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1.1 Background of the study

low performance of female students has been attributed to cultural norms (UNESCO, 2003), low economic status of their parents (UNESCO, 2000) and inadequacy of education services to them (Evance and Lestebe 1998). Ngaiza, has pointed that women fare less in the area of access to education, and in terms of the college experience and are particularly disadvantaged with respect to the outcomes of schooling. She attributes this situation with social-culture values that have been maintained in patriarchal cultural traditions that uphold the interests and needs of men and over those of women. Within patriarchal traditions, female are seen as incapable and therefore, are not supported to further their education as their male‟s counterparts. The differences in treatment of children along gender greatly affect how they perform and archive in the classroom. 

The term culture literally means life of people in a community. It encompasses traditions as one of its components, the other one being customs (By Ministry of education and Culture-1997). Benedict (1934) contended that a culture, like an individual, is a more or less consistent pattern of thought and action and that within each culture, as a body of learned behaviors common to a given human society act rather like a template in the sense that it has predictable form and content, it resides in all learned behavior and exists in a constant state of change. Culture also can be defined as a lifestyle of people in a community, it comprises traditions and customs, its components are language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, arts, 

 In other hand we have the term Patriarchy: it is also important to understand that concept, from the (Global monitoring Report 2005-2007):

The “Patriarchy” has been recreated to analyze the origins and conditions of men‟s oppression over women (Karmarae 1992).

However, Patriarchy is a social system in which the father or eldest male is head of the house hood, having authority over women and children. Patriarchy also refers to a system of government by males and to the dominance of men in social or culture system. We live in patriarchal society which is defined as a society organized and run by men. Men make the rules and dominate business and government. It is said to be “man‟s world” men make the rules and dominate in all forums outside the home. A woman‟s main value is to support a man (behind every good man is a good woman), bear children and housekeeping duties. This is how it is and has been for millennia in most cultures.

For the purpose here it can be seen as a set of social relationships which provide for the collective domination of men over women. Patriarchy is manifest in unequal salaries for similar work, in discrimination, in legal inequality, in unequal expectations, in patterns and other direct violence. Especially vital to patriarchy is the control by men of most key positions in dominant social structures: Government, state bureaucracies, corporations, the military and professional bodies.

Negative cultural practices such as early and forced marriage, genital mutilation), Child labour, domestic and household work, all these deprive girls education. For example in 2010, sub – Saharan Africa had the highest rates of girl child labor issue,

50% of children aged 5 – 14 years were working. Some Countries such as Guinea – Bissau, Mali and Ethiopia have more than half of all children aged 5 – 14 years at work World Bank Data. Child labour-Data World Bank  

A study of the World Bank (2001) shows that pupils who enter primary school 48 percent of boys and only 29 percent of girls complete the cycle. This study shows that girls are educated so they know how to read and write or to be better mothers, rather than for employment, while boys are educated to get employment. This due to a belief that married daughters are more likely than married sons to remit cash to their parents (UNICEF 2001).

In Saudi Arabia for example, girls marry before they reach the age of 16, and this gender imbalance in education has been contributed by local norms especially early marriage, forced married and traditions social beliefs, and principles that stand in the way, limiting women‟s opportunities to acquire or complete their education (Almunajjed, 2009). Early marriage refers to any marriage of a child younger than 18 years old, in accordance to Article 1 of the Convention on the Right of the Child

(UNICEF, 2005). For Ortiner and Whitehead (1981) early marriage, also known as

Child marriage, is defined as “any marriage carried out with a child below the age of 18 years. This is a time before the girl is physically, physiologically ready to shoulder the responsibilities of marriage, child bearing and home care. Child marriage involves either one or both spouses being children and may take place with or without formal registration and under civil, religious or customary laws. According to Almunajjied girls in Saudi Arabia assume marital and family responsibilities when they have not completed their education and their chance to secure employment is minimal.

Due to gender based expectation in modern society including Nigeria, girls are socialized into role of home child rearing, while boys are socialized into leadership roles – being taken to school and to world of work out – side the home. Literature suggests that, children (both girls and boys) develop life-long attitude towards themselves from their socialization. Girls who show attributes of good care taker of the home are rewarded and those who show attributes of playing and being brave are scolded. This means that girls grow up with the notion that, they must show caring attitude to be accepted in society. During early socialization, mothers and aunts discourage their daughters from studying since ultimately they are to come back, marry cook for their husbands; comfort them in bed and produce children (Omary, 2006).

Atekyereza (2001) note that socialization of girls into women while at young age is responsible for the difference in personality attributes among boys and girls in school. The authors see socialization as referring to the pressures rewarding, punishing, ignoring and anticipating that push the child towards evoking certain acceptable responses. Children are taught that men have to work to secure their status while women do not (Misra, 2005).

While it is easily acceptable for a man to participate in lifelong learning programs or back to school programmes to learn new marketable change skills, it is not so acceptable to women (World Bank 2001). According to World Bank, community as a whole does not support women‟s lifelong learning, many evening continuing courses are offered in a very high cost and at awkward times, whereby many women fail to afford. UNESCO (2004) reported on the analysis of the results of the second Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality

(SACMEQ) SURVEY (2000-2002) that involved fifteen Ministries of Education.

