The “Journal of Educational and Social Research”, published by MCSER, is a
professional, double-blind, peer-reviewed, open-access journal publishing highquality scientific articles. The journal has a distinguished editorial board with
extensive academic qualifications, ensuringthat the journal will maintain high
scientific standards and have a broad international coverage. Articles related to all
branches of education are published The editorial board intends to publish papers
which cover applied and theoretical approaches to the study of education and its
related disciplines. The purpose of the journal is to serve as a forum for
researchers around the world to present and discuss common concerns in local,
national, global, international and transnational issues in social studies education.
The journal is an invaluable resource for teachers, counselors, supervisors,
administrators, curriculum planners, and educational researchers as they consider
the structure of tomorrow’s curricula. Special issues examine major education
issues in depth. Topics of recent themes include methodology, motivation, and
literacy. The Journal of Educational and Social Research publishes original
empirical and theoretical studies and analyses in education that constitute
significant contributions to the understanding and/or improvement of educational
processes and outcomes. The Journal focuses on significant political, cultural,
social, economic, and organizational issues in education, and explores the
processes and outcomes ofteaching, learning, and human development at all
educational levels and in both formal and informal setting. Although the JESR
does not publish validation studies, the editors welcome many varieties of
research–experiments, evaluations, ethnographies, narrative research, replications,
and so forth.JESR publish research that representing a wide range of academic
disciplines and using a wide range of research methods.
Nigeria has proceeded far beyond the “raising of awareness of gender equity” stage in many life aspects. In
the last 20 years literacy has increased in Nigeria substantially in general and among women in particular
(Eze, 2010; Jaulmes, 2007). Here is the list of the main institutions that have contributed to dealing with the
gender issue both in education and employment in Nigeria:
I. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (2004a, 2004b, 2007);
II. UNICEF: launch Girls’ Education Initiative in Nigeria (Jaulmes, 2007; UNICEF, 2008, 2011);
III. Nigerian Association of University Women (2009). A group of graduate women interested in
improving the mental, social, and physical lives of women and girls in Nigeria. Its main activity:
empowering women to excel in life;
IV. The Center for Development and population activities (2011);
V. Business and ProfessionalWomen – Nigeria (2011).
In addition, education and employment of women in Nigeria, as well as the women’s situation, are discussed
in many newspapers on a regular basis. For example: Eze’s (2010) article or the Afrique en linguearticle
(Education-Nigeria: Ensuring education for girls, women, 2011). More extensive, scientifically-based reports
have been published in journal articles about this issue. For example: Ukpore (2009) wrote about
“Sustainable development in Nigeria: Roles of women and strategies for their improvement”, and Ojobo
(2008) wrote about “Education: A catalyst for womenempowerment”. Let us cite Ojobo’s abstract, as it both
summarizes the problem of gender gaps in education in Nigeria and offers a way to solve it:
The article] examines the place of education as a catalyst for women empowerment in Nigeria. The
paper, using primary and secondary sources of data, has shown that in spite of all the laudable goals and
objectives of education, Nigerian women still suffer a lot of constraints and inhibitions which militate against
their personal and national development. The paper therefore recommends, among others, the involvement
of women in educational policy formulation, extensive enlightenment campaigns, the discarding of
stereotypical division of work intomen’s and women’s job, and women must organize themselves to meet the
challenges of a positive and meaningful role in the struggle for personal and national emancipation,
development and progress (ibid, p. 75).
Personal Versus National Need for High Quality Professionals in Science, Engineering and
A modern country needs as many students as possible specializing in math, science, and technology in order
to compete with the world economics, supply work places for the less educated or contribute to the national
economics by attracting foreign investments and increasing exported goods. This is one of the main reasons
for encouraging more women to be a part of the high-level professional work-force (Eidelman, 2006). This
obviously contributes to national strength; there is high positive correlation between participation of females
in the work force and the wealth of the country. Nigeria scores no. 32 in the world inits Purchasing Power
Parity (The World Factbook2010), which means it has a potential ofbecoming a rich country with a much
higher life quality for all its citizens when more women take part in developing its economics and turning its
natural treasures into financial advantages. At the same time, education and high prestige positions also
contribute to the well-being of females as individuals and as a group.
