Gender Mainstreaming in Nigeria for Gender Equity and National Development
Gender mainstreaming is meant a system that involves establishing how any intended action, such as laws, policies, or programs, will affect people of all genders in all contexts and at all levels. It's a tactic for advancing gender parity and appreciating the differences between persons of different genders. It entails incorporating the issues and perspectives of all gender groups into the creation, execution, monitoring, and assessing of policies and programs across all political, economic, and societal realms.
The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC:1997) defined Gender Mainstreaming as “the process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programs, in any area and at all levels. As a method of achieving gender equality, gender mainstreaming has gained support on a global scale. It enables the possibility of combatting discrimination and including a gender perspective in the development, planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the policies and statutory measures to foster equality between men and women to promote national development.
Gender mainstreaming is a critical and strategic approach to achieving gender equality commitments. It is a practical approach for ensuring that both men and women share in the benefits of policies and programs in all political, economic, and societal realms by including their concerns and experiences in the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation stages. As a result, gender equality is the overall and long-term development aim, while gender mainstreaming provides systems, strategic methods, and institutional and technical processes for achieving the goal. Gender mainstreaming, therefore, involves integrating gender equality into all national public and private organizations and any central or local policies, services, and sectoral programs. Its long-term goals include changing discriminatory societal structures, rules, cultural mores, and traditional practices.
Factors Militating Against Gender Mainstreaming in Nigeria
Nigerian society is primarily patriarchal. This implies that women are often marginalized and viewed as inferior to males in all spheres of life. Moreover, men's interests, concerns, and general issues are prioritized over women's. However, although in contemporary Nigeria, women are increasingly more recognized and are indeed enjoying enhanced social, cultural, economic, educational, and political visibility, there is still strong evidence that there is a need for sustained gender mainstreaming in Nigeria. (Onwumah, 1989). Some of the factors which militate against gender mainstreaming (Onwumah et al. 2020) are:
● Culture and patriarchy.
● Poverty and disempowerment of women
● Limited access of women to education
● The attitude of men towards women in the workplace
● The attitude of women to themselves
● Nature of Nigerian politics
● Low political representation of women
Gender mainstreaming initiatives must begin with a process of a cultural shift in attitudes because this is a fundamental variable that is usually overlooked. Albeit Nigeria has made substantial progress toward advancing and empowering women, particularly in the areas of female school enrollment, female literacy rates, and female labor force participation rates. However, when it comes to political representation and involvement, there seems to be little success. In a society where men and women are equal, attempts to achieve meaningful growth must, through necessity, recognize, tap into, and consider the contributions that both men and women could and are making to national development.
The first step in integrating gender equality is to be aware that any effort to advance national development without including both men and women on an equal footing would remain elusive and, in some ways, a mirage. Effective and systematic use of the gender mainstreaming strategy, and achievement of gender equality and women’s rights and empowerment, are essential for positive development outcomes in all areas. Gender mainstreaming should be an integral part of the work of all practitioners in development policy and practice. Successful use of gender mainstreaming requires a sound understanding of the purpose of the strategy: the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights and empowerment, as well as the methodologies and tools for effective implementation. Furthermore, reduced inequality strengthened economies and well-built stable, resilient societies that give all individuals, including men and women, the opportunity to fulfill their potential should be the ultimate goal. Gender mainstreaming will hasten the process of reducing poverty and facilitate gender fairness (Egwurube, 2012). It will also ensure equitable participation in the governance process, support democracy and good governance, and ensure that no section of the population is ignored, which will encourage an all-inclusive approach to growth.
References  UN Women https://www.unwomen.org/en/how-we-work/un-system-coordination/gender-mainstreaming  Anthony Onwumah, 2020. Factors Militating Against Gender Mainstreaming in Nigeria. (PDF) FACTORS MILITATING AGAINST GENDER MAINSTREAMING IN NIGERIA (researchgate.net)  Anthony Onwumah, 2020. Factors Militating Against Gender Mainstreaming in Nigeria. (PDF) FACTORS MILITATING AGAINST GENDER MAINSTREAMING IN NIGERIA (researchgate.net)  Handbook-on-gender-mainstreaming-for-gender-equality-results-en.pdf (unwomen.org)  UNICEF Gender Policy 2021-2030 UNICEF Gender Policy 2021-2030 | UNICEF  Egwurube, J. (2016). Challenges Facing Women’s Empowerment in Contemporary Nigeria Review Mirror