The survey assessed student performance in mathematics and reading in Grade 6. The findings showed that in Mathematics, girls scored significantly higher than boys in Seychelles only. On the other hand, in Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Zanzibar and Malawi, boys scored significantly higher than girls in Mathematics subject. In the other school systems, including South Africa, the differences were not


In Asia gender gap in education is not better either. A study by UNESCO (1982) points to the situation when girls are not supported to be as smart as their brothers, they do not strive to perform in education. Boys on the other hand strive to be smart because they are encouraged and supported and their efforts are recognized. 

In Canada, Radtke and Spronk (1988) points that, the public education system treats males and female differently. These expectations have led to a limited range of fields for female students in schools, universities and colleges as a report from OXFAM (2009) indicates countless women in the developing world are found to be removed from the field of information and communication technology because of their lower levels of education. While ICT is present driving force of modern economy, without success to information technology, an understanding of its significance and the ability to use it, those left behind, majority of whom being women, they will be further marginalized from the main stream of their countries and the world.

Scholars have attributed global gender imbalance with political activities where women in national parliaments are underrepresented. In Arabs states for example, women represent only 6.8%, while in America 18.6% and in Nordic Countries they represent only 39.7% (UNDP, 2005). When women are underrepresented in the parliaments, where most of decisions are made, it follows that they will be underrepresented in all other social spheres including in education. According to UNDP, the absence of women from structures of governance inevitability means that national regional and local priorities is, how resources are allocated, are typically defined without meaningful input from women, whose life experience gives them a different awareness of the community need concerns and interests from that of men.

In united State for example, scholars who have focused on gender issues often treat all aspects of education as working to the disadvantage of women (Ngaiza, (2002). In Uganda, education priority is given to boys for various reasons; one of these reasons is that, some parents do not send girls to school during times of hardship since their education benefits are enjoyed by the family in which she marries and not by the family of origin (UNICEF, 2006nd.) Meena (1998) pointed gender imbalance between men and women, in women in terms of access, support and opportunities due to cultural bias. The issue here is most cases one side, women are more vulnerable to these victimization. It is unfortunately that such gender imbalances occur at the family level, community and national level.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Many women in different societies are still lagging behind in acquiring secondary education. This also affects the standard of living of women and their families in relation to accessibility to basic needs and services. In rural areas there are few opportunities for participating in various formal activities in formal sectors of the economy.

Scholars like Bhalalusesa (2001) and Misra (2005) found socialization into gender specific roles as contributing factor in gender imbalance in society. Furthermore, cultural value such as early marriage for girls (Almunajjed, 2009) negative attitude towards smart girls, different treatment of girls than boys (Douglas, 2007) and parents having different aspiration for boys and girls affects girls education (Gyamti, 2004).

These social-cultural factors have contributed to lagging behind of women in education and in employment. It is likely that the employment opportunity among girls is affected by not having opportunity to access secondary education. While this literature points to broader views of factors impacting on gender imbalance, especially in education, there is no focus on how teachers and students perceive this imbalance.

1.3 Objectives of the study

  • To investigate the perception of teachers, students, and parents and on the issues of early marriage to girls.
  • To assess the perceptions of the teachers, students, and parents on cultural values of smart girls.
  • To find the general perception of community‟s expectations of girls.

1.4 Research Questions

  • What are the perceptions of teachers, students, parents on early marriage to girls?
  • What are the perceptions of teachers, students, parents on cultural value of smart girls?
  • What does the community expectations of girls?

1.5 Significance of study

The significant of any study lies in its ability to solve or address the existing problem. The findings of this research are expected to make several contributions and beneficial to knowledge: these finding will lead to an understanding and explanation of situation faced by parents trying to prevent their girls to join various levels of educations. The findings will help planners and policy makers to revise relevant education curricular which can favour both girls and boys. The results will create awareness and provide unique-in depth perspective on important of educating women in the society. The government and non-governmental organization (NGOs) will use the findings in their efforts towards helping women access to education. 

1.6 Research hypothesis

H0: There is a weak relationship between influence of cultural background of students and female gender academic performance

H1: There is a weak relationship between influence of cultural background of students and female gender academic performance

1.7 Definition of terms

Access to Education

Refer to the opportunities available to the target population to participate in that education (ETP, 1995).

(a)      Education

Incorporates both formal elements of the educational process used over the lifetime of the person.

(b)      Equity  

Refers to the fairness in the distribution and allocation of education resources to various segments of the society.

(c)     Perspective     

Refers to frame works through which people make sense of their world.

(d)      Culture          

Refer to the customs and beliefs, way of life and social organization of a particular group.

(e)      Sex       

Refer to biological distinction between a man and woman. It distinguishes men from women using exclusively biological characteristics.

(f)       Gender          

Refer to the cultural contractions through which the differences and relationships between the sexes are understood in a given society.

(g)      Discrimination

Refer to any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the bias of sex which has the effect or purpose or impairing or unifying the recognition, enjoyment of exercise by women irrespective of their marital status on a basis of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedom in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any field.

(h)      Domesticity

Refers to family life or home: (domestic works) that is saving, doing cleaning or other jobs.


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