The national policy on women and the challenges of mainstreaming gender issues in Nigeria, 1985-2005
This thesis examines the relevance of the National Policy on Women (NPW) to the aspirations of Nigerian women through their eyes. It also investigates the extent to which state institutional capability exists to implement the policy (and to mainstream gender perspectives as the policy stipulates). The study is based on six months of field work carried out between 2002 and 2004. It combined qualitative and quantitative methods using mainly participatory research techniques. Nigeria has acceded to several regional and international covenants promoting the rights and well-being of women. Finally, in 2000 it made an official statement of intent to promote gender equality by approving the NPW. Yet, successful implementation of policy objectives remains elusive in the absence of comprehensive measures to reverse significant g ender disparities in access to socioeconomic resources, opportunities and benefits. The thesis explores the experiences, perspectives and collective agendas of women from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds to ascertain the nature of their interests and needs and how they compare with the NPW. The study found a considerable degree of compatibility between women's aspirations and the NPW, particularly in terms of addressing immediate practical necessity. However, awareness of the policy is low among most women. Consequently, there is no concerted agenda to push for its implementation. The Gender Management System put in p lace by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs to oversee the mainstreaming of gender policy is undermined by institutionalised and routinised gender bias and by distortions in the wider policy environment.