Culture and the right of the rural woman in Nigeria: an overview,
Generally in Africa, culture exerts enormous influence on the way of life of the people. In traditional societies, it is a determinant factor in role assignment, career choice and social relationship; though its impact on gender rights varies among societies. This paper examined some of the cultural specificities that affect the right of rural women in Nigeria. It argued that majority of women living in rural areas are uneducated and ignorant to challenge the cultural values that have placed restrictions on their rights. The women tolerate with bitterness, their exposure to social exclusion, deprivation and alienation by some cultural norms. Such lack of awareness on gender rights among rural women is attributable to the close attachment to cultural and religious beliefs, class disillusionment, poverty, illiteracy and male chauvinism. Our paper concludes that cultural values have made gender reforms, women empowerment and the implementation of the affirmative action in favour of the rural woman difficult in Nigeria, and necessary reforms on cultural practices that are cruel and harmful to women and human dignity in general, is required. Initiation of legislative actions, media advocacy and social engineering in order to liberate the rural woman from cultural ostracism are also recommended.
Key Words: Gender rights, Culture, Male Chauvinism, Circumcision, Genital Mutilation