oa The Constitution - Widowhood and the woman question in Nigeria: issues for policy and action

Volume 7, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1595-5753



While existing literature has documented broad dimensions of the issues affecting women in Nigeria, few writings exist on the issue of widowhood and its impacts on the life of women. Widowhood issues have tended to be marginalised and pushed to the fringes of contemporary women study. Against this background, this paper examines widowhood experience in Nigeria within the overarching context of women s marginal position in the society. Leaning on intersectionality as a theoretic device, the paper contends that the discriminatory treatment of widows in many Nigerian communities constitutes the apogee of womens continuing subordination and oppression in the society. The poor condition of widows is due to the intersection of gender roles and relations, patriarchal inheritance systems, socio-economic status and cultural norms regarding marriage. Traditional widowhood rites and their impacts upon the widow and their children as well as past and current efforts to mitigate them are examined. In conclusion, the paper made suggestions for policy and action on widowhood issues in Nigeria.

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