Women have generally been looked upon with contempt for centuries with various strictures inflicted upon them reducing their status to the mercy of men.
They have been confined to hearth and home. But now the perspective of the society has changed and a general thinking to work for the emancipation and empowerment of women is being developed so that they could also contribute in the advancement and welfare of the society.
Women constitute almost 50% of the world’s population. According to the last official Nigerian census in 2006, women comprised almost half of the then 140 million populace at 68.3million. United Nations updated figures for 2010 put Nigeria as Africa’s most populous, as well as most densely populated nation, at 155 million in 2010, the New-York based Centre for Reproductive Rights and the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) reported that 600,000 women die in the world annually and Nigeria accounts for 10% of this figure; 60,000 Nigerian women are dying annually due to pregnancy and child-birth related complications. In more comprehensible terms, the number translates to 164 women per day.
According to the Nigerian Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, the latest Nigerian census revealed that women constitute 49.9% of the nation’s population; the under representation of women (2%) in the nation’s development processes in finance, business and investment fronts, renders 40% of the population inadequately positioned to contribute to the economic growth of the country.
As long as recorded history has lasted, so too has women’s oppression. To many people, it just seems natural that women are worse off, because of their smaller size or their capacity to bear children. Men comfort themselves with the thought that women need looking after. Not just the capitalist system to blame but also in feudal society, women occupied second place to men.
Early anthropologists began to speak of an earlier time when women, not men, ruled society.
The history of class struggles shows the continual effects of the “world historic defeat of the female sex” interweaved with and subordinated to class relations of exploitation.
The woman is an indispensable part of the family, for children are an economic necessity, but her role is a secondary one.
Women, though their economic activity was more centered on the home, played a large role in social life.
Why women are poor/oppressed
Women face many challenges both at home and in the marketplace when they decide to seek employment or engage in entrepreneurial activities.
Religion discouraged women status
Low literacy of women in the world: over 640 million of the women in the world are illiterates (UN Secretary General).
Amongst the world children, 121 million are not in school, most of them are girls.
Two-thirds of the world’s 774million illiterates adults are women (UNICEF statistics)
Girls represent nearly 60% of children not in school.
Educating a girl child is life saving for the world.
Women are more vulnerable to exploitation.
Uneducated girls are more at risk to be marginalized
Women’s rights and access to land, credit and education are limited; not only due to legal discrimination, but because more subtle barriers such as their work load, mobility and low bargaining positions in the household and community prevent them from taking advantage of their legal right.
Women status/employment- 90% of the world female labour are called housewives and excluded from the formal definition of economic activity.
Women work more hours than men and they are unpaid. The paid ones are paid 17% lower than men.
U.K, Germany, Italy, France- women are paid 75% wages. In Vietnam, Sri-lanka and Australia they are paid 90%
Women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food, but earn 10% of the income and own 1% of the property.
However, in some regions, women provide 70% of agricultural labour, produce more than 90% of the food and yet are nowhere represented in budget deliberations.
Women occupy only 24% of senior management positions globally, 34% of privately held businesses globally have no women in senior management. Managerial position- 39% in developed country, 15% in Africa, and 13% in Asia.
In Arab States, only 28% of women participate in the work force.
Women and society laws
First stage of discrimination begins with women when parents about. In Nigeria, most of the small-scale farming enterprises are owned by men. Women by nature have creative abilities, are blessed with ability to persist and pursue their desires, are good and patient nurtures of children, and this tenacity is usually transferred into business, are good innovators, have ability to develop passion for what they believe in.
Many researchers have shown that poverty is a malady that incapacitates its victim economically and indirectly subject him/her to a state of destitution, voicelessness, powerlessness and even violence (World Bank 2000; Okojie, 2002) Unfortunately, the most affected sex by the above incapacitation are women and children. Statistics show that women are poorer than men. The UNDP (2008) estimated that, about 70% of the world-poor are women. Women are poorer because they are more vulnerable economically.
The findings of Thane (1978), Showalter (1987) and Lewis Piachered (1987) cited in Magaji’s Introduction to Project Evaluation (2004) showed that women have been the poorest sex throughout the 20th Century and have formed a substantial majority of the poor since poverty was first recognized. On why women are the poorest sex, the physical strength of women and various challenges limit them to specific soft duties making it difficult to be enterprising.
Entrepreneurship development therefore is a crucial tool for women’s economic empowerment.
The benefits derivable from empowering the women folk are farfetched, starting with family advancement and eventually touching on the national and global economic advancement.
If women are empowered to do more and be more, the possibility for economic growth becomes apparent; eliminating half of a nation’s work on the sole basis of gender can have the detrimental effects on the economy of that nation. It is the nation that blends the strengths of women and men that will lead the world in development (Kiyosaki 1993) in the field of agriculture and other sectors.
A study found that of fortune 500 companies, “those with more women board directors had significantly higher financial returns, including 53 percent higher returns on equity, 24 percent higher returns on sales and 67 percent higher returns on invested capital (OECD, 2008).” This study shows the impact women can have on the overall economic benefits of a company. If implemented on a global scale, the inclusion of women in the formal workforce (like a fortune 500 company) can increase the economic output of a nation.
Entrepreneurship or investing is not an exclusive reserve of any gender. Both women and men generate the same result provided they follow the principles of investment. Kiyosaki (1993) proves with statistical data in Unites States, that women are better investors than men. Also, a study of National Association of Investors Corporation (NAIC), found that women- only clubs achieved average annual returns of 32% since 1951 versus 23% for men-only investment clubs. The verdict is; women know how to handle money and can be greater entrepreneurs than men if the various obstacles to development is removed or minimized.
Furthermore, entrepreneurship will give women opportunities of owning businesses, thereby increasing their personal wealth. Women’s entrepreneurship will of course generate the needed employment in developing economies in Africa and bring in the long excluded population of women into the labour force thereby empowering them.
The best way to fight poverty and extremism is to educate and empower women.
The Limitations holding back women from achieving much like men in entrepreneurship development.
Manpower and Education
Culture and Tradition
Erroneous Ideas about Women