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This research delved into the examination of gender-based disparities in the career progression of staff at Nigerian universities. The study aimed to scrutinize the nature of these disparities, identify influencing factors, assess their effects, and propose potential measures to enhance gender equity in career advancement at the university. The investigation aligned with the objectives by reviewing relevant literature, adopting the role congruity theory of prejudice to explain the phenomenon, and utilizing both primary and secondary sources of data. Sampling techniques, including simple random, stratified, and purposive sampling, were employed to select 317 respondents from five faculties: Agriculture, Arts, Law, Sciences, and Medicine. The study incorporated quantitative and qualitative methods through the administration of questionnaires and in-depth interviews. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 20) facilitated data analysis, including simple descriptive statistics, cross-section, and regression analysis. The findings revealed a gender disparity in educational qualifications, with more men holding higher qualifications. Women's monthly income was notably lower than men's, and there was an underrepresentation of women in senior academic positions, with a prevalence in non-teaching roles. Men predominantly occupied key administrative roles across departments and faculties. While equal treatment in promotion, educational opportunities, sponsorship, and work leave was observed for both genders, women faced less favorable conditions in recruitment and managerial appointments.




1.1 Background to the Study

Gender, viewed as a socio-cultural construct rather than a biological determinant, encompasses socially constructed roles, learned behaviors, and expectations associated with males and females. It significantly influences various spheres of life, including home, education, and work. Gender disparities often manifest in decision-making opportunities, assigned responsibilities, activities, and access to resources. In the workforce, disparities exist between men and women in terms of employment, promotion, and selection for appointments. Despite significant strides in education and career advancements by women, workplace equality remains elusive. Women around the world compete in various professions and levels, yet gender gaps persist, especially in managerial positions. This study focuses on examining the disparities in career progression based on gender among employees in selected Nigerian universities.

France, Slovenia and Italy, the lowest shares were reported in Lithuania, Cyprus, Germany, Spain and Portugal (European Union, 2008). In the UK, in 2009/10, women were 44% of all academics and non-academics. A higher proportion of staff in professorial roles was male (80.9%) and female (19.1%). Men comprised 55.7% of academic staff in non-manager roles and 72.0% of academic staff in senior management roles (Blandford, et al., 2011). According to Singh (2008), in 70% of the Commonwealth‟s 54 countries, all universities were led by men. Davies (1996) observed that women enter adjunct roles but do not attain the most senior organisational positions. Egunjobi (2009) asserted that within the Commonwealth nations, the percentage of women employed as full time academic and non-academic staff ranges from the highest of 50% in Jamaica to the least of 9.5% in Ghana, with a Commonwealth average of 24%. The smallest percentages were found in Ghana 9.5%, Nigeria 13.6%, Tanzania 11.0%, Zambia 10.9% and Zimbabwe 9.8% all in Africa. Nigeria like other countries in Africa has in the last National Population Census (2006) almost equal number of males and females that make up the total population. For instance, females were 68.3 million, which is about 48.78 percent and males constituted 71.7 million, which is 51.22 percent of the total population of about 140 million. The Nigeria‟s National Gender Policy (NGP, 2007) reported that gender inequality within the overall society and across all sectors reflects the wide disparities between women and men. For example, 76% of the Federal Civil Service workers are men, while women make up 24% and occupy less than 14% of the overall management positions. Within the Nigeria’s tertiary institutions, Duyilemi (2007) found out that in Nigeria, most female staffs in the tertiary institutions are in junior cadres of administration of female/male ratio of 11.6% to 88.4%. Adegun (2012) also found out in his study that academic opportunity was more masculine than feminine in the tertiary institutions in Ekiti State with the College of Education employing the highest number of females with 27.0%, followed by the University with 18.3% and the Polytechnic with 12.8%. He concluded that the percentage of women in the upper echelon in the institutions studied in Ekiti State was very low and representation of women at the academic management position was also low. Information from the Registry Department, Nigerian universities (2016) indicates that out of a total of 10,229 academic and non-teaching staffs in the university, only 1,840 representing 18% are females, and 8,389 representing 82% are males.

1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

Gender differentials in career advancement present a significant challenge for women, leading to disadvantages and an unfriendly work environment. While there is a general acknowledgment of gender issues within Nigerian universities, a lack of scientific documentation and systematic studies hinders a comprehensive understanding of the problem. This study aims to fill this gap by exploring the characteristics, factors, and effects of gender differentials in career advancement within Nigerian universities.

1.3 Research Questions

This study addresses the following questions:

  1. What are the characteristics of gender differentials in career advancement among staff in Nigerian universities?
  2. What factors influence gender differentials in career advancement among staff in the study area, and what are their effects?
  3. What strategies can be employed to enhance gender equity in career advancement among staff in Nigerian universities?

1.4 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to analyze gender differentials in career advancement among staff in Nigerian universities. The specific objectives include:

  1. Identify and characterize gender differentials in career advancement among staff in Nigerian universities.
  2. Ascertain the factors influencing gender differentials in career advancement in the study area.
  3. Determine the effects of these factors on gender differentials in career advancement among staff in Nigerian universities.
  4. Propose strategies to enhance gender equity in career advancement among staff in Nigerian universities.

1.5 Significance of the Study

This research holds significance in various aspects, including:

  • Providing an analytical framework for policymakers, law enforcement agencies, and legislators to address gender inequality in workplaces, especially within the context of Nigerian universities.
  • Assisting decision-makers and policy analysts in formulating and implementing policies that promote gender equity in educational institutions.
  • Contributing to the body of knowledge in gender studies, women empowerment, and women's rights.
  • Supporting the management of higher education institutions in developing inclusive policies that ensure equal participation and contribution from all genders.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study specifically analyzes gender differentials in career advancement among staff in Nigerian universities. It explores the nature of these disparities, the influencing factors, their effects, and potential measures to enhance gender equity. However, the study is limited to Nigerian universities and does not cover the entire tertiary education sector.

1.7 Unit of Analysis

The units of analysis for this study include working men and women, both academic and non-teaching staff, in Nigerian universities.

1.8 Hypotheses

H01: There is no significant difference between factors influencing career advancement and gender differentials.

H02: There is no significant difference between male and female choices in their career paths.