Certain man-made induced factors militated and still militates against successful women’s/or girl child education in Nigeria. Such factors entail political, cultural, social and religious attitudes of people in different Nigerian societies. These most often relegate women to the background. I will delve more on the cultural factors.
Cultural attitude: played and still plays but a rather minimal role in the downgrading of women as against the early sixties. Cultural attitudes entail use of myths, superstitious beliefs and other cultural barriers. Men and women are dichotomized into different gender roles― there are men’s jobs and women’s jobs― a form of gender occupational segregation. For instance, through all my four years of study in the university I never saw or heard of a female Head of Department (H.O.D) in my school. To see women as less significant and deserving thwarts on their privileges, aspirations and anticipations as well as self respect.
The panacea to overcoming negative cultural attitudes to women’s education is adequate education which will serve as an eye opener and will also serve as a vital tool with which women can use as a rightful tool to have equality with their male counterparts.
Early and forced marriage is also a negative cultural attitude that creates a strong barrier to successful women’s education. Many disadvantage parents still coerce their daughters to marriage at an early age since they lack the adequate resources to consign them to school. In many forced marriages the choice of the partner is made for the girl by the parents depending on the wealth and prestige of the suitor. Refusal to marry is an offence against the ancestral spirits. A remedy to this negative cultural attitude is proper education and counseling as well as guidance to parents who do not have proper formal education.
Sagbe: Sagbe is an old Ijaw traditional practice where young girls were used to settle heavy debts owed by the family especially in cases involving death. In such situations a young girl would be used to replace the deceased in the family. However, such a girl cannot be redeemed; she would be made to marry any man in the deceased family who may wish to do so in the family. This kind of practice was radicalized then due to illiteracy and lack of proper formal education.
Sentimental Educational Training: People in various Nigerian culture preferred giving formal education to their male children rather than their girl child with the negative thought that it is intangible to consign their girl child to school just to become educated and be married off by a proposed husband. They though it as a waste on both financial and material resources.
Illiteracy: Many parents were and are still ignorant of the values and significance attached to western education. To them investment into western education of the female child is a wasteful venture. They preferred investment to more practical and immediate gainful career services rather than a prolong investment that take years without seeing its dividends.
To overcome social, cultural, political, and religious etc barriers or obstacles to women education proper guidance and counseling should be given to the female child and women in general who require support and guided incentives from their families and comrades. Organizing them into support groups and adopting of self-help principles would not only help them but also help them to challenge negative factors that serve as an obstacle to their education.