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1.1 Background  

 There  are  various  International  Organizations  and  Non-Governmental Organizations

working on gender issues in various parts of the world today and doing many things relating

to gender issues. Various Organizations are been created to balance the gender differences in

the  world  today.  Even  as  an  International  Organization  or  Non-Governmental,  they  have

various goals, aims and objectives and coupled with this is the fact that they are faced with

different  challenges  in  carrying  out  their  duties.  For  instance,  United  Nations  sponsored

intergovernmental conference on women opened with much fanfare and optimum in Mexico

City,  such  as  women  discrimination,  disclaiming  of  women‘s  rights  etc.  Promoting  gender

equality has become a globally recognized and an acceptable reality. Gender issues have also

been identified as an issue indispensable for the achievement of national development goals.

 According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, ‗Gender is defined

as  the  fact  of  being  male  or  female,  males  or  females  ,  considered  as  a  group  :differences

between  the  genders‘.  According  to  the  English  Dictionary,  it  defined  gender  as  the

biological  sexes  of  an  individual  usually  male  or  female,  the  mental  analogue  of  sex  .i.e.

one‘s  male  (masculinity)  or  femaleness  (femininity)‘.  According  to  Bridget  Osakwe  of

WANEP  she  ‗defines  Gender  as  a  social  and  cultural  construct  differentiating  women  and

men  and  defining  the  ways  in  which  women  and  men  interact  with  each  other‘.  It  is

undermined by the composite of shared expectations and norms within a society concerning

appropriate  female  and  male  behaviors,  characteristics,  and  roles.  Gender  and  gender  roles

are  culturally  specific,  learned,  and  changeable  over  time,  and  influenced  by  different

variables  such  as  race,  age,  class,  and  ethnicity.  A  literature  text  on  women  and  peace

building confirms that the concept of gender refers to social relationships produced by social,

cultural, economic, and historical processes and the various roles played by men and women.   

  In  fact,  the  attainment  of  gender  equality  is  not  only  seen  as  an  end  in  itself  it  is

equally  an  ingredient  to,  and  a  product  for  the  achievement  of  sustainable  development  of

countries.  Nigerian  government  which  has  compounded  the  problem  of  expanding  the

capacity  level  that  is  required  to  increase  the  enhancement  of    the  opportunity  of

accommodating  the  varying  needs  of  both  male  and  female,  gender  also  contends  that  the

attainment of gender equality in Nigeria which is already time-barred, will be a mirage due to

many  constraining  factors.  Globally,  the  growing  importance  of  gender  equality  has  been

recognized and accepted in various countries.  The  normative  framework  for  human

development  (UNDP:  2012)  is  reflected  in  the  broad  vision  espoused  in  the  Millennium

Development Goals, the internationally agreed set of time-bound targeted goals for ensuring

gender  equality  and  advancing  opportunities  in  diverse  sectors  of  the  global  economy.  The

convention  on  the  elimination  of  all  forms  of  discrimination  against  women  (CEDAW)

adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly which was accepted by 180 states, states the

rights and equality of women, their freedom from discrimination and equality under the law.

Also, promoting gender equality which is a sine-qua-non to the actualization of the protection

of  fundamental  human  rights  is  critical  to  the  whole  concern  for  human  development  that

center on  allowing  people  to  live  a  life  that  they  value  and  enable  them  to  realize  their

potentials as human beings. Realizing the growing need for gender equality is also germane

to  the  survival  and  development  of  children  and  the  building  of  healthy  communities,

societies as well as a nation.

      The  gap  between  the  Millennium  Development  Goal  of  promoting  Gender  Equality

and its actualization in Nigeria, however, is the action dilemma by the Nigerian government

that  is  known for  mis-governance, lack  of political  will,  the  prevailing  patriarchal  culture,

false public investment and the absence of adequate productive capacity that will create the

opportunities  for  women  empowerment  and  development  in  the  country.  These  problems

explain the inevitability and imperative of an action-based approach that will translate gender

equality programme into concrete reality. 

 Gender is a fundamental element of conflict and of peace .Gender analysis has helped

in  playing  important  role  in  understanding  successful  peace  building  which  helps  to

illuminate and contributes to knowledge and skills in maintaining peace rather than violence

or conflicts. Gender as  a term which has brought about different other terminologies such as

gender sensitivity, gender mainstreaming which is  a strategic tool towards the achievement

of greater equality between men and women as endorsed in the Beijing Platform for Action

from the United Nations(4th) World Conference on Women in1995. Gender mainstreaming is,

      …..the  process  of  assessing  the  implications  of  women  and  men  of  any  planned
      action, including legislation,  policies or programs, in  all areas and  at  all  levels.  It  is 
      strategy for making women‘s as well as men‘s concerns and experiences an integral
      dimension  of  the  design,  implementation,  monitoring  and  evaluation  of  policies  and
      programs  in  all  political,  economic  and  society  spheres  so  that  men  and  women
      benefit  equally  and  inequality  is  not  perpetuated.  The  ultimate  goal  is  to  achieve
      gender equality. [WANEP Nigeria (2009) pg. 17].


      Gender  equality  has  become  one  of  the  central  themes  in  global  treaties,  covenants

and  declarations  principally  due  to  the  understanding  that  it  is  a  catalyst  to  clear-cut

development  strategies  which  is  targeted  at  poverty  reduction,  improved  living  standards,

good governance and profitably productive investments that are critical to the creation of an

enlarged capacity that provide men and women equal opportunity and unrestrained access to

decision-making and policy implementation institutions and processes. The various definition

of gender  equality  arises  from  various  social  sciences  literature  including  economics,  it

manifests as hierarchical      gender relations, with less valuable solely by virtue of their sex.


The  issue  of  gender inequality  is  a  fast  growing  trend  in  all  spheres  of  the  Nigeria

system both in the public sector as well as the private sector coupled with family mentality on

issues  relating  gender  particularly  women  in  the  society.  The  Nigeria  government  despite

been   signatory to various policies still do not abide by these policies. The study on the topic

United Nations and the challenges of promoting gender equality will address the challenges

of gender inequality between the two sexes ,the role of UN in propounding solutions as well

balancing the various challenges and gender differences in Nigeria.


The specific objectives of the study are to:

i. Establish  the  various  advocacies  of  promoting  gender  equality  by  the  Nigerian


ii. Identify and examine the activities of the UN in promoting gender equality in Nigeria 

iii. Discuss the challenges of the UN in promoting gender equality in Nigeria.



 Secondary  source  of  data will  be utilized  in  carrying  out  this  research  work.  This  sources

includes textbooks, proceedings, journals, reports, magazines, newspapers as well as internet

materials  and  other  library  or  archival  materials.  All  data  shall  be  interpreted  and  analyzed

qualitativelyusing the historical and descriptive method.


     The  significance  of  the  study  is  to  know  the  various  policies  that  the  UN  as  an

international  organization  has  put  in  place  which  Nigeria  has  benefited  from  coupled  with

various policies that the  Federal  Ministry of women affairs has adopted  and propounded in

terms of balancing gender equality as well as to know the various gender issues as they affect

women in the private and public sector of the country. Similarly the study will  encourage at a

great  degree  the  participation  of  women in  politics  as  well  as  to  make  decisions  that  will

stand and effect the changes required.

      Furthermore,  the  importance  of  the  study  is  to  look  at  the  gender  differences  in

Nigeria,  the  role  of  international  organizations  like  the  United  Nations  in  helping to  curb

some of the challenges and also rendering assistance in promoting gender equality in Nigeria

thus  increasing  the  participation  and  recognition  of

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