Gender in Nigeria Report 2012: Improving the Lives of Girls and Women in Nigeria

Nearly one in every four women in sub-Saharan Africa is Nigerian.
Because of its sheer size, the country significantly influences the
achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in sub-
Saharan Africa. The situation of women and girls in Nigeria has a
key role to play in determining the progress of the whole region.
Constitutional guarantees and a National Gender Policy have
not translated into actions or mobilised political will to make the
necessary changes in the lives of girls and women in Nigeria.
The data still suggest that:
• Nigeria ranks 118 of 134 countries in the Gender Equality Index.
• Women make up only 21% of the non-agricultural paid labour force.
• At every educational level women earn less than their male counterparts and in some
situations men with less education earn more than better educated female peers.
• Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa.
The majority of women are concentrated in casual, low-skilled, low paid informal
sector employment.
• Only 7.2% of women own the land they farm, which limits their access to credit and
constrains entrepreneurship and business activity.
• Only 15% of women have a bank account.
• A gender bias in allocation of tax allowances means that women taxpayers are taxed
• In eight Northern States, over 80% of women are unable to read (compared with
54% for men). In Jigawa State, 94% of women (42% of men) are illiterate.
• Nigerian girls who enrol in school leave school earlier than their male counterparts.
• More than two thirds of 15–19 year old girls in Northern Nigeria are unable to read a
sentence compared to less than 10% in the South.
• Only 4% of females complete secondary school in the Northern zones.
• Over half of all women in the North are married by the age of 16 and are expected to
bear a child within the first year of marriage.
• 94% of 15-24 year olds in Kebbi have no knowledge of contraception.
• Girls from poorer families are more likely to marry young and have worse health
• Nigeria has 2% of the world’s population but 10% of global maternal deaths.
• Each day 144 Nigerian women die in childbirth, which is equivalent to one death
every 10 minutes.
• A third of 15-19 year olds in Northern Nigeria have delivered a child without the help
of a health professional, traditional birth attendant or even a friend or relative.
• Poorer girls and women are particularly disadvantaged. Only 7% of women in the
poorest quintile deliver in a health facility, compared to 56% in the highest quintile.
• Women are politically under represented. Their upper and lower house representation
fell from 7% in 2007 to 6% in the 2011 election (the African average is 19%). Only 7
of 109 Senators and 25 of 360 Representatives are women.
• Most 15-24 year old women in Nigeria think it is reasonable for a husband to beat his
wife if she burns the food, refuses sex or goes out without his permission.
• Nearly half of unmarried women in parts of Southern Nigeria have experienced
physical violence.