GENDER AND LIVELIHOOD: CHALLENGES AND FISHING SLUMS IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF MAKOKO LAGOS STATE)
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Generally the female gender in slum settlements has a poor quality of life. The lack of basic services aects
them the most. They have to spend considerable time collecting potable water and getting rid of wastewater. Women are most disadvantaged in fishing slums in Nigeria. Combined with a traditional bias or
subtle discrimination against the female genders; they are one not sent to school or dropouts in these fishing slums in Nigeria. Most slum dwellers especially the female gender in these riverside slums do not have the exposure to everyday city life situations which their counterparts have in the cities. As a
result they are one anxiety prone and stressed. The unhealthy and polluted environment, lack of immunization, malnutrition and absence of educational exposure acts children in fishing slums. Sadly, their physical, emotional and intellectual growth is stunted from a very tender age. The situation with respect to women’s health in the fishing slums is no different; rather their health is neglected the most. Insecurity related to regular income, food, shelter, access to portable drinking water, health care and other essential services, along with poverty and difficult physical and social environments, such as exploitation and abuse in the treatment of women, have an adverse impact on the health of the slum dwelling poor women. There is a consensus among the leading international organizations like the UN, WHO, World Bank, and ILO and development scholars that to achieve an effective change for better health and quality of life for women, a dual approach is needed (UNDP, 1999; Kar and Acalay, 2000). These are:
(1) Reforming health and welfare systems that meet the specific and urgent needs of women (e.g. health care, day care), and
(2) Reforming socio-cultural systems that perpetuate gender inequalities which are the source of all day-to-day problems (e.g. equal opportunities for education, income, cultural practices and devaluation of women).
These two approaches address what Moser (2002) identifies as two types of women’s needs- practical needs’ and strategic needs’ respectively. The first approach focuses on day-to-day needs that are akin to the proverb, giving a fish to a starving person; while the second approach is giving a fishing rod and opportunities to fish. There is synergy between health systems, human development systems, and broader social reform. While slum dwelling Nigerian men and women in large numbers and in many nations have benefited from various forms of social and technological developments, women continue to suer
from persistent inequalities in both poor and rich societies. In general, women carry most of the burden of caring for their children and domestic work.
Research show that women also suer most of the brunt of poverty and abuses due to persistent inequalities and relative powerlessness in Nigerian slums (Sen 2000). Both in rich and poor nations, women suer
various forms of institutionalized injustice and abuse including: denial of basic needs (education and
health care), feminization of poverty, unfair opportunities for employment, income, and leadership; sexual harassment and exploitation; physical mutilations and deaths, domestic violence; insufficient
interest in gender-related issues in policy and research; and culturally conditioned practices that endanger
women’s health and quality of life in Nigeria’s fishing slums.
STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
The poor living standards of slum dwellers in Nigerian slums have been a reoccurring problem despite government sorts in improving their living standard.
These spoor living standards have exposed slum dwellers to all kind of diseases and thus increased the level of crime recorded in these areas. Fishing slums have overtime in Nigeria had a major problem of portable water as most of theses slum dwellers end up with water borne diseases. This poor living standard
as a result of the challenges being faced by them has taken its toll on the female gender as they have been grossly affected by the level of crime and poor environment in these fishing slums.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to assess gender and livelihood and the challenges of fishing slums in Nigeria. Other objectives of the study are;
1. To examine the major challenges of slum dwellers in Nigeria.
2. To examine the impact of challenges of fishing slums in Nigeria on gender.
3. To assess the major means of livelihood of fishing slum dwellers in Nigeria.
4. To examine the eort
of government in eradicating challenges of fishing slum dwellers in Nigeria.
5. To examine the impact of gender on means of livelihood in fishing slums in Nigeria
6. To recommend ways of eradicating the challenges of fishing slums dwellers in Nigeria.