Women have proved themselves to be able to “make it” in all influential areas, even at the highest
possible levels, such as politics, business or science. It can thus be concluded that we are far beyond the
stage of proving that “it is possible”. The aim of each county must now be increase dramatically the
percentage of these women, a target that is to be achieved only by intensive intervention for the benefit of
large sub-populations of women who have not yet reached the point where theyadvance relying only on their
merit; they still need some external help. Let us describe some potential ways of helping the less privileged
One such group is underprivileged university students. This is the majority of the female population, who
neither take part in the educational opportunities offered nor participate in the upper level of the work market,
namely, in occupations that are neither manual nor clerical, and have but very limited progress opportunities;
women from the economic, ethnic, and geographical periphery.
One such intervention that has already proven to be of great help for underprivileged talented, ambitious
and diligent women is a mentoring program tailored especially for them.
Mentoring Programs: Background and Review
At the turn of the 21
century a substantial reform has occurred in the structure of higher education: learning
in academic institutions has become more accessible to larger sub-populations, as more academic and
communal colleges have opened their gatesto students from underprivileged backgrounds. Girls living in the
periphery, minority girls, girls from immigrant families, as well as girls fromtraditional families have mostly
benefited from this “educational revolution”.
However, for many high ability female college students the opportunity to get a higher degree does not
reflect their true potential. In manycases the teaching staff in the college is still young and inexperienced in
nurturing gifted, talented students, orconsists of retired university professors who teach part-time and
dedicate most of their resources toresearch. In addition, many of these excellent students,coming from a
traditional background, are not used to attracting special attention and care, especially from male instructors.
For such a student the mentoring option, especially by a female mentor, might be of great help both as a
part of the teaching and learning process and for helping design the student’s professional future.
Mentoring of each of the sub-groups of talented students has the potential to make a change, the result of
which is extending the educationalas well as the career limitsof underprivileged female students.
Mentoring programs have been developed in manyEU member countries during the 90s in the academia
as well as in the in industry. The European Commission has sponsored a “Mentoring for Women in Europe”
program, and there are already positive results inthree European countries – Germany, Finland, and
Sweden. The percentage of women leadership positions inthese countries has increased since the funding
of this project. The “Mellow – Life Long Mentoring Of Women in and/or towards technical jobs”, which is also
sponsored by the European Community, is a part of the “Leonardo-da-Vinci” program inthe Netherlands,
England, Ireland, and Germany. In addition, there are training programs inthe fields of engineering, which
take place in Greece, Spain and Finland. For schoolgirls summer camps have been offered, and for female
university students – special summer university courses.
Engineering associations, industrial companies, universities, the government and other organizations
have been giving constant support to the British project: “Women into science and engineering [WISE]”
(WISE, 2010). The WISE Annual Awards are given in recognition of companies and individuals who have
actively addressed the issue of promoting Science,Engineering and Construction to girls and young women.
Among the WISE awards are: The WISE Excellence Award; WISE Partnership Award; WISE Outreach
Award, and WISE Special Judges Award. Trish Goodchild, the winner of the 2010 WISE Outreach Award,
said that ‘The Outreach Award in particular is given to a University who has implemented and is determined
to sustain a set of successful outreach strategies to support and encourage more female students into STEM
subjects”. However, the success of this program has also to do with the fact that the effort to reach females
who are to be a part of this British program starts already in primary school (ibid). Indeed, it is much easier to
succeed when starting early, but it is never too late to start.
