The Evolution of Women in Nigeria

1310 Words6 Pages
Throughout the centuries, the roles of Nigerian women have continuously evolved. During the pre- colonial era, women in Nigerian tribes were not only child bearers and wives, but also free adults. They played critical roles in food preparation, weaving, pottery, and the economy. However, the impact of British rule in Nigeria made a significant shift from the pre-colonial to the post- colonial era. The influence of the Catholic Church, Western style education, patriarchal government and modern ways of making money took a major toll in a woman’s role in society. As demonstrated in the history and literature of Nigeria, society can clearly witness the setbacks and growths of Nigerian women experienced. This literary paper’s purpose is to…show more content…
Once being financially independent, the indigenous Nigerian women no longer contributed to the family income by doing trade and were forced to be dependent of their husbands. In the terms of colonial European men, the dependency of men showed respect and increased their patriarchal power. In Purple Hibiscus, Papa Eugene is the product of colonialism. He grew up believing in the strong presence males and clearly demonstrates his alpha male character as head of the house. Mama Beatrice and her children is powerless and inferior to Papa. They are manipulated by Papa’s physical and mental abuse.
Colonial missionaries and colonizers worked together to convert the people in Nigeria. Missionaries condemned the culture of Nigeria that challenged the “civil” traditions of Catholicism. However, Nigerian women represented Nigerian culture. According to Women in Africa: Studies in Social and Economic Change, “the missionaries’ avowed purpose in education girls was to train them for [Catholic] marriage and motherhood, not for jobs for citizenship” (Hafkin 76). To be clear, a missionary was not against Nigerian women holding positions or partaking in politics, but their main goal was to produce Catholic wives and mothers. However, this did not stop the political suppression women suffered.
In 1914, British rule agreed to implement a new political system in Nigeria that would assign a Warrant Chief who was chosen by the British to represent their
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