Patriarchy is a system of social stratification, which provides material advantages to males while placing severe constraints females. Nigerian women, living in a broadly patriarchal society, often inhabit contradictory lives, playing many vital roles, whilst participation in formal structures of society is limited. The Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives are made up of 7.3% and 3.9% female members respectively. Women lack adequate representation, access to education, money and resources and are confined to domestic activities. The female Adult Literacy Rate for the country is 59.4%, against the male rate of 74.4%.
Various studies have explored the interconnectivity between education, employment, land ownership, prosperity, female empowerment and the economic standing of Nigerian women. It is these social, economic and educational factors of patriarchy that organisations and grassroots movements in Nigeria hope to address. Though issues vary across Nigeria’s diverse geographical and ethnic landscape, a key factor remains on the agenda of female empowerment and feminist thought; change must be led and owned by Nigerian women.
How can women in Nigeria affect systemic change to ensure equality? Has the consideration of gender in development made roads towards dismantling patriarchy? Will new platforms for Africa’s feminist thinking add fuel to the fire of gender equality in Nigeria? Join our expert panel for a discussion of patriarchal inequality in Nigeria and the hopes, approaches and challenges of the movement to empower women across the country.
Image Credit: Christopher Congdon