WORKPLACE GENDER EQUALITY IN RIVERS STATE (A CASE STUDY OF UNIVERSITY OF PORT HARCOURT)
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Right against discrimination is both a legal right and international recognized human right, which falls under both civil and political right and social, cultural, and economic right. Economic rights are those rights, which provide economic security to the people. This empowers all citizens to make proper use of his or her civil and political right. The right against unfair discrimination in the workplace emphasizes economic, social, and cultural development. The prevailing laws and policies of the Nigerian government; local and municipal laws do not give a wide coverage and recognition to the rights of women in the workplace (Nasir 2011). Due to this, women are sometimes left unprotected by the legislations; and where there are, provisions made for them they are not all embracing such that it will meet their legal needs. While the policies, which are written in their favour, are not articulate enough and still exposes them to being vulnerable (Agomo 2011). When people are in unequal situations, treating them in the same manner invariably perpetuates, rather than eradicates, injustices. In societies around the world, female status generally is viewed as inferior and subordinate to male status(Bunch 2010). The historic subordination, silencing, and imposed inferiority of women are not simply features of society but a condition of society (Abimiku 2013), even though the society tries to rise beyond it in recent times. Societies have modeled their gender-role expectations on these assumptions of the “natural order” of humankind (Osita2013.). The types of discrimination against women are usually shaped by how gender interfaces with the different aspect of identity (Bunch and Frost 2015). The principle of nondiscrimination demands vulnerable groups and workers that fall within that category is giving particular attention. The victims of discrimination tend to be the most disadvantaged groups of society, such as women, minorities, indigenous peoples, refugees, and disabled persons. This group should be giving special treatment aimed at protecting the group in order to remedy inherent inequalities with regard to full enjoyment of all rights. In the Beijing Declaration adopted at the Fourth World Conference in 2012 on women, Nigeria expressed its commitment to advance the goals of equality, development, and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of humanity. There exists a link between equality and unfair discrimination. The absence of equality indicates the presence of discrimination. Underpinning the concept of equality is the emphasis on dignity (Fredman 2010). Equality is a simple concept, yet there exists divergent opinions as to what equality is and how it should be incorporated into the society (Holtmaat 2015). It extends beyond sameness of treatment; it refers to equality in outcome and includes an acceptance of unequal treatment of categories of people in order to achieve the goal of equality. Based on this, certain exceptions have been recognized as permissible; certain preferential treatment, such as the special treatment aimed at protecting pregnant women or disabled persons, is not considered discrimination as the purpose of the preferential treatment is to remedy inherent inequalities. Similarly, affirmative action (reverse discrimination) (Schwartz 2009), defined, as measures necessary ‘to diminish or eliminate conditions which cause or help to perpetuate discrimination’ (Adejugbe and Adejugbe 2017) aimed to benefit historically disadvantaged groups (Faundez 2008) within society, is not ‘discrimination’ e.g. federal character.What is discrimination? Definition of discrimination is in different international instrument such as the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD 2016), the Convention on the Elimination of all kinds of inequality or Discrimination against Women (CEDAW2009). Also in the International Labour Organisation Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD2013), and the Convention against Discrimination in Education.Therefore,‘discrimination’ refers to any distinction, exclusion or preference, be it in law or in administrative practices or in practical relationships, between persons or groups of persons, made on the basis of race, disability, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, nationality or social origin, which have the effect of nullifying or impairing the equal enjoyment of any rights in relation to right at work. Other grounds of prohibited discrimination are age, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The Nigerian constitution does not define what discrimination is but makes provision for discrimination. Section 42 2015of the constitution provides for the right to freedom from discrimination based on ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion, or political opinion. This right tends to ensure the equal treatment of and equal opportunity for persons/workers irrespective of sex, race, religion, nationality, etc. Discrimination based on sex, refers strictly to “biological characteristics”, or it may also include “socially constructed roles and responsibilities assigned to a particular sex (gender)” (ILO, 2012) Discrimination has a wide-ranging effect on labour relations at the work place. It runs from, the method an employer employs i.e. in making selections of whom to employ, the terms on which he offers employment, access to promotion, transfer, training or other benefits, or dismissal. There are two categories of discrimination, which are the direct discrimination, and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination