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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
It is pertinent to note that women are at the heart of development in various nations, state, local governments and even communities as they control most of the non-monetary economy (subsistence agriculture, bearing children, domestic labour etc.) and play vital role in the monetary economy (trading, wage labour, employment etc.) (Yawa,1995). Everywhere in the world, women work both around the home and outside the home. The most topical issue in international developmental programme is women.
In support of this, Eze (2008) asserted that the instrumental role of women in community development is obvious, hence, cannot be over-emphasized. The woman as an individual is an agent of production of life itself. This inevitable role places her in the position of the life blood of the entire humanity. Woman is the first teacher, the sustained and maintainer of the home, the peace maker, and the symbol of beauty as well as the major character molders of the child. She is the mother to human race. As mothers and wives, women do avert considerable impact on the productivity: male workers. As workers in their own rights, they can be linked to the rejected stone in the Holy Bible which has definitely become the corner stone of the house. By their sheer psychological and intellectual make up, women do perform more than mere complementary roles in the production process Jerminiwa, 1995).
To be candid, most of the contributions by women globally had not been recognized until recently when the United Nationsdeclared:-the Decade for Women (1976-1985), making it mandatory on governments to focus on issue of women as an integral component national development.
To ensure the actualization of this noble objective, the United
Nations General Assembly in 1979 adopted the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. Consequently, subsequent conferences on women were held in Copenhagen, Demark 1980, Nariobi in Kenya 1985, and Benjing in China, 1995.
Notwithstanding, an international news magazines “Africa Today” reported in July, 1995 that the full implementation of all the strategies and recommendations of the various conferences on omen issues had still not been achieved and enthusiasm was waning. According to the magazine, the United Nations itself reported that only six out of the 184 ambassadors to UN are women and only four out of the 32 UN specialized agencies and prgoramme are headed by women.
But in Nigeria the 1995 constitutional conferences has only eight women out of a total of 369 delegates. Sadly, much of women’s work remains invisible, unremunerated and unrecognized. But women are now challenging the status quo to right women are working for an improvement in their socio-economic statues and for recognition in nationaldevelopment (Amah, 1995).
According to Eking (2008), women have come a long way. The concern for “women in development or women’s progress and women is emancipation is anchored in the practiced that women as subordinate to men. Consequently, Anikpo (2000) contented that various rights were denied women and their contributions to National Development were either stifled or ignored. Deliberating on the matter, Ebo (1996) raised pertinent issues on the emancipation of both Nigerian women and men in national development without which women folk will slow down the pace of national advancement.
It is pertinent at this function to take a critical look on the role of women in community development, A case study of Izzi local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
A community is a group of people occupying a geographical space or area and is bound together by common culture, language value andaspirations. Succinctly, Ede (2001:55) sees the community as a group of people, made up of adult, children, social and non-social people living in a certain territory or geographical setting where they all share a mode of life but not all are conscious of its organization and purpose”. He further explained that there is a nonsocial part of the community such as little children and mentally deranged people who are not conscious of the way of life of the society and their rights and obligations. Culture in its simple forms to complex forms is being universally defined and understood as the totality of the ways of life of a people or a society. Onwueje Ogwu (1994) sees “culture as all material objects made by man ranging from stone implements to atomic energy and non-material things thought out and institutionalized by man ranging from values, norms to ideas like marriage, economy, drama dance and language”
Since women are part of the community, there is much need for. Apart from the physical attractions, women are indispensable at home not only in the domestic work they do, but also in taking care of the children. In support of this, Oyesakim (1982) asserted that women perform certain functions that make for development such as child bearing and economically, they are helping hands to man. In his opinion, Demise (1991) describes the roles and duties ofwomen in the family as wives, mothers, and village/community politicians. He was of the opinion that women function in various capacities ranging from founders of nations/states. Also there are assumptions that women are the main custodians of social, cultural and values of a society at large and a community in particular.
However, this custodian role of women has been threatened by colonialism, modern technology and advent of Western Education where women were grossly under-privileged.
