Role of Women in Developing Culture in Nigeria Essay

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In spite of Nigerian society's patriarchal nature, the nation's females are actively involved, and have central roles to play, in cultural developmental activities. The main occupations women are employed in are farming, mat making and small trading, with only some employed at schools and in offices. The chief responsibilities of women lie in the areas of childbearing and raising, societal transformation, production, and community management. Reproducing, bringing children up and assuming domestic responsibilities are regarded as natural tasks for females. Even in instances where the patriarch is negligent, the wife in a Nigerian household will continue bearing child-raising responsibilities as they feel this is both their natural and cultural obligation (Chigbu, 2015).

Nigerian females of the period before colonialism played a role in kin group sustenance. Subsistence level economy was maintained in the nation before the colonialists invaded the region, and females effectively took part in economic activities. Besides assuming domestic responsibilities and taking care of children, women were significantly involved in services and goods manufacture and distribution. Farmers and their wives worked shoulder to shoulder in food production. South-Eastern Nigerian women were also known to engage in palm kernel and palm oil production. Furthermore, they undertook local as well as long-distance trading to different areas of the country and also participated actively in foodstuff and associated commodities' procurement and trade (Attoe, 2002).

Pre-colonial Nigerian females were seen to participate fully in the area of food processing, such as fish drying (particularly in coastal Niger Delta, Calabar, and Oron), garri processing and so on. The Eastern Nigerian women of Uburu, Yala, and Okposi actively engaged in producing salt. They also took keen interest in the area of pottery making, particularly in the region that now constitutes the State of Abia. Northern Nigerian conservative females also took part in trading and food processing activities, assisted by their children.

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In many households, these women's earnings supported the whole family (i.e., they were the chief breadwinners of the family) (Attoe, 2002).

Moreover, before colonization, the women of Nigeria also extensively delivered spiritual and healthcare services. A majority of ancient religions depicted females as immortal goddesses -- Nigerian goddesses were depicted as earth goddesses, river goddesses, and goddesses of fertility. The Niger Delta's women were in charge of the songs, dances and music that were a part of religious activities and festivals (Attoe, 2002).

Yet another area wherein women of pre-colonial Nigeria had a central part to play was politics. This was an age wherein division of labor and the African societal system were in place. Nigerian women as women chiefs took part in governance and politics; they also achieved this by means of age grades and first daughter authority. Colonialism, however, suppressed and destroyed these age-old local institutions, replacing them with the 'alien' institutions of formal education, religion, etc. Women of most ethnic communities in the nation, especially the Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa, featured prominently in local and national politics, holding key positions. The women of the country have "broken even," and are currently a strong party in Nigeria's developmental processes (OGUNJEMILUA & FAMILUGBA, 2016).

The nation's second republic (between 1979 and 1983) saw its first woman senator -- France Afegbua. An improvement was observed in its fourth republic (between 1999 and 2004), with 3 female Senators and 15 female House of Representatives members. This republic proved to be an age of Nigerian women empowerment, with women participating more extensively than ever before in the contemporary….....

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Attoe, E. (2002). Women in the development of Nigeria since pre-colonial times. Retrieved October 24, 2016, from

Chigbu, U. E. (2015). Repositioning culture for development: women and development in a Nigerian rural community. Community, Work & Family,18(3), 334-350

Nigerian women in development. (2002). Retrieved October 24, 2016, from

OGUNJEMILUA, A., & FAMILUGBA, J. (2016). The Contributions of Nigeria Women Towards National Development. International Journal for Innovation Education and Research, 3(5).

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