- BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Gender issues in public service are critical area in gender studies that have not been given serious attention. Emphasis has been largely tilted towards political involvement of both men and women and the consequent implications of the dominance of male over their female counterparts. Although much has been written on gender as an academic area of study, the fact need be underscored that the political content of gender issues, lately has taken for granted the issue of gender discrimination as it relates to recruitment, education and training, deployment, positioning and promotion in the public sector. Thus, the extent to which gender issues reflect in human resources in public service is a matter of academic concern Squirchuk and Bopierke (2000).
Women the world over share common feature, they are marginalized in the sphere of public life. Although they account for roughly one half of every country’s population, women are yet to be proportionately represented in public life anywhere in the world Nwankwo, (1996:1). Throughout history and in many societies, women have been sharing similar experiences of inequality between the sexes, the causes of which are directly linked to a complex historical process. The idea of gender was for the first time brought about in the 1970s by a group of feminists. The underlying factor was to use the concept of gender as a parameter for appreciating the fact that women do not relate to men in much the same way in all circumstances in every culture; and more importantly, that the position of women in society varies considerably.
The concept of gender presupposes a social construct as against biological circumstance of men and women. Sometimes the phrase “sex – gender relations” is used; this reminds us that there is a link between biological differences between men and women and the social assumption about masculinity and feminist Rowbotham, (1992:12).
Over the years, scholars have identified historical facts that women are relegated to private realm while men, on account of their political characteristics and personality traits are designed for activities in the public sector. Olojede (1996:28) argued that societies relied and will always relay on the services provided by women in the societal realm as mothers, wives and sisters. In the same vein, it is being argued by Campbell (1960:110) that men are more efficacious than women in the complexities of the public realm that men are expected to be dominant in action directed towards the world outside the family while the women is to accept his leadership passively. She is therefore, not expected to see herself as an effective agent in the public circle. Okonjo (1955:201) in his study of women in top most positions in Borno, Edo, and Lagos states identified barriers hindering women’s access to top public administrative positions. These include society prejudice, corporate culture and multiple responsibilities of women. In gender, societal prejudice tends to limit the scope of educational and professional training open to women. Corporate culture was also identified as a barrier hindering women to administrative positions. It was found that employers prefer to recruit and promote men rather than women on the premises that women are less achievement oriented and are often distracted from their jobs by their domestic duties. Conflict in multiple roles of women as caretakers of homes and office workers tend to divide women’s attention in different directions with negative consequences on performance at work and promotion.
Another line of thought on the cause of barriers against women in public service is one proposed by Kanter (1976:227). He noted that occupation do not exist in a vacuum; they occur within institution. These institutional structures comprises of people, superior and subordinates, chain of interactions between colleagues and these variables (structural and situational) are considered more important determinants of organizational behaviour of men and women than biologically determined sex differences or societal definitions of roles. He further identified three critical factors which can promote or discourage women in public service careers. Many women, who occupy low opportunity position lack self-esteem, have interrupted careers, peer oriented, more accommodative as against achievement, lack intrinsic motivation.
Generally, gender is still central to understanding the process through which appointments are made to public management positions. Nigerian women are still struggling to find way to break the glass ceiling impose on them in the civil services. Well educated women in Nigeria continue to face numerous contradictive between what they need to service and what is possible under current administrative laws, religions, and traditional social structures in the nation. Despite efforts put in place at different levels, be it constitutional and otherwise, to take care of marginalization and discrimination against women, the status quo is still maintained to a large extent evidence presented in this paper, shows that women are still marginalized and discriminated against in politics vis-à-vis policy and decision making Otite, (2005). Gender inequality exists at the institutional level as well as in the law, in the family, and in economics. Women have made significant advances politically, economically, educationally and socially over the post decades. The traditional obstacles to advancement continue to fall. Women have entered the paid labour force in unprecedented numbers yet despite their growing presence and their entry into historically male occupations; rarely do women work alongside men or perform the same task and function. Adepoju (1994) pointed out that the systematically inferior position of women inside and outside the civil service and household in Nigeria point to the necessity of treating gender as a force of its own in sustainable development issues in the nation. Although, the relative deprivations of women when compared with men vary around Africa, this fact does not diminish the importance of giving women higher positions. The status of women as described in this work has through the ages been a cause of grave concern in every culture. In some areas of the world, it has pased the stage of sympathetic concern to the era of aggressive feminism. This is part of the democratic movement, which began with the French revolution, which altered the law of inheritance in favour of daughters Ukonu, (2004).
