the macro-policy environment effectively with the micro level where women, men and communities are experiencing the manifestations of gender inequality by 2010.


(b) Remove all gender-based barriers (including tenure security, access to credit and inputs) facing women in agricultural production, and enhance the visibility, productivity, valuation and documentation of women’s work in the agricultural sector by 2010.


2.5.3. Objective 3: Adopt gender mainstreaming as a core value and practice in social transformation, organisational cultures and in the general polity in Nigeria .


(a)    Entrench a culture of gender sensitivity and equality principles in all institutions and structures of government, private sector and communities with gender policies e.g. administrative, regulatory procedures and practice in place and compliance levels monitored annually by the FMWASD by 2010.


(b)   Eliminate all harmful cultural, religious and social gender- biased practices, which reproduce gender inequalities by 2020.


(c)    Institute mechanisms for enforcing laws that regulate and penalize discriminatory practices by 2008.


2.5.4. Objective 4: Incorporate the principles of CEDAW and other global and regional frameworks that support gender equality and women empowerment in the country’s laws, legislative processes, judicial and administrative systems.



(a)    Achieve equity and equality in employment opportunities and eliminate all discriminatory and abusive practices (on the grounds of sex, ethnicity, class, religion, age, disability, or marital status) against the employment of women in the public and private sectors of the economy by 2015.


(b)    Build the capacity of the legislature, the judiciary and other law enforcement agencies to uphold gender justice and gender equality principles by 2010.


(c) Institute the culture of respect for the human rights of women and men, including freedom of expression, and the elimination of all negative stereotypical representation of women and girls and presentation of gender issues at various levels of the information dissemination and communication chain by 2010.


2.5.5 Objective 5:  Achieve minimum threshold of representation for women in order to promote equal opportunity in all areas of political, social, economic life of the country for women, as well as for men.




(a)      Provide equal opportunities for women and men to enjoy and attain an acceptable minimum threshold of universal access to potable water, sanitation, electricity, transportation, road networks, and general security of life and property by 2015.


(b)      Adopt special measures, quotas and mechanisms for achieving minimum critical threshold of women in political offices, party organs and public life by pursuing 35% affirmative action in favour of women to bridge gender gaps in political representation in    both elective and appointive posts at all levels by 2015.



Objective 6: Undertake women and men-specific projects as a means of developing the capabilities of both women and men, to enable them take advantage of economic and political opportunities towards the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment.



(a)    Ensure equal access of women and men to critical resources (capital, labour, land, technology, and entrepreneurial skills) through special initiatives and reduce the number of citizens in core poverty group particularly women by 2012.


(b)   Address gender dimensions to infection rates by promoting systematic and consistent gender mainstreaming into HIV/AIDS policies, plans, programmes, and activities at all levels; building gender analysis capacity of coordinating agencies; creating an enabling gender-inclusive environment in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and redressing the differential impact of the pandemic on women and men at all levels by 2010.


(c)    Reduce maternal mortality rates by at least 35%, reduce the gender burden of communicable diseases, improve reproductive health care services and strengthen gender responsive, evidence based health systems by 2015.


2.5.7. Objective 7: Educate and sensitise all stakeholders on the centrality of gender equality and women’s empowerment to the attainment of overall national development.



(a)    Guarantee equal access of women, men, girls, and boys to both formal and informal education and skills development opportunities through special programmes and initiatives by 2015.

(b)   Improve demand and supply factors that hamper retention, completion, and high school performances, especially for the girl child at all levels  - primary, secondary, tertiary; and in the informal setting by 2015.


(c)    Mainstream Gender studies in the taught and evaluated curriculum of all formal and          non formal educational institutions/courses at all levels-primary to tertiary by 2010.


(d)    Strengthen and reposition the FMWASD as the lead Gender machinery and the National Centre for Women Development as the primary gender research, training and documentation institution, to enhance capacities of all stakeholders for effective gender mainstreaming and women empowerment by 2008.