is a blatant unequal treatment of employees on the ground of sex, race, religion, circumstance of one’s birth, etc. It is when an employer, on the ground of sex, race, religion, etc. treats an employee less favourably than others. While indirect discrimination refers to an apparently ‘neutral’ law, practice, or criterion, which applies equally to employees at work but the result favours one group over a more disadvantaged group. In determining the existence of indirect discrimination, it is not relevant whether there was intent to discriminate on any of the prohibited grounds ( James v. Eastleigh Borough Council 1990). It is the consequence or effect of a law or action that determines whether it is discriminatory or not. An example is that when an employer advertises for a vacancy and states that candidates should not get pregnant during the contract of employment, this is indirectly discriminatory against women. Therefore the study examines workplace gender equality in Rivers State, a case study of university of Port Harcourt.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Gender inequality, also referred to as gender discrimination, differentiation or stratification, pertains to the contention that biological differences between the two sexes have been exaggerated and used to justify unfair treatments of the female sex. This value-laden issue has been examined from different perspectives. Some authors, writing under themes of sexism, patriarchy, and androcentrism examine the inequality and unfairness women encounter in a male-centred world (McDowell and Sharp, 2011). Other authors point out the inequality inherent in the class-less and unpaid status of home making -a job that is associated with women-, which contrasts sharply with paid employment with all its benefits, which seem to have been drawn up with men in mind (Sapiro, 2008). Gender inequality has also been examined from the perspective of international development, specifically, the tendency for development policies to be under-girded by the assumption that male-headed households are the norm; resulting in the exclusion of female-headed households from institutional assistance (Lindsey and Beach, 2015). Within the field of management theorising itself, it has been noted that organisational issues are treated largely from the perspective of men (Saror and Nwasike, 2010). Therefore the study examines workplace gender equality in Rivers State, a case study of University of Port Harcourt.
AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine workplace gender equality in Rivers State, a case study of University of Port Harcourt. Other specific objectives of the study include;
To examine nature of gender inequality in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State To examine measuresfor facilitating gender equality in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State To examine the impact of workplace gender equality on workers’ productivity in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State To examine gender and the human resource management function in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. To examine the relationship between workplace gender equality and workers’ productivity in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. To examine the mechanisms that perpetuates gender stratification in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What is the nature of gender inequality in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State? What are measures for facilitating gender equality in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State? What is the impact of workplace gender equality on workers’ productivity in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State? What is gender and the human resource management functions in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State? What is the relationship between workplace gender equality and workers’ productivity in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State? What are are the mechanisms that perpetuate gender stratification in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
: There are is no significant impact of workplace gender equality on workers’ productivity in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. : There is a significant impact of workplace gender equality on workers’ productivity in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
H0: There is no significant relationship between workplace gender equality and workers’ productivity in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
H1: There is a significant relationship between workplace gender equality and workers’ productivity in University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
1.6SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will be of profound benefits to bridge the gender gaps that exist in organizations in Nigeria. This study would also be of immense benefit to students and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to workplace gender equality in Rivers State, a case study of University of Port Harcourt.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8OPERATIONALDEFINITION OF TERMS
Gender: The term ‘gender’ is used to describe a set of qualities and behaviours expected from men and women by their societies. A person’s social identity is formed by these expectations. These expectations stem from the idea that certain qualities, behaviour, characteristics, needs and roles are ‘natural’ for men, while certain other qualities and roles are ‘natural’ for women.
Workplace: A workplace is a location where someone works for his or her employer, a place of employment. Such a place can range from a home office to a large office building or factory.