April 22, 2016

The case of football’s Super Falcons highlights Nigeria’s gender inequality

The treatment of Nigeria’s women’s football team—the Super Falcons—by the Nigerian Football Federation only serves to highlight the lack of gender equality in the country, reports the BBC in the latest of its series of letters by African journalists.

The Super Falcons have secured a place in the 10th Africa Women’s Cup of Nations scheduled to take place in Cameroon in 2016—they are the reigning champions; their male counterparts—the Super Eagles—failed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations taking place in Gabon in 2017—they have failed to qualify on two consecutive occasions.

The Falcons have qualified for every FIFA Women’s World Cup since the competition began in 1991 and have won the women’s Africa Nations Cup nine times—more than any other country. So, why are they consistently paid less and treated less favorably than their male colleagues?

As a signatory to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September 2015 by UN member states, the Nigerian government committed, among other things, to achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls by 2030 (Goal 5).

The letter’s author, novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, believes that sports can be an important enabler for development and women’s empowerment and that by bridging the treatment gap between Nigeria’s men’s and women’s football teams the Nigerian government can display its official commitment to gender equality.

Related articles:
Equal pay legislation and the gender wage gap, by Solomon W. Polachek
Wage compression and the gender pay gap, by Lawrence M. Kahn
Sports, exercise, and labor market outcomes, by Michael Lechner
Find more IZA World of Labor articles about gender