PART 3     top







The strategies for achieving the policy goal and objectives are premised on the ‘dual agenda’ principle, which perceives gender equity and equality as beneficial not only to individuals (women and men), but also essential for producing an effective and efficient system, both at the macro (national) and micro (organisational) levels. Recognising the cross-cutting nature of gender issues, the delivery of the gender policy shall be channelled through the seven integrated strategies outlined below.


Table 3.1 Broad Delivery Strategies and Policy Outcomes


Expected Outcomes

Policy, Partnerships and Programme Reforms

Mainstreaming of gender concerns across sectors and at all levels

Information, Communication and Value Re-orientation

Increased Gender Knowledge, Attitude and Practice, Male Involvement and positive gender culture

Capacity Building and Skill Development

Technical expertise and appropriate tools and instruments for sustained gender responsive development

Legislation and Human Rights Protection

Gender Justice and guarantee of Human Rights

Economic Reforms and Financial Accountability

Enhanced productivity of all citizens and gender responsive policy and budget efficiency across sectors

Research, Data and Evidenced Based Planning

Reliable sex disaggregated data and indicators

Monitoring and Evaluation

Effective gender equality tracking and benchmarking of progress


3.1.1. Policy, Partnerships and Programme Reforms

Although the country has consistently affirmed its commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment the existing policy environment across sectors, inter-sectoral cooperation and programming priorities decry this commitment. The seemingly tolerant policy environment, structural arrangements and programme content of line ministries need to be overhauled to respond to gender considerations. A system wide approach to gender mainstreaming shall be pursued by government. Consequently, engendering sector policies, redefining partnership arrangements and re-designing service delivery and other programmes shall be a priority for government and its partners. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development   should be restructured to deliver its increased mandate and its delivery mechanisms strengthened through the establishment of a Gender Equality Opportunities Commission and repositioning of the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD).


3.1.2. Information, Communication and Value-Re-orientation

Resistance to gender equality in the past has largely derived from weak understanding of the implications of gender mainstreaming for all social groups coupled with the failure on the part of gender actors and stakeholders to communicate effectively, the centrality of gender equality in achieving sustainable national development. The policy shall therefore work to enhance and engender the value-reorientation objective of government through the use of appropriate and locally responsive means of communication. A systematic effort to improve knowledge levels and change attitudes of all citizens on gender equality concerns through all communication mediums shall be instituted. Male involvement is critical to achieving gender parity and responsive programming across sectors and shall be adopted as a key approach.


3.1.3. Capacity Building and Skills Development

Dearth of gender technical expertise, inadequate human resources and insufficient skills have plagued the gender and development sector and constrained partners and programme beneficiaries from maximizing development opportunities to the detriment of the overall development of the nation. Redressing sectoral gender imbalances and insensitivities demand for strengthening of gender analytical capacities among a wide spectrum of actors. Sector specific reforms can only be driven by technocrats and professionals who have been equipped with requisite skills to deliver on gender targets and operate gender systems such as the gender budgeting, gender management systems, gender auditing and performance evaluation. Vulnerable and erstwhile marginalized groups particularly women will be equipped through skills development initiatives to access opportunities for self-reliance and economic empowerment under the economic growth and diversification agenda of government. Sector critical mass shall be instituted for accelerated gender mainstreaming programme formulation and implementation.


3.1.4. Legislation and Human Rights Protection

In reality, Nigerian women’s rights much more than men’s are ignored and infringed upon at different stages of their lives despite constitutional guarantees and Nigeria being signatory to many international human rights instruments including CEDAW. The tripartite legal system - statutory/customary/Sharia - operates contradictory evidence procedures which permit trivialization of women’s legal status.  The resultant rights violations perpetuate gender inequality, and curb women’s abilities to participate fully in development processes.


To redress this inequitable situation , the policy proposes several approaches,  human rights protection, review of laws and legislation and strengthening of legal institutions to overhaul laws, body of jurisprudence, structures and procedure as a strategy for mainstreaming and sustaining gender equity and equality principles.


