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Patriarchy and Institutionalised Sexism in the Nigerian University System: The Case of the University of Port Harcourt

KA Anele


As observed in some quarters, discrimination against women is a profound but subtle sickness that is inveterate in the subconscious of both men and women, as well as in the structure of our society. This makes it one of the hardest sources of inequality to obliterate, since it affects the women folk from within and outside. It is not strange to observe that men are usually very uncomfortable in accepting the authority of women at home and in the workplace because it is a patriarchal society where everything starts and ends with men. Ordinarily, one would suppose that the ascriptive role of women would be limited to the family and other spheres, but not extended to the university system, which serves as a model in contemporary society. Data available on the university system in general in Nigeria, and in particular on the University of Port Harcourt, irresistibly point to the fact that gender discrimination is the order of the day. Men were, and are, appointed to important positions where crucial decisions impinging on the life of everybody are taken. Even if the population of women in the system is insignificant compared to that of men, the few qualified women who could be considered for appointment to certain positions are sidelined. The only reason for this gender discrimination that we refer to as institutionalised sexism is the patriarchal culture and ideology that equally influences the way women are treated in the larger society. Thus, this article focuses on the analysis of the impact of patriarchy on gender discrimination in a system that orchestrates equality of sexes and achieved, rather than ascribed, status.

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eISSN: 1024-0969