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Top Socio-Economic Issues Faced by Women in Nigeria; Lack of Financial Empowerment, Poverty and Lack of Access to Quality Education

Abuja, Nigeria. August 15th, 2019 – A new public opinion poll conducted by NOIPolls on the week commencing July 22nd has revealed that the major challenge faced by women in Nigeria is financial empowerment. Considering the unacknowledged role most women play in development and the need to ensure equal opportunities for the enhancement of sustainable human development, this poll also revealed several socio-economic challenges faced by women in Nigeria.

Based on poll interview conducted among women across the country, the results identified lack of financial empowerment (42 percent), poverty (35 percent), access to quality education (33 percent), gender inequality (19 percent), domestic violence (19 percent), sexual abuse (19 percent), cultural discrimination (19 percent), gender discrimination in employment (17 percent), religious discrimination (14 percent), physical abuse (13 percent) and rape (11 percent) as some of the challenges women face in Nigeria amongst other socio-economic challenges. Finally, the top three recommendations on addressing some of these situations includes establishing vocational training programmes (40 percent), access to quality healthcare and healthcare professionals (39 percent) and access to soft loan facilities from the government (32 percent) amongst other suggestions.

Survey Background

Globally, women are key contributors in the development of any country. However, the issues of women exclusion and low participation in politics and decision making have continued to generate attention worldwide. Though men and women are biologically and physiologically different, they both attain the same educational qualifications, socio-economic status and occupation among others. Yet, women are unequally represented in some aspects of public life. For instance, in Nigeria, obnoxious social norms, political exclusion and economic disparity dictate the presence and voice of women in public life. According to 2006 Nigerian population census figure, women constituted 49 percent of the total population, but there has been a gross gender gap between men and women, especially in political representation, economic management and leadership. Against this background, NOIPolls, conducted this survey to gauge the perceptions of Nigerian women regarding some of the socio-economic issues they face in the country as well as possible ways to resolve it.

The respondents were asked three specific questions. It is worth noting that when respondents were asked: do you think women face any socio-economic challenge in Nigeria? All the respondent answered yes to this question. Subsequently, respondents were asked to mention the socio-economic issues they believe Nigerian women face and the result revealed that the top three socio-economic issues cited were lack of financial empowerment (42 percent), poverty (35 percent) and access to quality education (33 percent).

Analysis by geo-political zone indicates that women residing in the South-West zone accounted for the largest proportion of Nigerians who mentioned lack of financial empowerment. This response may be influenced by women living in Lagos state considering that the State is the economic hub of Nigeria.

Also, while most of the women (42 percent) from the North-East believe poverty is the main challenge in the zone, a larger share of women from the North-West zone stated that lack of access to quality education is one of the toughest issue women in the region face.

A closer analysis on economic issues alone showed that lack of empowerment (42 percent), poverty (35 percent) and gender discrimination in employment (17 percent) were the top three economic challenges faced by women in Nigerian.

Similarly, analysis on the social issues revealed that lack of access to quality education (33 percent), gender inequality, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and cultural discrimination (19 percent each) and religious discrimination (14 percent) amongst other were cited as top social issues women in Nigeria face.

Suggestions on how to resolve some of these socio-economic issues highlighted above showed that most women in Nigeria advocated for the establishment of vocational training programmes (40 percent), access to quality healthcare service and professional (39 percent) and access to soft loan facility from the government amongst other suggestions. For instance, women who live in rural areas are often characterised by poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and lack of social and economic amenities hence, do not have access to credits facilities. This often contribute to women bearing a disproportionate burden of poverty in Nigeria therefore, it is extremely pertinent that the federal government encourage women and small enterprises through the provision of credit.

Analysis by geo-political zone revealed that women residing in the North-West zone (51 percent) had the highest percent of respondents who advocated for the establishment of vocational training programmes in Nigeria. Also, women in the South-East zone (62 percent) had the largest representation of respondent who suggested access to quality healthcare services and healthcare professionals while, women in the South-West zone (55 percent) had the greater share of respondents who recommended that government should provide soft loan facilities for women in the region to start-up businesses.

Further analysis on solutions to some economic issues showed that the top three recommendations includes establishment of vocational training programmes (40 percent), provision of soft loan by government for women to start-up businesses (32 percent) and provision of more employment opportunities for women by the government (17 percent).

Correspondently, analysis on solutions to some social issues showed that the top three suggestions includes access to quality healthcare services (39 percent), parents should orientate their daughters (30 percent) and establishment of educative awareness programmes (24 percent).

In conclusion, the survey explored the opinion of Nigerian women on socio-economic issues they face as well as possible suggestions on how to mitigate these challenges. Hence, the analysis of results from the poll revealed a plethora of socio-economic challenges faced by an average Nigerian woman. The top five challenges affecting women in Nigeria were found to be: Lack of financial empowerment, Poverty, lack of access to quality education, gender inequality and domestic violence.

Given these challenges they provided specific solutions to each challenge; on the issues of lack of financial empowerment they suggested the establishment of a vocational training programmes for women and the inclusion of women politics.

These challenges threaten the very existence of women, hinder their capabilities and distract them from pursuing sustainable human development. Therefore, concerted efforts are imperative to mainstream inherent relevant genders issues as mentioned by 19 percent of the respondents. The relevant organs of government should also establish a legal department to focus mainly on advocating legislation against social and legal practices against women in Nigeria. Finally, the government, international organizations, partnership agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should synergize and create policies and various socio-economic empowerment programmes for women in Nigeria to remedy some of the challenges mentioned in this survey.


The polls involved telephone interviews of a proportionate nationwide sample of 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning female Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geo-political regions and 36 states and the FCT of the country. Interviews were conducted in 5 languages – Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Pidgin English and English. Although we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained were statistically precise – within a margin of error of plus or minus 4.65%; we recognize that the exclusive use of telephone polling has its limitation of excluding non-phone-owning Nigerians. Nonetheless, with the country’s tele density put over 100 percent by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), we consider our telephone polling approach appropriate. Also, given the rigorous scientific process of randomization and stratification applied, we can confidently stand by the validity of our methodology and approach.


This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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