3.1.5. Economic Reform and Financial Accountability

Women are worse hit by economic transition processes, mainly because they lack access to critical resources – education, capital, labour, entrepreneurial skills and equally lack control over the use of their valuable time.  Hence, the percentage of women remains predominantly high among the core poor as public financial systems remain impervious to gender concerns. Sustained economic growth and development is essential to poverty reduction, and women’s empowerment is a strategic and effective entry point to alleviate poverty. Post Beijing efforts of the Nigerian Government have failed to attract noticeable economic transformation for women because they remain focused at the micro level.


The NEEDS ( Nigeria ’s PRSP), as a macro framework is fundamentally flawed in addressing gender equality and women’s empowerment dynamics to economic revitalization. Thus the gender policy seeks to mainstream gender in NEEDS II and subsequent reforms. In addition, to ensuring that gender equality and women empowerment are entrenched in economic (including social and political) reforms, it is essential that financial accountability with regards to women’s empowerment is institutionalised through gender sensitive budgeting, gender benchmarking and gender impact assessment especially of public financial systems. The ultimate aim is that gender equality and women’s empowerment is made central to economic policy formulation and planning.


3.1.6. Research and Data

The critical role of research and the management of sex-disaggregated data for development planning are undisputable. Gender sensitive research does not only provide a deeper insight and greater understanding of gender dimensions to development issues, it also opens space for engagement with institutional and structural culture, mechanisms and focus. Research outcomes help to demystify traditional norms and practices that are harmful to women, men, girls and boys. The policy recognises research as a credible source of data often used to validate data sourced from more regular and routine procedures. In Nigeria as in most developing countries, the dearth of data especially sex-disaggregated data is a recurring problem that has undermined evidence based planning. The policy recognises that until this gap is bridged, development planning and implementation in both public and private sectors will not be effective or gender responsive. Research and Data is also critical to the other broad policy strategies consequently, institutionalisation of research and data is the foundation for the implementation and success of the policy.


3.1.7. Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation shall be an essential strategy for the delivery of the National Gender Policy. Appropriate tools, templates and modalities shall be developed to facilitate annual gender policy performance review. The Policy’s Monitoring and evaluation components shall aim at:

  • Assisting stakeholders to operationalised the Policy as it relates to their specific sectors and/or organisations and generate gender sensitive indicators for assessing performance and progress towards policy goal;
  • Facilitating coordination and regular system-wide assessment of impact of gender mainstreaming initiatives and activities for compliance with policy prescriptions and congruence with planned policy targets;
  • Ascertaining levels of efficient and judicious use of resources, behavioural and value changes occurring over time and
  • Measuring the long-term impact of policy on women and men, and the extent to which policy has helped to close the gender-gap, and enhanced social justice.


3.2              INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK     top

            The Gender Management System for Nigeria

In order to achieve the desired policy targets and social re-orientation, institutional arrangements shall not be in a linear fashion but rather, curvilinear and holistic. A national Gender Management System shall be set up comprising 4 pillars aimed at providing an enabling environment for the intended restructuring of gender role relations in the society, building structures for actualizing targets, providing the required technical skills, institutions and processes for coordinating strategic action for change.


