The Disposition and Cultural Constraints to Female Participation in Higher Education (a Case Study of University of Ilorin)



1.1 Background of the study

Higher education is expanding internationally, both in response to state investment in the knowledge economy and as a consequence of new private and offshore providers. The Task Force on Higher Education and Society (2000) emphasizes that knowledge is a springboard for economic growth and development, making the promotion of a culture that supports its creation and dissemination an essential task. If any society is to succeed in this globalized economy, then the collective contribution from and participation of all citizens is a prerequisite. Many international communities have recognized the importance of gender issues. Gender issues are not only a matter of social justice but good economics as well. In general, although the gender gap is narrowing globally, more women than men remain illiterate. In developing countries, in particular, women tend to be less educated, work longer hours, and are paid less. Women make up one-half of the world’s population, perform two-thirds of the world’s work hours, yet everywhere they have fewer resources and are poorly represented in decision-making positions (Koláová, 2006). Research indicates that in most developing countries, women are left behind in educational training, scientific knowledge, and technological literacy and are therefore at a disadvantage.

There is growing concern that women continue to experience discriminatory practices and exclusions within higher education. Gender, along with socio-economic background, ethnicity, and poverty, still constricts higher educational opportunities in Nigeria. Llop (2006) states that there is no doubt that in a future characterized by globalization, information, and the knowledge society, countries need a critical mass of people with solid higher education backgrounds. If this is the case, then all members of society, females and males, should be given access to equal participation in higher education.

Many females are believed to perceive education in the western form as a waste of time. Thus, when a child is to be sacrificed for another to move educationally as a result of the financial incapability of the parents, it is, more often than not, a girl that will be sacrificed. Further, a girl’s time is taken up by household tasks such as trading rather than attending school work because school assignments are not on the agenda. For the adult woman, who might be burdened by her role as a mother, over-burdened by domestic labour and household chores, she might be left with little time and energy to pursue a higher education certificate. Many women, especially the brilliant ones, also tend to want to hide their brilliance because of fear of rejection by their male peers and society. Fear of success leads to inhibitions in career and education. As one of the women’s organizations narrates, the girl is considered a liability, as parents know that their daughter is a temporary member of their family. In this way, they believe that education and skills will benefit their in-laws after marriage instead of their parents.These and many sociocultural inclination and disposition has hindered women furtherance in Higher Education.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Education plays a vital role in empowering and making women independent. Women’s education is important for development as educating a girl will serve the entire generation. Women are not only part of human society, but also the central pillar of the origins of human beings. Women can play a pivotal role in the social, financial, and cultural promotion of communities. However, traditional and cultural values are a hindrance to women and their prospects for education. For this reason, millions of girls in various societies live without education and are deprived of many other opportunities in their lives. There has been an enormous gap in literature on the Disposition And Cultural Constraints To Female Participation. However, In Higher Education: Case Study Of The University Of Ilorin.

1.3       Objective of the study

The main focus of this study is to examine disposition and cultural constraints to female participation in Higher Education. Specifically the study seek

  1. To explore the factors that contribute to the underrepresentation of women in higher education
  2. To Examine the obstacles or challenges that women experience in their education.
  3. To Investigate the policies that have been adopted by civil societies to promote girl-child education.

1.4       Research Hypothesis

HO: Cultural constraints and disposition does not influence women opting for Higher Education

HI: Cultural constraints and disposition significantly  influences women opting for Higher Education

HO: Policies established by civil societies has not been effective in promoting girl-child education in Nigeria.

H1: Policies established by civil societies has  been effective in promoting girl-child education in Nigeria.

1.5       Significance of the study

This research seeks to contribute more in-depth and specific information to educational policymakers, particularly the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs and the National Council for Tertiary Education enlightening them on factors hindering girl-education. The findings in this research will serve as a guide and reference points for other research on early marriage and female children education in Nigeria.

1.6       Scope of the study

The scope of the study borders on the Disposition And Cultural Constraints To Female Participation In Higher Education: The study is however delimited to University Of Ilorin in Kwara State.

1.7 Limitation of the study

The following factors poses to be a limitation during the course of this research

Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

Respondent attitude: The majority of respondents failed to collect the questionnaires, and those who do collect them pay close attention to filling out and returning them, while others do not return theirs at all. Others were less accommodating and may have provided untrustworthy information because they were afraid of being exposed, despite the researcher’s promise that all information would be treated with the utmost secrecy and only for education purposes.

1.8       Definition of terms

Cultural Constraint: Cultural constraints are either prescriptive that shows people should do certain things or proscriptive that hinders people not do certain things.

Higher Education: Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic degree. Higher education, also called post-secondary education, third-level or tertiary education, is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completion of secondary education.

Girl-Child Education: Girl-child education is a catch-all term for a complex set of issues and debates surrounding primary education, secondary, and tertiary and health education in particularfor girl and women.




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