Gender issues have been at the forefront of international summit and the agitation for the emancipation and total liberation of women across the world which according to Chafetz (1981) has attracted the interest of many scholars. The global attention which women subjugation has attracted led the United Nation in her Declaration of Human Rights 1948 to state her commitment to the goal of equal rights for men and women. When the United Nations General Assembly adopted the international strategy for her second development decades in 1970, it stated that one of its goals would be to ensure the full integration of women in the total development effort. And this has led to the proclamation of the international women year in 1975. In Enugu state public service from 2009 to date, traditional discrimination and stereotyping against women in all works of life hold sway and raises a lot of concern especially in executives where there are twenty-five (25) commissioners. Of all the commissioners, twenty-one (21) are males while only four (4) are females, this also goes to officials in the state like the special advisers to the state government are sixteen (16) when fourteen (14) are males, two (2) are only females. In career civil service or public service, the history of women in public bureaucracy presented an account of tremendous diversity in the civil service. There is high inequality between men and women thus, creating wide gap between them. There is no mistaking in the widespread presence of women in the civil service yet, senior public administrators are relatively rare. A prejudice exists, as does the glass ceiling that limits women from enjoying truly equal opportunities in the public service. Although, the national government created ministry of women affairs decades ago, there is no doubt that the government shapes and limit women’s role in the civil service (Robert, 2004). These issues have thus far heightened the campaign and awareness towards the elimination of the disparity that exist between men and women in Enugu state and our society at large.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The female gender has over the time and space, and within the historical conjectures of the public services suffered untold subordination and discrimination. In an ideal setting, the state is supposed to guarantee the protection of women and accord them equal right and opportunities with their men counterparts. Such as ideal condition which rarely exists in human societies, is expected to enable the women-folk play crucial and sustainable role in the societal development through active and direct participation in policy making strategic plan implementation Isah, (2005).
Although, women constitute about sixty percent of the Nigerian population, there are still a disproportionate low number of them in higher cadre of the public service. Traditional discrimination and stereotyping against women in all works of life has raised a lot of concern. This issue has thus it heightened the campaign and awareness towards the elimination of disparity which exist between men and women in the society. The issue of marginalization against women in our society has drawn the global attention on women’s rights International and National women civil societies on the continued subordination of women in all spheres of life. The international sensitization and the adoption of global instruments such as the 1979 convention of the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women have served the useful purpose of sensitizing national government to the plight of women; women are sometimes seen as weaker sexes who are not fit for some specialized and complex job. In this case women are denied the opportunity of acquiring the training and education which are requisite. This denial still occurs even when the talents and potentials abound in female subjects. Such practice, no doubt has led to heinous waste and mismanagement of human resource because female potentials are not fully harnessed with the continued existence of marginalization and discrimination against women in the society.
Our society has a strong patriarchal structure that maintained the sexual division of labours in the household. This same structure directly restricts women’s availability for wage work and indirectly condition the term employment for those who enter the service Robert, (2004). This patriarchal nature of relationship between men and women in the society which the men tend to capitalize on sometimes, going to the extent of substantiating this through the quotation of some verses from the holy bible and justifying this through the argument that the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib goes a long way to prove the superiority of men. This is used in most occasions with some sort of links with other cultural factors to make the women in the society to accept their subjugation position as divine providence Otite, (2005). Robert (2004:300) observes that women in the public service are characterized by limited and insecure employment opportunities and marked substandard wages, poor work conditions, unstable hours and disadvantageous employment contracts. Women are predominantly employed in low wage jobs or extremely small scale venture.
Despite the fact that the majority of women who are in the civil or public service are in junior cadre within the civil service, some women are however, handicapped by the lack of affordable healthy lifestyle, escalating rate of spousal abandonment, an increasingly high cost of living and gender stereotyping. These conditions deny women the requisite skills, training and capital to secure more lucrative and secured employment.
It is against this backdrop of marginalization, discrimination and domestic violence on women that makes the issue of gender becomes a critical intellectual and political matter all over the world.
The following research question will guide the study:
- Is there a significant relationship between gender and authority positions in Enugu state education system?
- Does the effect of sex-role typing significantly affect promotion, training and deployment of women in Enugu state education system?
- What significant measures can be put in place to eliminate gender discrimination in promotion, training, and deployment?
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Gender discrimination has become a preponderant phenomenon all over the world; women are relegated to background in all aspects of life, be it political, economic, socio-cultural and even technological training for development.
Therefore, the general objective of the study is to examine the manifestation and problems associated with gender discrimination of women in Enugu state Education system. The specific objectives of the study are to:
- Find out whether there is a significant relationship between gender and authority position in Enugu state education system?
- To investigate if sex – role typing significantly affect promotion, training and deployment (positioning) of women in Enugu state education system.
- Discover the significant measures to be put in place that will eliminate gender discrimination.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this study specifically would showcase the important of eliminating the traditional practices of men taking the leadership position in public service. The best brain should always be considered first irrespective of the sex which the individual belong to. In so doing a virile and strong public service will emerge.