Seven numbers show Nigeria far from gender parity
Data shows that Nigeria still has a long way to go in achieving gender parity and the economy is paying for it.
A report by the World Wide Web Foundation and the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) on 32 lower and middle income countries including Nigeria, discovered that, in 2020, the governments in these countries lost an estimated $126 billion in GDP because women were unable to contribute to the digital economy.
Another report by Mckinsey shows that Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) could grow by 23 percent or $229 billion by 2025 if women participated in the economy to the same extent as men.
To achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 which aims to achieve gender equality for all by 2030, Nigeria will need to address these numbers to achieve this goal.
Data has also shown that women are less likely to have access to the internet compared to men. For instance, Equal Access International (EAI) carried out research which shows that around 60 percent of women in Northern Nigeria do not have access to the internet. This was shown to be as a result of cultural and gender norms in this region.
Another research by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) revealed that 55 percent of men in Northern Nigeria do not want their wives to use the internet, and 61 percent of fathers discourage their daughters from using the internet.
Women are the worst hit when looking at Nigeria’s unemployment numbers. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, about 23 million Nigerians are without jobs. While 31.8 percent are men, women make up 35 percent of the unemployed population in the country.
This explains why although women make up less than 50 percent of Nigeria’s population, they account for more than 70 percent of Nigeria’s poor population are women, according to the World Poverty Clock.
Nigerian women have the lowest proportion of female lawmakers on the African continent with just 6 percent of seats in the national parliament held by women compared to an average of 15 percent across sub-Saharan Africa, according to data from the Geneva-based group.
This participation level is low, especially when compared to Rwanda, where women representation in the parliament accounts for 61.3 percent in the Lower House and 38.5 percent in the Upper House.
According to the United Nations, only five out of the 73 candidates that ran for the office of the president in 2019 were women.Also, out of about 3,000 women in political parties, only 64 got elected in offices in 2019.
Women are more financially excluded than men in Nigeria.
According to a report by Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), a financial sector development organisation promoting financial inclusion in Nigeria, only 45 percent of Nigerian women use formal financial services compared to 56 percent of men.
Financial inclusion helps to bridge income gaps and combat poverty. Exclusion means that more women will get poorer and income gaps will widen.
Nigerian women hold only 23.4 percent of board directorships of the NSE’s top 20 companies by market capitalisation, according to a 2021 report by the Professional Women Roundtable (PWR).
This represented a marginal increase of 2.5 per cent, compared with the 20.9 percent recorded the previous year.
The report stated that 56 seats (23.4 percent) out of 239 board seats available in the top 20 companies were held by women, while 183 seats (76.6 percent) were held by men during the period under review.
Nigeria has the highest number of child brides in the West African region and the 11th highest rates of child marriages globally with an estimated 22 million child brides in the country.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 44 percent of Nigeria’s female population are married before their 18th birthday compared to 3 percent of boys before the age of 18.
According to data from a 2021 Global Gender Gap Index by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Nigeria ranked 139th position out of 153 countries, the worst ranking since 2006.
The index tracks progress towards gender parity and compares economies’ gender gaps across four dimensions: economic opportunities, education, health and political leadership.
Nigeria scored low in these four dimensions especially in political leadership.