Obviously, Nigerian association with the British as its colonizers left an indelible mark on the socio-cultural attitudes and patterns of behaviour of its citizens. During the colonial era, women were relegated to the Kitchen, thus destroying the indigenous courage and capacities displayed by their great grandmothers in service to their communities (Dadirep 1995). Coming from a background where a woman’s place was in kitchen, the colonial masters and administrators thought it strange to find the African woman involved in substantial economic and political activities outside the home (kitchen). According to Dadirep (1995), the Victorian period in England in the 1gth country re-emphasized the act that the physiology of women naturally made them timid, feeble and unable to think because they had smaller brains than man.
Development means different things to different people Mabogunje (1980) identifies development to be economic growth and modernization.
Mabogunje (1991) identified the eight cardinal elements of sustainable development as they affect women as education, health, culture, politics, economy, agriculture, enhanced environment, quality and peaceful co-existence.
Perhaps, the field where women have excelled and where they have contributed immensely to national development as well as community is trading with reference to the transportation, exchange, and distribution of food stuff.
More so, the better life programme which was (launched in 1987 and the family support programme of the Abacha administration did a lot to enhance women’s participation in development process. However, despite their attendant circumstantial and congenital constraints, some specific achievements can be attributed to the programme in some parts of Nigeria such as:
• Formation of co-operative societies and unions.
• Many women are deeply involved in the following
• Production of book soap
• Production of honey
• Founding of day care and primary schools
• Organization of literacy classes
• Preservation of perishable food items
• Promotion EPI/ORT activities
• Promotion of sanitation programmes.
It also undoubtedly clear that woman played a lot of vital roles in politics during the pre-colonial era. Nigerian women participated in politics and government through the institution of women chiefs, the authority of first born daughters and the age grades. They held various positions in their various ethnic groups. Currently, women are involved in all socio-cultural, economic, political and leadership aspects of the society.
Many of them were elected into various positions in their different communities, states and Federal level. To be precise, women are fully involved in developmental processes.
Conclusion: In spite of the imposed constraints or impediments on the Nigerian women at large and the study area in particular, there is over whelming evidence from what has been discussed in this introduction that women can be formidable productive forces which are needed for community and national development. They can dictate the pace and direction of the economy and society. Their sheer numerical strength is enough to jolt cynics. Their contribution
cannot be discounted in house-hold and national economics. The performance in national development efforts should be;
• Ensure major policy interventions to bring women’s social status and economic chance at par with those of men.
• Shift emphasis in regional development efforts to the provision of infrastructures and location of production ventures in marginalized areas.
• Identification and elimination Of all appearances of discrimination based on sex.
• Special child care security allowance should be put in place due to the tact that a properly brought up child is an assets to the society and not to the mother alone.
Converted efforts have been made by women themselves to be heard, seen and involved in all ventures, including political strides because the best advocates for women’s emancipation must be women themselves.
• Cottage economic activities that are socially, acceptable and economically viable should be identified.
• Credit facilities should make easily accessible to women.
• All plans for the achievement of the objectives of women’s development progress should be prudently designed and faithfully, executed (Jeminiwa, 1995).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The problem of this study is to identify the actual roles of women in community development in Ezzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State so that the non-recognition, discrimination, marginalization, oppression and suppression of women as well as other negative tendencies will be ended for the effective development of our society. It wilt also identify the causes and consequences of some of the factors that either militate against favour the role of women in community development in the study area.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objectives of this study are to critically examine the
-des of women in community development in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyl State, Specifically, this study sought to:
Determine the factors that affect the role of women in community development.
• Ascertain the contribution and level of development in the study area through women
• Examine the areas requiring more participation of women in the development of community in Izzi Local Government Area
Determine how women contribute in the provision of funds and other resources for developmental projects in the community in the study area.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions are formulated which if adequately answered would identify the roles of women in community development in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
1. What are the factors that affect the role of women in community development in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State?
2. What are the contribution of women and the extent of the
evel of community development in Izzi Local Government Area
through the role of women?
3, What are the areas that require more participation of women for community development in your area?
4. How do the women contribute in the provision of fund and other resources for the execution and implementation of community developmental projects?