20 Nov 2013


By Ezim Osai ,
Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Whatever a man can do, a woman can do better…
-General saying

I was talking with a colleague of mine about her project a while back and along the line we got talking about the education of the female child in Nigeria. This colleague of mine is a 400-level student of Botany at the University of Ibadan. I asked her “What are the challenges of female education in Nigeria?” and her reply was almost instantaneous. It was “Inferiority complex”; as a result I proceeded to ask a number of female colleagues of mine the same question; here are their answers:

Girl 1 (400-level Chemistry, UI): Inferiority complex…most lecturers have viewed males as being the only intelligent students in class; Females are not given voice at all when it comes to political issue even though they might be good at it. A majority still have the mentality of females ending up in the kitchen. When a female does well in tests or exams, their [male lecturers] mentality is that a guy taught her or coached her or that she slept with a lecturer…A girl that dresses well is irresponsible to them both, lecturers and students.

Girl 2 (200-level Electrical Electronics Engineering, UI): Nothing much…first of all, the stereotype that tech [Engineering] girls are not well dressed/socially inclined gets me sick…Tech is a male dominated faculty so everyone has it in their heads that the girls have to act/dress like men which is equal to looking/acting haggard. Asides that I do not think there’s anything else. The lecturers treat us equally. No preferential treatment.

Girl 3 (200-level Mechanical Engineering, UI): It’s not very challenging especially when you get along very well with the guy. Most lecturers don’t notice ladies…only when it comes to practicals and workshops. A few of them treat me equally but some are like ‘You can’t do this or that’…There was a particular time a technician told me the only contribution I had was to clean up after them…but I feel we are treated on the same level…

Girl 4 (200-level Mathematics, UI): I don’t have any challenges really. Maybe because it is just a bit more male dominated. At least I have not noticed any bias; it is the same really.

Girl 5 (300-level Microbiology, UI): …Some parents still make education difficult for their wards especially when they do not see the reasons behind training a female, after all she will end up in the kitchen; when such females get sponsors, for those that might have succumbed to their parents opinion, they would not want to go the extra mile. They [females] are often regarded as weak, so the males are selected ahead of them… I think firstly, most scientific professions such as engineering, medicine, architecture are perceived as male professions thereby serving as a threat to female education especially in Nigeria…Science-inclined professions are very demanding and require total commitment; the challenge there is how do the women especially when married cope with the demands of her family. It could be difficult managing her profession and her family. 

Girl 6 (400-level Chemical Engineering, Unilag): Personally, I do not think there are any challenges…Nobody cuts you slack because you are female…everybody is equal in engineering although in departments like Elect-elect, there are a few that say “It’s not for girls” because they believe we are weak-minded and will bend under pressure. But we do not bend, except the lazy ones and there are lazy boys too…the male students can tend to let their ego and stupidity treat us like we are less though…but over time, I guess they know that girls can work just as hard and can be just as good.

Girl 7 (500-level Law, UI): Nope. Females are always regarded as being equal to the men.

These are all the answers I managed to collate. In my department at school, there is no preferential or biased treatment accorded females and one would usually hear the males saying “There is no girl in this department. These [girls] are all men”. I have met a number of outstanding female students and they do just as good as guys and sometimes they do better. The mentality of women ending up in the kitchen is downright backwards and anybody that thinks like that ought to change. I believe it will change totally in a couple of years though as fifty years ago the very idea of women going to school at all was regarded as ridiculous. 

You can drop your own opinion along with your level, department and school in the comment box below, who knows who would see it?

Ezim Osai is a 200L Physics major at the University of Ibadan. A Taoist and a Christian, he loves Cooking, Travelling, Reading, Writing, and loves to absorb nature.

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