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Women Empowerment

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Women are faced with double oppression.  They are not only among the poor groups as men are, they also suffer discriminatory practices which has led to widening of socio-economic gap between men and women.  Hence the indices of poverty affect women most and this being a systematic process of making women poorer, which is known as feminization of poverty.  This assertion is accentuated by the United Nation’s statistics formulated over a decade ago which showed that women constitute half of the world’s population but perform two-third of world’s work yet, earn one-tenth of the world’s income and constitute two-third of the world’s illiterates.  Women suffer multiple disadvantages, as poor people, they live under the harsh economic conditions as their male counterparts.  As women, they suffer from heavy socio-cultural and policy biases.  Arising from the socio-cultural biases, they suffer from heavy workload and time constraints due to the gender division of labour in the society.  These place constraints or hindrances to their effective participation in enterprise development.

Unemployment is a major problem in Nigeria, especially among women due to limited scope of employment in the formal sector.  This has forced most of them to enter self-employment or employment in small indigenous enterprises or to depend on subsistence agriculture for survival, which generates about 90% of the non-export revenues (Adeni, 2004).  The informal sector has absorbed quite a number of women and looks a promising source of income and employment generation for women and the national economy.  The Micro-enterprises, which constitute the informal sector, could become channels for mobilizing financial asset, ensuring a more equitable distribution of income and reducing the migration of manpower from the rural to urban areas.