Figure 3.1. The National Gender Management System

3.2. National Mandate for Gender Equality (Government Institutions)

General Functions Domain of Operations
Set National Policy Goals And Targets Federal
Overarching Policy Pronouncements On Gender Equality And Women Empowerment Executive Council
Specific Policy Formulation On Gender Equality And Women Empowerment FMWASD
Coordinate All Gender Equality Efforts  
Promote Institutional Development For G.E  
Coordinate Development of Sectoral Indicators And Gender Action Plans FMWASD
Coordinate And Monitor Implementation of the National Gender Policy FMWASD
Support gender education policies and programmes at all levels FEDERAL
Recommend Rewards and Sanctions
Gender Critical Mass/ Gender Unit: Review Sector Policy Line Ministries
Prescribe Sector Specific Policy Changes Judiciary
Develop Sector Specific Gender Equality Indicators Legislature
Monitor sector gender status
In-House Capacity Building On G.M and gender education
Execute Special Programmes To Promote Gender Equality FMWASD
Developing Women Empowerment Indicators FEDERAL
Research On Status Of Women STATE
Develop And Implement Women Empowerment Programmes .....
Gender education within vocational/skills training schemes NCWD
Relate with MWASD on gender policy implementation Parastatals
SPECIAL MANDATES: Other Government Department / Agencies
Create Gender Critical Mass (GCM)
Gender mainstreaming coordinated by
Think Tank on Gender Issues
Review of Extant Policies
Reviewing Gender Action Plans National Tech. Team of Gender Experts
Perfecting Gender Indicators
Monitoring Gender Benchmarking
Relate with MWASD on gender policy implementation
General Functions Domain of Operations
Set National Policy Goals And Targets Federal
Specific Policy Formulation On Gender Equality And Women Empowerment Federal
Coordinate All Gender Equality Efforts State
Promote Institutional Development For G.E
Coordinate Development Of Sectoral Indicators And Gender Action Plans
Coordinate And Monitor Implementation Of The National Gender Policy
Support gender education policies and programmes at all levels
Recommend Rewards and Sanctions
A Parastatal under FMWASD Federal
Research and Documentation  
Women empowerment progs. State
Gender Equality Department
Newly proposed  
To coordinate gender mainstreaming activities on behalf of the Ministry  
Coalition of Women’s Groups  
Rep Civil Society  
Mainstream gender into policies, procedures, and practices  
Coordinate GEWE initiatives at the LGA level State
Organise around common gender concerns at local level Local Government
Promote cultural and religious harmony on gender values Ward
Mobilise grassroots vanguards of gender culture  
Relate with MWASD on gender policy implementation
Effective performance of the policy, its conceptual framework and strategies shall hinge on the following conditions – The level of financial and human resources allocated to the monitoring and evaluation process; Setting up of effective structures and mechanisms for inter and intra institutional linkages with the Ministry of Women Affairs Capacity building for staff who handle gender equality and social justice policies and programmes; Quality of data collection and utilisation and Availability of data on gender equality and social justice stakeholders There is need to constantly pre-empt the likely differential impacts of government and other institutional policies on women and men through ex-ante policy analysis and also monitor the impacts of macro policies at the micro level, that is on the lives of women and men at the grassroots. This requires generic baseline instruments and indicators that are adaptable to any sector or population group and institutionalization of gender statistics as an instrument of policy at all levels. The National Bureau of Statistics, the Planning, Research and Statistics Department of all line Ministries and other relevant organisations shall collaborate with the NCWD to generate gender specific and sex-disaggregated statistics and other situation reports within all their statutory data systems. It is noted that already, efforts are being made within the reform of the National Bureau of Statistics to collate and publish all gender-related data into a single volume. This attempt will be constantly augmented by action plan reports from the contemporary macro-policy and sector policy reviews.

3.4. CONCLUSIONS    top

The main thrust of the National Gender Policy (NGP) is to promote gender-sensitive and gender responsive culture in policy planning and national development. A major tool for the required social transformation shall be the system wide approach of promoting gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment in all public and private policies and programming priorities and in all organisational and community cultures in Nigeria. Gender equality principles shall therefore become a cultural norm, while women empowerment shall become a corporate responsibility. Core strategies for achieving the objectives of the NGP have been identified as:- · Policy, partnerships and programme reforms through mainstreaming of gender concerns at all levels; · Gender education and capacity building to develop necessary technical expertise and positive gender culture; · Legislative reforms to guarantee gender justice and respect for human rights; and · Economic reforms for enhanced productivity and sustainable development, especially that which addresses the needs of women and children, and other vulnerable groups. A major challenge is how to move from the policy prescriptions specified in this policy document, to the actualisation of the policy framework. Although an elaborate operational and institutional framework has been proposed and further outlined in the NGSF, it is also important to note that greater synergy among stakeholders and overarching institutional restructuring are required in order to realize the goals and objectives of the policy. The efficacy of the policy strategies is depended on the following elements: · Political Will · Gender as a Core Value for Transforming the Nigerian Society · Confronting Patriarchy · Coordination, Networking, and Monitoring

Political Will

Creating a gender responsive and equitable society requires support from the highest level of governance at all tiers, particularly the Presidency. The Presidency, the Federal Executive Council, the Legislative and the Judiciary must embrace and demonstrate gender equality principles and practice for any meaningful change to occur in the wider society.