Coaching and mentoring women has been carried out in Switzerland both by Swiss universities and by
The Swiss Association for Women Engineers [SVIN] (SVIN, 2010). Here is the organization’s credo:
The Swiss Association of Women Engineers (SVIN) is a not-for-profit, professional organization for
individuals with an interest in engineering. The members of our national organization are engineers from
various branches and allied fields, corporations and persons interested in supporting the aims of SVIN.
SVIN is dedicated to the advancement of women in engineering fields, business,education and industry and
strives to motivate young women topursue a career in engineering.
In addition to the activities aimed at older females, the Swiss Associationof Women Engineershas
initiated the “KIDSInfo” setup for children, focusing on young girls (KIDSInfo, 2010). Its latest activity has
been the 2nd festival for children “Hérisson sous gazon”, on June 19, 2010, at Charrat, Valais. Girls
participating in the festivalhad an opportunity to experience “everyday electricity”, such as building electrical
circles, understanding how everyday tools work, and most importantly – breaking the male stereotype of dealing with machines and instruments and fixing them when necessary. Mentoring programs have been
taking place in industrial institutions throughout Europe. For example:Telekom has established a mentoring
program of its own. Activities like “A girls’ technology day” have been organized inmany industrial research
centers in England, Germany, Austria, Finland, and Sweden.
How Can a Mentoring Program Help?
Mentoring as means of under-represented populations to gain participation in the main-stream education
system and reach higher levels of employment has been known for many decades. A mentor for
underprivileged female college students has many tasks, educational, psychological, and social. Here are the
I. Identifying the high abilities of the mentees at the earliest possible educational stage and making
plans for their fulfillment. Let us start with an [is “example” the word that’s missing here?]. If the mentor
discovers that her mentee has a special gift for languages, she should encourage her to develop this gift in
order to acquire proficiency in a few languages before getting the degree. This will enable the student to
continue her studies in one ofthe linguistics departments, in an MA translators track or in a literature
department where her languages knowledge will be considered an asset. It will also give her more
possibilities in the market place, allowing her to choose to become a literary, technical or legal translator, or
perhaps to prefer simultaneous translation. In any case – being proficient in a few languages will increase
both her opportunities and her potential salary.
II. Raising the awareness of the students of their real educational and professional situation.many
underprivileged young women do not even know that there are huge differences between university and
college education, that an academic degree does not necessarily mean getting a job where education will be
taken into consideration that mostfirst degrees are not professional degrees and that different higher
education institutions are valued differently with regard to their quality. The first task of the mentor working
with a BA college student or with a female university student whose expectations do not go far beyond
getting a degree in a non-scientific subject should be helping her to know these simple facts. The mentor
should be very clear in explaining that a first degree froma second rate college is usually sufficient just for
clerical, administrative jobs, while a good university could serve as an “open ticket” for a better education and
a wealthier future.
III. Being role-models for the students.Role-models must not necessarilybe of the same gender, ethnic
group or religion, but it is preferred that they be similar in as many components as possible to their mentees.
For example: a female older woman from a traditional background who is a wife and a mother, in addition to
being a successful academic, can be a living example to a young woman from a traditional family, where the
main task of women is perceived as raising a family.
IV. When possible, meeting the student’s family member who might hinder her aspirations in order to
“soften” their objection gradually.It is highly recommended, especially for students from a rural
background, that the femalementor visit the mentee’s parents. In that case the resistance to leaving home,
acquiring a high-prestige family, orthe delaying of marriage, which usually accompany higher education,
might lessen, making the student’s life easier.
A Practical Issue: Cost and Benefits of a Mentoring Program
In many existing mentoring programs, aimed to raise the participation of girls and young women in math,
science and technology, the mentors have volunteered to their task without any payment (CyberMentor,
2009; MentorING, 2008; Mentoring an derTUM, n.d.; Schneiderdorfer et al., 2003). In all these programs the
mentees contribute to the mentors as they are all good students willing to participate in science and
engineering studies at the earliest possible stage. Thus the cost of the mentoring program will be minimal. A