Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Gary L. Schnellert


The impetus for conducting this research is near and dear to my heart along with desiring to make a change for the better. In conducting interviews of Nigerian women's experiences, struggles and accessibility to secondary education, the research shows significant barriers to secondary education in their narrative experiences that their male counterparts do not experience. Specifically, the experiences of these selected Nigerian women who have shared their aspirations, goals and accomplishments through narrative form can be generalized to the women of Nigeria as a whole. The cultural background is an overwhelming obstacle which, although seems to be slowly eroding, the women still must deal with imbued beliefs that "a woman's place is in the home" and therefore not entitled to access higher education. The Nigerian women, therefore, face various challenges in their endeavors to pursue higher education.

Qualitative research by means of interviews was used to generate details of the Nigerian women's struggles, determination and their resilience despite the overwhelming sacrifices that they made. The reason as to why only women were chosen is due to the fact that cultural, religious and societal mechanisms affect women in Nigeria to a much greater degree than men. Equal access and acceptance of that concept are integral in helping Nigerian women secure educational access for all Nigerian women in the future.

Quantitative research was obtained by using a survey instrument distributed to Nigerian women obtained their advanced degrees and others who are still pursuing their higher education. A total of approximately 300 surveys were distributed with 278 respondents for a response rate of 93%. The survey sought to examine Nigerian women's struggles as they pursue higher education, the challenges they face, the support they gain through these struggles, the issues they go through, and their needs, motivational factors, encouragement factors, the role of religion, the impact of obtaining a higher education, and the impact of shaping strategic government policies towards women's educational awareness, and empowerment of women both in the family and society at large.