We’ve been exploring the needs of women studying in Nigerian higher education, by capturing the perspectives of academic staff in Nigeria. 

We’re investigating ways to enhance women students’ experiences, identify their wellbeing and support needs, and enable them to reach their potential. We’re focused on identifying, sharing and building on good practices and developing useful resources for students, staff and universities.

This project involves an ongoing collaboration with UK colleagues at the University of Portsmouth, University of Bristol and colleagues at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo in Ebonyi State, Nigeria.

Our project 

Higher Education has the benefits of enhancing the knowledge economy, generating highly skilled and knowledgeable workers (across all fields and disciplines) and contributing to society. Nigeria faces some identified challenges in relation to women’s participation and progression in HE linked to broader gender equality issues in education and public life. By identifying and addressing barriers for women and identifying ways to enhance their experiences, the project hopes to contribute to the progression and achievement of women and to increasing gender equality in this context.

The project included a review of the literature, a survey of over 100 students, semi-structured interviews with 35 student mothers, and a survey with 90 staff members of Nigerian universities. Material, academic, emotional and socio-cultural challenges were identified which are likely to prevent many women students from accessing, fully participating, progressing and reaching their potential in higher education. The team produced a report and policy briefing for the National Universities Commission and are currently embarked on developing further outputs, including dissemination events, workshops, publications and curriculum development. We intend to continue our collaboration and identify opportunities for further research and development.

This has been a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues in Nigeria, learn more about Nigerian higher education and explore the opportunities and challenges for women students in that context. We look forward to our continued collaboration based on a shared commitment to gender equality.

Dr Charlotte Morris, Researcher


  • Dr Charlotte Morris, Principal Investigator, University of Portsmouth
  • Dr Chinyere Nwajiuba, Alex Ekwueme University, Ndufu-Alike, Nigeria
  • Dr Chinwe Ogunji, Alex Ekwueme University, Ndufu-Alike, Nigeria
  • Dr Rachel Masika, International consultant on gender, development and higher education
  • Dr Zibah Nwako, University of Bristol

For further information, please email Charlotte Morris: charlotte.morris@port.ac.uk.