Many young women are not able to get an education past the secondary level in Nigeria. They often leave school, vulnerable to early marriage. Approximately 50 per cent of the Nigerian population is female.
Many of the things women go through in Nigeria are not spoken about or dealt with formally. For every survey result, there are probably many women suffering in silence.
The Nigerian society, though varied in many ways, is primarily dominance of men. Authority in men appears to be embedded in culture and as a result, changes come slowly.
Given the attitudes and beliefs of Nigerians, many females are faced with many challenges. These challenges include child marriage, domestic violence, sexual harassment and assault; maltreatment of widows, human trafficking and incomplete education. It is difficult to do justice.
Patriarchy, the dominance of men, manifests in many forms in Nigeria. It is the idea that a wife is owned by her husband, and he can do with her as he pleases and when he dies, his family can have their turn with her.
The threats by a lecturer to fail a female student unless she does what he wants is part of patriarchy. And another factors that fosters the continuation of these practices is poverty.
Poverty encourages early marrying off of children. If girls do not finish school, they may marry early, which exposes them to birth complications. They are also more likely to marry off their own children early.
Society encourages women to stay silent when going through unjust and painful experiences, in order to avoid shame. It is acknowledged that these are sensitive issues but if they are not recognised for the wrong that they are, how will they end?
Women’s education does not end only in the kitchen anymore. There is great need for women to be educated and enlightened. Women should also be given scholarships.
When young Nigerian women and girls are given greater access to education, it can empower them to actively enter the work force. With viable skills, they can financially support themselves and even their families.
To break the cycle of poverty and prevent humanitarian crises such as the one faced by Nigerian widows and girl, Nigeria needs greater access to education and skill building.