Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI)

A challenging context for women and persons with disability

Women: Women in northern Nigeria are some of the most marginalised in the world. Inadequate access to and control over economic assets, existing discriminatory business practices, and restrictions of free movement are just a few of the challenges limiting women’s economic participation in the region. Within Kano, Kaduna and Jigawa less than 8% of women (jointly) own land, whilst the mobile internet gap Nigeria-wide is almost 30% with only 2% of women in Jigawa ever having used the internet . On top of this female unpaid work and care roles for many, contribute to women’s severe time poverty.

Disability: Barriers to economic participation and discriminatory practices also extend to persons living with disabilities. In general persons with disabilities are less likely to attend school, have lower literacy rates than people living without disabilities, face higher rates of unemployment (63% compared to 21%) and face wide-spread discrimination.

Whilst Nigeria’s Disability Rights Act was signed into law in January 2019, implementation of the Act to enable a disability-inclusive socio-economic landscape is still a distant reality. With very little data available regarding persons with disability in the KKJ, the barriers to disability inclusion are all the greater.


LINKS believes there is a positive and essential role for women and persons with disabilities to play in the growth and prosperity of the KKJ. Our vision is to address barriers and systemic constraints; and to leverage opportunities for women and persons with disability’s economic participation. 

Therefore, we have a set ambitious targets to deliver on our GESI commitments

Our Approach

To achieve our targets, LINKS designs its interventions around four key principles:

Gender is not just another word for women.

We understand gender as the various socially constructed and -enforced roles played by different men, women, girls and boys in social, political and economic life, and the relationships between these. (Sex is the biological difference between females and males.)
Gender constructs are created, upheld, challenged, enforced and modified by men, women, girls and boys in society. Gender relations are therefore power relations in society, how different men and women are supposed or expected to behave and who controls, enforces, challenges and changes these.
Breaking with these norms and power relations can have serious consequences for the individual. Women who start taking greater control over their income can experience an increase in intimate partner violence, working in what are perceived traditionally male trades in Northern Nigeria (e.g. plumbing, satellite installation) women at times have received unwanted attention, by men and women and harassment and affect women’s standing in communities.

The complex relationship between work and violence against women and girls (VAWG)

The relationship between economic activity and VAWG in the home is complex. On the one hand, earning an income and owning assets have the potential to protect women and girls from violence in the home and in family relationships through increasing their negotiating power, self-worth and value in the eyes of men, giving them the means to support themselves to leave abusive relationships.
Yet, the evidence shows that this does not always happen. In fact, in some contexts economic activity can instead put women and girls at greater risk of violence, as they challenge social norms and appear to threaten men’s control and power.

For more detail see Taylor et al (2015)

Disability Inclusion

Persons with disabilities are “[…] those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.” (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD)

Disability = Impairment + Barriers

Links GESI approach


We will be working with these four principles in delivering Gender Equality and Social Inclusion this is the ‘’how to‘’ of LINKS’ approach to GESI.

COVID- 19 Response

Project implementation in these unprecedented times is challenging for all of us in Nigeria, but it presents new opportunities as well. As part of LINKS response to the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown, we have taken a number of initiatives