EfD Nigeria female researchers
Chizoba Oranu having a focus group discussion with some women in Cross River State, Nigeria. Photo: Chizoba Oranu.

How women researchers in EfD Nigeria are changing the society

EfD Nigeria parades ten women research fellows who are working very hard to improve the inclusion and participation of women in different aspects of Nigerian society. Meet some of them and learn what they do to change society for the better!

Some of them are involved in gender advocacy, while others are providing empirical evidence needed to bridge the gap between the male and female gender in the areas of leadership, agriculture, and other aspects of life.

Gave a wake-up call

Dr. Ebele Amaechina called the attention of policymakers in Nigeria's fishery and aquaculture sector to the need to always consider policy recommendations from a gender perspective. Her presentation on the gender dimension in Nigeria's Sea Fishery Act in November 2022 was a wake-up call to the policymakers who admitted that they had not thought about mainstreaming gender in the Act.

It is expected that by the time the review of the Act is concluded by the Nigerian National Assembly, the missing gender concerns would have been addressed.

"If we fail to mainstream gender in our policies, many people, especially women, and the youth, will be disenfranchised in the implementation," Ebele Amaechina says.

Provides evidence to close the gender gap

Dr. Amaka Nnaji, a young female researcher, says that her interest in gender development studies is motivated by the need to provide more evidence of the systemic disenfranchisement of women, and to show that women are better managers of resources when given the opportunity.

"Just acknowledging the gender gap is not enough, gender transformative policies need to be enacted to solve the problem," Amaka Nnaji says.

The gender gap affects food security

Researcher Chizoba Obianuju Oranu finds it fascinating to discuss with women in rural communities on the impact of social-economic disruptions on their livelihood. In the past months, she has been conducting a focus group discussion with women in forest communities in Cross River State on best management practices that will benefit household welfare.

Dr Ifeoma Quinette Anugwa 's research interest focuses on gender, climate change, and food security. Her study on gender-specific livelihood strategies for climate-induced food insecurity in South-East Nigeria called the attention of policymakers to the limited livelihood option available to rural women due to gender inequality.

"I am committed to conducting gender-based research and advocate for gender-related issues to substantially contribute to closing the gender gaps between men and women in agriculture and environmental issues," Ifeoma Anugwa says.

More women are getting involved in leadership

At the University of Nigeria, the host institution of EfD Nigeria, Professor Anthonia Achike, a Senior Research Fellow, has been promoting the participation of women in leadership and other societal engagements. Every 8th of March, she holds a roundtable discussion with women professors at the University. The discussions are usually centered on matters that promote female interest in Nigerian society.

In March 2022, Anthonia Achike, who is also the Director of the Gender and Development Policy Centre (Gen-Cent) at the University of Nigeria, told the professors that it was high time they showed more than a cursory interest in the leadership of the university. One year after, the number of women occupying leadership positions at the University of Nigeria significantly increased. Four out of seven principal officers of the university are females. They include the registrar, bursar, librarian, and deputy vice-chancellor of the Enugu campus.

"I am happy with the current female representation at the leadership of our university. However, we are not resting on our achievement, we need more females as deans, and heads of departments," Anthonia says.

Anthonia's Gen-Cent also shares the credit for the development of the Sexual Harassment Policy of the University of Nigeria.

By Inya Agha Egwu

News | 7 March 2023