Women leaders in Nigerian higher education

Chinedu Christie Nnamah-Okoye, Fordham University


This study explored the areas in which Nigerian women are leading in higher education. The study was prompted by the recent global interest and emphasis on women, their lives, and potentials. Literature review noted the dearth of study on Third World women and limited documentation of the roles and contributions of such women to their society. This study therefore will contribute to the body of knowledge about Nigerian women and by extension, other women. Six research questions guided the study. In carrying out the study, the researcher employed the qualitative or ethnographic method which allowed her scope to use the multi-dimensional approach so as to see and report the lives of the women from the women's point of view. More than 30 women were initially contacted but 4 of them not only qualified, but also agreed to participate in the study. The field work took place in Nigeria within a period of 7 months and involved observation, face-to-face unstructured interviews, questionnaires, surveys of documents, and life history accounts. Nigerian women in higher education leadership depict similar characteristics as women in similar positions in other cultures. However, lingering and persistent cultural and social practices limit the Nigerian women's freedom in carrying out the duties of their offices. Nonetheless, these women have been able to meet the demands of their various roles quite easily because of the availability of the services of the servant class, wide and extended family relations and support, as well as personal determination, self-confidence, and hard work. Young Nigerian women who are aspiring to become educational leaders should begin early to develop skills in interpersonal relations and in personnel management. They should have an in-depth knowledge of internal institutional policies of the organization they hope to lead. They should cultivate a core of influential supporters and know how to lobby effectively. Finally, such women need to acquire experience and competence in managing not only the administrative and governance structures of their establishment, but also develop skills in managing their own careers and lives.

Subject Area

School administration|Higher education|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Nnamah-Okoye, Chinedu Christie, "Women leaders in Nigerian higher education" (1996). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9631045.