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PATRIARCHY AND GENDER INEQUALITY IN NIGERIA: THE WAY FORWARD
In Nigeria, it is observed that the womanhood is reduced to a mere infidel and a second-class citizen, hence, there is the commonality of general belief system that the best place for women is in the ‘Kitchen’. This trend has brought about tremendous misrepresentation of women right at the level of the family down to the circular society. The Nigerian society is patriarchal in nature which is a major feature of a traditional society. It is a structure of a set of social relations with material base which enables men to dominate women. Women are therefore discriminated upon from, in most cases, acquiring formal education, mistreated and perpetually kept as househelp; the average Nigerian woman is seen as an available object for prostitution, forced marriage, street hawking, instrument of wide-range trafficking and a misfit in the society. Thus, the purported irrelevance associated with the status of women in society has merely reduced an average woman to an inferior commodity. This paper attempts to examine the conceptual and material bases of patriarchy and gender inequality in Nigeria, identifies dimensions of gender inequality and discrimination, and discuss socio-cultural and political factors leading to discrimination. For a better understanding of this work, a historical approach will be employed. This paper therefore argues that if the concept of democracy allows for diversity of opinion and participation of different groups, then, the same cannot subsist by excluding women, which effectively constitutes half of the world’s population. The paper submits that all forms of inhuman discrimination and gender inequality must be challenged and opines for a deliberate, sensitive, consistent and systematic approach of gender relations this should include gender mainstreaming in all aspects of life.
Keywords: Patriarchy, Gender, Gender Relations, Inequality