Social Construction of Gender Roles and Women’s Poverty in African Societies: the Case of the Nigerian Woman
Taiwo Ajala

In Nigeria, societal perception of women as naturally unequal with men gave rise to arbitrary social construction of gender roles between men and women, in which men come first in the scheme of things. Men dominate the economic sphere and political positions of decision making while the role for women is believed to be in the domestic front, consisting mainly of menial endeavours that do not yield economic and political empowerment. The result of gender discrimination is therefore the unequal distribution of wealth in favour of men, hence the prevalence of women’s poverty in Nigeria. The hypothesis of the study is that women’s poverty in Nigeria is caused by traditional beliefs, cultural norms and customary practices which underlie the social construction of discriminatory gender roles. The study adopted a qualitative research method informed by a social constructivist paradigm. The study confirmed the hypothesis that gender discrimination is not the root cause of women poverty in Nigeria but existing traditional beliefs, cultural and customary practices in Nigerian communities. Consequently, efforts towards addressing women’s poverty in Nigeria must be re-focused on eradicating existing traditional beliefs, cultural norms and customary practices which are responsible for gender discrimination and inequality in Nigeria.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v4n2a1