Gender issues in entrepreneurship education: vocational technical education in perspective
Entrepreneurship education is any form of education that assists an individual to develop technical, business management and personal entrepreneurial skills for independent living. Unfortunately, cultural and traditional beliefs and practices are responsible for perpetuating age-old gender-related problems that are still prevalent in vocational education today. This paper discusses gender issues in entrepreneurship education, in particular the poor representation of women, with a focus on vocational-technical education in Nigeria and some other African nations. It aims to identify the sources of discrimination, and make recommendations for how to best overcome them.
After charting some of the historical roots for why women are hindered in vocational and entrepreneurial education, the report adds more context by outlining the state of female education more generally in Nigeria. Next, the authors outline the need for and the different facets of entrepreneurial education, and how it compares with more traditional vocational training. The report then discusses prior research which identified a number of causes of male students’ dominance over female counterparts in the Nigerian technical colleges, including that: low enrolment of female students is rooted in gender, parental interest, teachers, government and nature of technical education factors; girls are attracted to certain vocational subjects and repelled by others, such as building, auto-mechanics, welding; and that traditional societal beliefs are prejudiced against the education of women in Nigeria in general.
The paper concludes that entrepreneurship education is a form of vocational education which contributes to personal and national development, and that it is and should be devoid of gender restriction or bias. In order to realise this conclusion on the ground, three recommendations are made:
Governments should strive to increase the enrolment of women in vocational education programmes through lowering admission requirements, and awarding scholarships to boost women's’ interest in the programme.
Women in vocational programmes should be promised instant jobs upon completion of their training.
Governments should mount enlightenment campaigns to educate women about their much needed contributions towards national development via vocational education and training.