FACTORS INFLUENCING FEMALE ACADEMICS’ CAREER GROWTH AND LEADERSHIP POSITION IN NIGERIA UNIVERSITY

CHAPTER ONE
1.0 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the problem
Prior to colonisation, Nigerian women especially from the south-west had
been involved in activities outside the home as traders, farmers and merchants
(Anugwom, 2009). They were also a force to reckon with in community activities,
hence, they were addressed as Iya Loja (Important woman in the market place), Iya
laje (Astute business woman), Iya lode (A female public figure), Erelu (A female
chief in Egba land), which are female chieftaincy titles to eulogise and recognise
the various achievements and hard work of women (Lebeuf, 1963; Okonjo, 1976,
1991; Ekejiuba, 1991; Sator, 1992; and Pereira, 2007). Also, in the pre-colonial
era, women in the south-western region of Nigeria had their share of social
responsibilities and leadership roles (Uwaezuoke and Ezeh, 2008).
With the advent of colonisation and the introduction of western education
and western social values however, the education brought by the colonialists was
modelled predominantly towards the mental development of boys and men; this
was evidenced by the number of boys‘ schools that were established during this era
and the enrolment figures of boys, compared to girls (Uwaezuoke and Ezeh, 2008).
Girls‘ secondary schools came after serious agitations, and when it did, parents
were already sceptical about sending their girls to school (Anugwom, 2009). Also,
the work establishment created by these institutions, such as the Civil Service, the
Boat Industries, Churches and Schools were almost exclusively open to men only
(Nka, 1974; Zuga, 1999).
Girls who later went to school at this period were groomed in readiness for
marriage, so that they can become good wives to their husbands, efficient mothers
to their children and women of good conduct who would know how to take care of
the home. Uwaezuoke and Ezeh (2008) reiterated that girls were exposed to such
subjects as Home Economics, English Language, Civics, Religious and Moral
Instructions.

As a result of socialisation, educational, cultural and institutional conditioning,
most females avoid male dominated occupations and subjects, such as Engineering,
Applied Science and Mathematics (Erinosho, 2001); even in academics, the very few
who venture into these occupations have difficulties (Mawasha, Lam, Vesalo, Leitch,
and Rice, 2000), significant among which is slow or lack of career growth.
Research has reiterated the fact that dominant members of an occupation or
organisation have greater influence on its values, norms and work climate, minorities
are considered as mere tokens and as non-indigenes (Kanter, 1977; 1979). Meanwhile,
in the past two decades, participation of women in higher education has improved
(Singh, 2002; Odejide, 2006; Mabawonku, 20062
; Nnaike, 2008; Lawal, 2008). But,
despite this improvement, women still lag behind as academic staff compared to men,
and they very rarely occupy academic leadership positions, especially in the University
system.
It is pertinent to note here that, female-dominated occupations like nursing,
teaching at lower level, secretarial and librarianship profession are typically seen as
lower in status and salary (Chusmir, 1990; Hayes, 1986). However, the reluctance of
males to adopt egalitarian roles may also be attributable to the fact that ‘men who enter
so-called “feminine” fields are more likely than women who enter male-dominated
fields to be devalued and even ridiculed for engaging in “gender-inappropriate”
behaviour’ (Jome and Tokar, 1998, p. 121). Alternatively, it may be that ‘men as a
result of their socialization feel uneasy about exercising the “caring” side of their
personalities, which is a requirement of some traditionally female occupations’
(Clement, 1987, p. 264)

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Updated: 16th November 2020 — 6:55 pm

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