Gender as a Core Value for Transforming the Nigerian Society

The National Gender Policy Framework is anchored on gender equality principles, and a process in which women’s roles in reproduction and production are not only valued, but are seen as the core of the nation’s wealth upon which national development is anchored. Transforming the Nigerian society must be informed by the truism – ‘a nation that is not engendered is endangered’, while the ‘gender variable’ needs to occupy a central stage in national development. A major challenge for the National Gender Policy Framework therefore, is confronting traditional structures that impede women’s maximum participation in development processes and provide a breeding ground for gender inequalities in the society. 

Confronting Patriarchy

A major task in the implementation of the National Gender Policy is how best to confront patriarchy, exacerbated in the culture of male supremacy. The patriarchal cultural norm remains obscured and protected within traditional institutional structures held in abeyance, and almost in sacredness .To make a meaningful change in gender role relations, in the pursuit of gender equality culture and principles, men and women must share mutual respect, while there must be a reconstruction of gender power play. Gains that will accrue from dismantling patriarchy and societal gains (for men and women) deriving from support for equality for men and women include: · Improved fatherhood and motherhood, as the state and the private sector share social responsibilities for parenting; · Enduring gender role relations as women and men balance their different roles and responsibilities within the private and public spheres of life and exchange of social skills between women and men is enhanced; · Freedom of choice and balance of power in matters of sexuality, reproduction and reproductive health; · Improved quality of life at the household level, with talents and potentials of boys and girls properly nurtured and tapped for development; · Improved leadership terrain through the full use of leadership skills and styles of men and women · A more humane social climate as the needs of men and women, old and young, boys and girls, rich and poor become the focus of policies and development plans become more sustainable. 

Coordination, and Networking

The mandate for gender equality and women empowerment cuts across sectors, and institutions. A major challenge from this, is how best to ensure that these role functions are effective, and accountable, not only within government, but also within the private sector and the civil society. It is also important that these sectoral and institutional interests share the same understanding of the gender equality and women empowerment vision and mission. This can only be achieved through a well targeted coordination, networking and monitoring efforts. The following become mandatory to ensure effective coordination, networking and monitoring – · Drawing up of a National Gender Strategic Framework and Action Plan to be reviewed every five years to guide a System-wide approach to gender mainstreaming and implementation of the policy. Sectoral Gender Action Plans for public and private institutions shall derive from and be aligned with the NGSF; · Ensuring a well coordinated gender mainstreaming framework within and across public and private institutions; · De-centralising gender mainstreaming responsibilities using short, medium, and long – term strategies · Clearly allocate monitoring and evaluation responsibilities within institutions. · Use participatory mechanisms throughout the Gender Management System

Further Strategic Action

The approval of the National Gender Policy is the first step in accomplishing this vision of change and social transformation. It is envisaged that the National Gender Policy shall be operated within the current structures of governance. However, to ensure that the proposed change is more enduring, and for long-term sustainability, it is important to reconsider the structure within which the National Gender Policy shall operate. A major challenge within the present arrangement is how to coordinate the gender mainstreaming efforts across sectors (public and private) without over-tasking the present structure.  Again, it is also important to clearly separate mandates for ‘women empowerment’ and ‘gender equality’, being the two pillars of the National Gender Policy. A solution is proposed through the creation of supportive institutions and/or institutional reforms. Some of this include the Equal Opportunities Commission, the creation of a Department of Gender Equality within the Ministry of Women Affairs and renaming the present National Centre for Women Development – National Centre for Gender Equality and Women Development. Although all institutions (public, private, and community level institutions) are to be involved in collecting and collating gender disaggregated data to ensure proper monitoring and evaluation processes, the Gender Equality Department shall be responsible for the overall coordination and assessment of progress on the implementation of the National Gender Policy, and shall be responsible to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
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