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Women's Role in Igbo Society

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on 10 September 2014

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Transcript of Women's Role in Igbo Society

until 1960un
Women's Role in Igbo Society
By: Nirmit, Eden, Amol, KayLea, and Charith
Pre-Colonial Society
Immediate Effects of
British Colonization
Post-Colonial / Modern Era

Brennan, Vicki. "Women & Religion in Africa." Women Religion in Africa. University of Vermont, 31 Mar. 2013. Web. 05 Sept. 2014.

"Gender Roles in the Igbo Society." ZaraPannu. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2014.

"Igbo Women Campaign for Rights (The Women's War) in Nigeria, 1929."Global Nonviolent Action Database. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2014.

Nd'Igbo, Sylvia. "Igbo Women And Social Status." IGBO - Culture, Traditions, History. N.p., 12 Apr. 2011. Web. 08 Sept. 2014.

Rojas, Maria. "Women in Pre-Colonial Nigeria." Women in Pre-Colonial Nigeria. N.p., 1990. Web. 05 Sept. 2014.

Schwimmer, Brian. "Igbo Descent Organization - Women's Participation." Women in Igbo Lineages. University of Manitoba,
Apr.2002. Web. 06 Sept. 2014.

"Women, Colonization and Cultural Change in “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe." Article Myriad. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Aug. 2014.

"Women & Religion in Africa." Women Religion in Africa. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2014.

The Igbo had a relaxed gender equality system. Women were restricted in a few respects, but they were respected and given many roles vital to the success of society.

This society highly respected older and married women. Women who were older commanded the respect of everyone in the village-- even the males.

Unmarried women weren't highly respected because they weren't producing children who would help with agricultural labor.

The Igbo had a strong agrarian society, and the success of crops was instrumental in establishing power in the community.

Men and women were assigned different crops to harvest. Women grew mainly food crops such as taro (a type of corn), rice and vegetables, which didn't give substantial returns. Men grew mainly cash crops.

Women were also in charge of trade activity and foreign exchanges. With trade success came greater amounts of respect for women from tribe leaders.

Gender in society was different than sex. Because of this, many women were regarded as "masculine women." They possessed vital qualities that made them as powerful as men.

Before the influence of the strict European colonization, women were well-respected and given power in society.

After the recovery from colonial powers, the Igbo established a society that differed from both their traditional and colonial ways. Now, women are central to the Igbo political system. They are respected and granted many roles in politics.
Igbo women are no longer prevalently housewives.

The Igbo have produced many well-educated woman lawyers, professors, engineers, and CEOs. Educated Igbo women often earn more than their husbands.
Igbo women feel immense social pressure to marry.

Women's marriages are mainly unemotional, and there is a lack of companionship by their spouse.

Women are not allowed to inherit property from their fathers.
Igbo mothers are primarily responsible for teaching and passing on the Igbo culture to the next generation.
Globalization is continuing to redefine Igbo gender relations.
When British colonists gained control over Nigeria, they decided to rule indirectly through representatives. They were called Warrant Chiefs.

The Warrant Chiefs were in charge of enforcing colonial law, and they were harsh on the rights of women.

Women were denied rights that they were accustomed to, like the right to sell their goods, keep animals, and refuse an offer of marriage.

Their husbands were also empowered by the male-focused society and they considered themselves above women.

Not only did the political and trade positions for women vanish completely, the agricultural positions for women also declined.
After the British took over, the previously well-defined “male” and “female” crops were muddled.
Women were often responsible for taking care of most of the crops while the men received most of the credit.
Lack of complete gender equality.

Igbo women are not docile but see themselves as important parts of the family.
Marriage and bearing children were very important in society and highly expected of women.

Women assisted men in planting and harvesting certain crops.
Taro, a crop grown by Igbo women
Marriage and acceptance into the home of a spouse was very important to Igbo women.

This traditonal Igbo pottery is shown to represent the women's trade occupation.
This is a pictorial representation of the British arrival in Nigeria in the 1800s.
Historical Event: The Women’s War November-December 1929
Igbo women in Nigeria protested British rule and demanded the impeachment of political leaders. The British did not attribute the protests to the fact that women were being mistreated, and they thought the women were chaotic savages. However, due to their persistent protesting, many Warrant Chiefs stepped down. The British established a new political system. To govern contention, villagers handpicked a group of judges. The Women’s War was also important to the Igbo because it created a sense that the Igbo held enough power to safeguard the rights of their people.
Modern Igbo women in traditional clothing
Thank you for your time.

Igbo women in traditional dress.
Women maintained a degree of independence from men.

Women also contributed economically to the family through trading and harvesting certain crops.
Igbo women are exposed to cultures other than their own.

Modernization is also affecting gender roles within the Igbo.
Pre- and Post-
Pre-Colonial and Immediate Effects
Immediate Effects and Post- Colonial
Pre-Colonial, Post-Colonial, and Immediate Effects
until 1800
Full transcript