Women constitute 49% of the total population in Nigeria, according to the controversial 1991 census. As it obtains in every capitalist society, as a rule, women are marginalised and oppressed in Nigeria. In a capitalist society a woman is doubly oppressed, first as a worker whose employer must maximise profit by exploiting her labour power and secondly as a woman in patriarchal society. .
Employment is one source of empowerment for women but unfortunately it is difficult to measure employment status because the informal sectors are not reported. However, the data on from the 2006 population census for instance shows that women and men currently employed in the ratios of 46 and 54 percent respectively.. These show clearly that the number of educated women is low an obvious impediment to development planning. It is obvious that the men are dominating in the sphere of basic indices of human development examined by this study. The tremendous increase of women in population depicts that the realization of the third millennium development goal which is women empowerment can hardly be achieved if nothing is done to improve their literacy rate, educational attainment and especially their employment rate.
It has to be noted that women oppression is rooted in class society; therefore it had been with us before the advent of capitalism when it has however reached its peak. Patriarchy exploits the labour of women; capitalism exploits the labour of the wage earners either male or female. By the virtue of the population of Nigeria the potential female labour force is 50% but the actual value is 31%. The proportion of women in the formal sector is very minimal. This is noticeable in the industries and the civil services; statistics indicate that in the Federal Civil Service, which the highest employer in the country is, women are mostly found in the junior categories.
Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of discovering patterns and elucidating principles that can be discerned from, and applied to, all types of systems at all nesting levels in all fields of research. Systems theory can reasonably be considered a specialization of systems thinking or as the goal output of systems science and systems engineering, with an emphasis on generality useful across a broad range of systems (versus the particular models of individual fields).
Women are mainly involved in petty trading, selling wares in the market and street hawking in urban areas. According to statistics 78 % of women are mostly engaged in the informal sector, which are farming and petty trading. Despite this, their contribution is not commensurate monetarily. The women’s unpaid labour is twice that of men, and its economic value is estimated to be up to 30% of the nation’s Gross National Product. Women self-advancement has been curtailed by the burden of reproduction, particularly in Nigeria with a very high birth rate as well as the cultural roles associated to women – role of child bearing, child raising and homemaking. Nigerian women, like their counterparts, around the world, face a lot of discrimination that limit their opportunities to develop their full potential on the basis of equality with men.
The 1999 Constitution forbids discrimination on the basis of sex and women employment rights are further protected under the Labour Act. Nevertheless, the reality is that Nigerian women are far from enjoying equal rights in the labour market, due mainly to their domestic burden, low level of educational attainment, biases against women’s employment in certain branches of the economy or types of work and discriminatory salary practices. In some establishments women are not allowed to get married or pregnant because it is thought that it will reduce their productivity and of course profit.
Employment is one source of empowerment for women, given that it enables them exercise control over their own income and by extension their lives. Employment is one source of empowerment for women but unfortunately it is difficult to measure their employment status because the informal sectors are not reported. However, the data on hand indicates, for instance, that women and men currently employed in the North West are 46 and 54 percent respectively. Also, the employment rate of men and women in urban area are of the ratio 42:37 percent while the employment ratio of men to women in the rural area is 63:58.
In recent times, there has been a great deal of concern about the discriminatory practices in the labour market based on gender considerations. Specifically, several practices, beliefs and stereotypes are held against the female gender as regards their suitability for certain jobs, eventual employment and advancement on the job. It is extremely difficult in some societies for women to go beyond a particular career level. Some jobs are taken as the exclusive preserve of the male gender, while women are taken to be the weaker sex and therefore, should be employed in those areas where their weakness can be managed or tolerated. Even in the face of modernization, most people still hold on to the view that the woman’s place should be in the kitchen and therefore it is non traditional for women to engage in paid jobs outside the home. The implication of these is that the rate at which women participate in the labour force is dictated by societal norms and stereotypes.
The participation of the females in the labour force of Nigeria is still considered relatively low. The low participation rate may be because the males most of the time constitute the main employers of labour. This in turn gives them the opportunity to express their feelings and attitude towards the employment of the female gender. Effa et al (1995) findings support this notion. The author posits that 75 percent of male employers prefer employing the males to the females. The study goes further to suggest that the males are preferred to their female counterparts because the former are presumed more likely to ensure maximum productivity and efficiency.
Other reasons being given include the number of times the female is likely to absent herself from work due to sickness, maternity leave, childcare and other domestic issues. An important question then arises: should the female gender be denied employment in the labour market and thereby reducing the participation in the labour market because of their natural/traditional roles as mothers and home makers which society has assigned to them

Generally speaking, the share of women in labour force has been on the rise because of education and the process of modernization. However, their participation is more in areas of agriculture and trading while still very limited in areas of administration, managerial occupations and transport. Several reasons were given as responsible for this. They include gender stereotypes and perception of the employers about women. Also, several other factors facing working women in Nigeria were identified, notable among them is male domination in workplace, which can take various forms
Considering the state of the Nigerian economy its need for development cannot be neglected and since it has been established that women play a vital role in national development, the role of women in the Nigerian economy cannot be ignored. In the light of the findings made, the following conclusion is made. They study discovered that efficiency of the women on the development and plan of the Nigeria economy are not yet felt because there is a big disparity between women and men with the ratio 1:3 in the employment sector. It is pertinent to note that women constitute a greater part of the population and they can only be ignored at the peril of the economy.


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