Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Socio Development was created consequent upon the response to the United Nations agreement to establish Institutional Mechanism for the advancement of Women and Women matters. It is a product of efforts established through a decree in 1989 giving rise to the National Commission for Women. This, however, was the initiative of the wife of the then heads of state (Dr) Mrs. Maryam Babangida of blessed memory.

The Commission though as a Government Institution, its activities were ad hoc with no specific and adequate budgetary allocation. The Wife of the Head of State then dictated the pace of activities in the Commission with the creation of her Better Life Programme for Rural Women.

In 1995, the Commission for Women was upgraded to a full-fledged Ministry of Women Affairs and Socio Development, which meant that Nigeria has achieved one of the critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action.

The activities of the Ministry, again largely influenced by the dictates of the Wife of the Head of State at that time, Mrs. Maryam Sani Abacha who came up with her Pet Project, the Family Support and Economic Advancement Programme.

Indeed, like the Women Commission, resource allocation in the form of budgetary provision was very meagre, barely enough to pay the Salary of Staff.

Intervention by the First Lady’s Programmes were basically welfarist in nature, targeting women for their immediate needs without tackling the age-long problem of lack of integration of gender awareness and competence into mainstream development planning. This arrangement brought a lot of institutionally credibility gap, which negatively affected the Ministry in Many ways. For instance, when the Commission was upgraded to a Ministry status, it was not really at par with other Ministries and therefore lacing the requisite institutional identity and resource base. Other problems were lack of adequate budget allocations and a recognized technical cadre. The net effect of this credibility gap has been that the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development is not viewed as an equal Government outfit with other Ministries making its gender mainstreaming work even more difficult to pursue.

In line with Government’s repositioning and reform agenda for better service delivery in the country; the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development came up to a clearer vision and mission statements as follows:


"To help build a Nigerian Society that guarantees equal access to Social, Economic and health creation opportunities to all, irrespective of gender, places premium on protection of the child, the aged and persons with disabilities, focuses attention of key operators in both private and public sectors on mainstreaming the concerns of these groups of people in national development process".


"To serve as the national vehicle to bring about speedy and healthy development of Nigerian Women, Children, the Social disadvantaged and physically challenged, and the mainstreaming of their rights and privileges in national development process".