UNEQUAL EQUALS: THE CHALLENGE OF PATRIARCHY AND GENDER INEQUALITY IN THE NIGERIA POLICE FORCE, 1955 – 2020
Keywords:Gender Discrimination, Gender Inequality, Gender Imbalance, Nigeria Police Force, Patriarchy, Policewomen
Patriarchal culture and its attendant social inequalities are well entrenched in Nigerian society. Essentialised by cultural and social-driven norms, it sustains a male-dominated power structure where women, largely disempowered, are relegated to the societal background. With the entry of women into paid employment and especially, their enlistment into occupations traditionally dominated by men, patriarchal social order also crept into workplaces. Though discourse on gender relations in Nigeria has become a key topic in contemporary scholarship, works on gender discrimination in workplaces, particularly in the police are few and far between. Building on primary and secondary sources, this paper explores the nature, extent, and consequences of the ubiquitous patriarchal culture in the Nigeria Police Force. The paper argues that patriarchal-driven inequality and gender discrimination against women is well-established in the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). Findings reveal that, concretized by the Police Act, gender inequality within the force is engendered by recruitment policy, posting, promotion, and administrative structure that are unfavourably skewed against women. These discriminatory practices are taking place despite the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and international conventions on elimination of gender discrimination endorsed by Nigeria. The research adopts the hegemonic masculinity theory as a theoretical model. It concludes that pervasive gender imbalance in the system is both dehumanising and demoralising to women serving in the Force. It recommends that increased enlistment into, and progression of women to advanced police ranks through the eradication of all gender-based obstacles will help the police fulfil its core mandate of enforcing law and security provision.
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