Over the years, Nigeria has shown little improvement when it comes to gender inequality, as a result, it is still on the list of countries with the highest gender gap according to the latest 2021 Global Gender Gap Report by World Economic Forum.
The education gender gap is as big as 15%-20% as only 69.9% of boys and 58.1% of girls are in primary school. Concerning politics, only 5.8% of Nigerian parliamentarians and 10.3% of ministers are women. Under health and survival, Nigeria ranks 104 out of 156 of the countries. This puts the country in the 139th position globally.
Iceland, on the other hand, has continued to show significant progress which explains why it is the most gender-equal country for the 12th time. This isn’t magic as the nation’s progress can be attributed to women and men sharing power as decision-makers. Also, more men are gradually supporting the give and take of gender equality.
There is a popular local saying that goes, ‘follow who know road’ which is exactly what Nigeria needs to do to tackle its gender inequality problem. Here are three cues Nigeria needs to take from Iceland in order to be a better gender-equal place:
Create Laws That Protect Women
Nigerian women are exposed to all kinds of gender-based issues ranging from catcalling on the streets to groping, rape, sexual violence, domestic abuse and harmful traditional practices. Still, there are barely any women-friendly laws. For instance, the law in Nigeria does not recognise marital rape.
However, Iceland, which is often referred to as the best place for women to live, continues to create laws that protect women. The Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men, for instance, does just that.
Correct Societal Mindsets
Gender stereotypes are quite the norm in Nigeria. Women are told not to be over-ambitious or the men will be scared to marry them, or told that men are the head of the house and women belong to the kitchen. But it goes beyond home training as some of these things make it into school books.
On the other hand, we have Iceland with its Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men in Iceland that mandates that gender equality must be taught in schools throughout all levels of education. The law in Iceland states: “educational materials and textbooks shall be designed in such a way as not to discriminate against either sex.”
By taking a cue from Iceland, Nigeria can begin to do the work to getting rid of outdated stereotypes.
MakeGender Inequality A Priority
Apart from the Ministry for Women Affairs and the offices of the various first ladies, very little is set in place to help solve Nigeria’s gender problem and as a result, we still have a very low chance of dealing with gender inequality and its problems.
Iceland, however, has a ministry that checks its progress on advancing equality. They aim to create a legal, cultural, historical, social, and psychosocial approach to gender equality.
Taking these cues from Iceland will be a big step towards closing Nigeria’s gender gap.