Women are crucial to the development of their communities; their role can be seen in the family and the nation at large. They and their children constitute at least 75 percent of the total population of the country. They are thus, a segment of the population that cannot be ignored in any development initiatives.
A woman according to Abdulazeez (2004) is that creature that co – habit the planet earth with man. The Chambers Dictionary describes a woman as an adult female of the human race. Women are different from men because of their natural roles and physiology.
Women constituted a large and important segment of our population, Nigerian estimated population of 140 million is made up of 52% of women, they play key roles in the development of their communities, they are responsible for producing and processing the nation’s food supply. They are noted as providers of health care services in their homes and communities. Women are the first to nurture and transmit knowledge and culture to the young ones in the society. They have a vital role to play in the promotion of peace in all spheres of life in the family which is the prerequisite for any meaningfully economic development to any country.
In the same vein, according to Mangvwat (2004), the United Nations Economic Community for Africa (UNECA) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has summarized the role of women in Africa and Nigeria in particular in the following words. “The work and the life of the rural women have always been hard. She rises before dawn, walks two hours or more to fetch water, spends some ten hours in the field during the peak seasons. They have a major responsibility for farm and home, but they are denied access to knowledge and the resources to go forward and they are often exhausted from sheer physical labour to do so”.
The proper roles of women in development are simply the fullest mobilization of their intellectual and physical resources as of supplement to the almost already mobilized intellectual and physical resources of men for the purpose of creating here and now a material paradise. It is noted, therefore, that women are a huge human resources base that needs to be tapped and invested in because their role pervades many areas of socio – economic life. Nigerian women also play key in trading, commercial subsection, petty trading dealing menially in consumable goods, while the big retails and wholesales female traders concentrates in the urban areas.
However, the Nigerian women are still struggling with shackles of the gender disparity. Today there are many women organizations, but how many have actually contributed to our national economic development?
Abdulazeez, M. O. (2004). “Women Education, Problems and Challenges”. Journal of Women in Colleges Education Vol. 8 No. 2
Mangvwat, K. O. (2003). “Measuring Women Empowerment: Learning from Cross – National Research”. Journal of Gender Power and Empowerment. Vol. 3