GENDER & DEVELOPMENT STUDIES RESEARCH GROUP

UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NSUKKA
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY/ANTHROPOLOGY
 
GENDER & DEVELOPMENT STUDIES RESEARCH GROUP
 
JUSTIFICATION BRIEF/STATEMENT OF INTENT
 
Introduction
The areas of focus of Gender and development studies research group include the following; gender inequality, gender based violence, women’s work, sexuality and reproductive health issues including the need for male involvement in reproductive health; female empowerment and socio-cultural determinants of health inequities.
Gender inequality has been recognized as a major challenge in achieving a humane and meaningful development. In fact gender inequality was highlighted as a key factor that has hampered the progress in attainment of the entire millennium development goals not merely goal 3 (OECD, 2010). This is particularly so due to the vicious cycle of poverty resulting from gender inequality (GADN, 2013). Critical areas of concern about gender inequality are i) challenges in women’s control over resources (land and credit), which are vital to ensuring women’s ability to maintain a sustainable livelihood for themselves and their family members particularly young children; ii) the level of women’s participation in decision making in the family/household and at community levels; iii) the degree of control women have over their own physical security.
It therefore becomes important to examine how the relationship between inequalities in gender power relationships and discriminatory cultural practices impinge on access to technology and production resources, employment and participation in decision making positions and processes which pose serious threats to the development process.
In connection with gender based violence, a major challenge has been with neglect or poor handling of various forms of gender based violence including, harmful cultural practices, domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, child sexual abuse, and sex trafficking. A serious challenge in dealing with gender based violence is the culture of silence. Moreover societal norms tend to provide tolerance for gender based violence (OECD 2010).
The research group will be interested in addressing reproductive health issues associated with sexuality and the mechanisms for protecting women’s reproductive health and rights and the need to enhance male involvement in reproductive health.
Research on social and environmental determinants of health for all policies approach (HiAP) which is geared towards achieving universal health coverage will be relevant in addressing some salient issues that are related to addressing health inequalities. Two priority areas identified by WHO (2013) are i)the need to focus on the health determinants; and ii) to pay attention to factors that cause unequal distribution of these health determinants. The outcomes will be relevant in strengthening public policy reforms to achieve universal health coverage.
Moving to the area of women and work, the concern is that despite the contributions of women in economic development of the family and society at large, they still experience limited participation in political activities and decision- making on vital issues in the society. This could be related to the cultural/traditional attitudes towards the female sex. There is need therefore, to explore these resilient socio-cultural factors that still hinder working women’s full participation in decision-making at the larger societal level with a view to finding ways of dealing with them.
One of the issues raised in the post 2015 framework is to focus on social transformations that will be appropriate in eradicating poverty and at the same time be able to empower categories of people that are marginalized and those experiencing different kinds of social exclusions (GADN 2013). In particular the need for gender equality and women’s empowerment to become a priority was also highlighted
Through our engagement in various researches to be proposed in the above mentioned areas, we envisage that the outcomes will be useful in informing evidence- based policy interventions on gender, livelihood and development issues.
References
Gender & Development Network (GADN) 2013 Achieving Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the Post-2015 Framework www.gadnetwork.org.uk
OECD 2010. Gender inequality and the MDGs: What are the missing dimensions? OECD Development  Centre position paper N°2
World Health Organization (WHO) 2013. Practising a health in all policies approach for universal health coverage and health equity.
A policy briefing for Ministries of health based on experiences from Africa, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific
 
Composition
The members of the research group are as follows:
1. Prof. Nkoli N. Ezumah  Coordinator, Department of Sociology/Anthropology
2. Prof. V.I Okeke : Department of Sociology/Anthropology
3.  Prof. EU Igbo: Department of Sociology/Anthropology
4. Mr. Chidi Ugwu: Lecturer and PhD candidate Department of Sociology/Anthropology
5. Mrs Ijeoma Igwe : Lecturer and PhD candidate Department of Sociology/Anthropology
6. Mrs Uche Akamigbo: Lecturer and PhD candidate Department of Sociology/Anthropology