Out of 177 countries, Nigeria was ranked the 162nd regarding women’s rights in the 2023 Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Index report. The report, which was released in New York, evaluates 13 indicators linked to education, jobs, laws, and organised violence, divided into three categories: inclusion, justice, and security. According to the index, no country performs perfectly on the WPS Index and the results reveal wide disparities across countries, regions, and indicators. The WPS Index offers a tool for identifying where resources and accountability are needed most to advance women’s status – which benefits everyone in the world.
According to the report, all the bottom 20 countries, including Nigeria, experienced violent conflicts between 2021 and 2022. Also, year 2022 has been identified as the most fatal year for conflict-related deaths since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The rankings identified that the top five countries for women to live in are Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. On the other hand, the bottom five countries on the index, the worst for women, include Afghanistan, Yemen, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan.
PVTW indicator ranks Nigeria among five with the most events.
In the 2023 index, Nigeria ranking dropped to 162 out of 177 countries in terms of women’s inclusion, justice, and security. It shows a decline from the 2021/22 edition where Nigeria was ranked 130 out of 170 countries. The new index introduced a Political Violence Targeting Women (PVTW) indicator within the security dimension, and Nigeria is among the five countries with the most PVTW events in 2022. These events included actions by armed groups and identity militias, such as communal militias in Zamfara and Katsina, who were responsible for over 25 percent of these incidents.
Rebel groups like Boko Haram also contributed to political violence against women. The decline in women’s representation in Nigerian National Assembly in 2023 is largely attributed to the increasing political violence against women. According to the report, Nigeria rank high as the worst country for women in parliamentary representation average score 4.5/5.0. Also according to the index, maternal mortality, an important measure of justice for women, is influenced by healthcare quality and gender discrimination.
Healthcare quality and gender discrimination influence maternal mortality.
Furthermore, the report highlights that fragile states have the highest average maternal mortality ratio at 539.7 deaths per 100,000 live births, followed by Sub-Saharan Africa at 506.9. The five countries with the highest maternal mortality ratios (South Sudan, Chad, Nigeria, Central African Republic, and Guinea-Bissau) are all classified as fragile states. Sub-Saharan Africa’s high maternal mortality is linked to factors such as child marriage, limited access to contraception, and reproductive health education.
These issues result in adolescent fertility rates of 100 births per 1,000 girls, making young girls more vulnerable to pregnancy-related complications and maternal mortality. Meanwhile, women’s financial inclusion globally has increased from 56 percent in 2014 to 71 percent as of 2021. In 50 countries, there have been increases of at least 10 percentage points in financial inclusion, with Lesotho and Moldova leading the way. In Afghanistan and South Sudan, fewer than five percent of women have access to their bank accounts. For Nigeria, women’s financial inclusion stands at 35 percent, and women’s employment is at 58.9 percent.
Possible scores are determined by performance across several indicators.
Overall, women’s financial inclusion exceeds 95 percent in 30 countries but drops to ten percent or lower in eight countries. The WPS Index is published by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Possible scores and ranks are determined by performance across 13 indicators of women’s status classified under the three dimensions of inclusion, justice, and insecurity.