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LANGUAGE, POWER AND SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF WOMEN IN OGBUNIKE SPEECH COMMUNITY

CHAPTER ONE 

INTRODUCTION 

1.1 Background of the Study
 The debate is no longer on whether or not African women are oppressed nor is it on whether or not there is gender imbalance in the African cultural milieu. According to Balogun (2010), “there is a consensus on the pervasiveness of these problems in Africa. However, female autonomy, solidarity and empowerment currently occupy special place in gender and development discourse in Africa”. The cry of feminists in Africa today, for the most part, concerns how the crises of women empowerment can be resolved, since there is the strong conviction that the resolution of the problem will lead to a form of development in the society (Balogun 2006, 118). Uchem (2001:14) cites Snyder (1995) who observes that “there is now a widespread agreement about the fact that women are all but excluded from access to and control over national and international resources and about the harm to human well-being that result”. She further observes that a critical look at the real situation globally portends a pervasive and persistent discrimination against women. For many African writers like Flora Nwapa and Buchi Emecheta, ideologies on the marginalization of women and the inequality in the distribution of power and national resources need to be reconsidered by African women. A few African scholars argue that women are not altogether crushed under the weight of male power. However, the opposite is the case as gender inequality stares us in the face and bestrides the social and cultural terrain with impunity (Onyejekwe 2001, 126). The role of culture in shaping people’s perception and attitude towards the world around them should not be overlooked (Dolphene, 1991). Uchem (2001:15), in the following statement suggests that discrimination against women is sometimes institutionalized by cultures that permit them: Discrimination is evident ‘from birth’ when girls are less valued than boys; ‘within the family’, when girls are taught the inferior and stereotyped roles considered more appropriate for girls and women; Discrimination against girls and women is so profoundly entrenched in the home and workplace, … that its elimination will require the transformation of the societal structures that tolerate it. In Igbo culture and in most African cultures, the socio-economic roles of men and women are clearly defined. The man, for instance, is the traditionally accepted head and mouth- piece of the family. The woman, on the other hand, plays a supporting role since she was originally created as “helper” to man. No matter the level of education and sophistication of a woman, her behavior with regard to her daily routine of life is guided mainly by the standards and principles traditionally laid down by the ancestors and passed on through the generations. Uchem (2001) observes that leadership roles in most Igbo families are determined not by personal endowment but by sex, always favouring the men; such that despite global changes and socio economic transformations women are still restricted to and also expected to perform complementary roles such as cooking, and serving during social or family events. Some roles are seen bequeathed to the men by certain cultural practices especially in communicative or speech events. In Igbo culture for example, kola nut breaking is a highly ritualized affair and is considered men’s function (Onyejekwe 2001). The practice however, varies from one part of Igbo land to another. Women do not perform the kola nut breaking which is full of oration spiced with proverbs. They can be seen in such communicative events but not heard. Umeodinka (2010) asserts that in kola nut breaking speech event, the kola nut is not presented to the women neither are they allowed talking to the kola nut. He further notes that “customarily, in a gathering of women, they normally seek out any man, even if he is a child, to break the kola nut for them” (Umeodinka, 2010:10). Women do not participate in masking practices and they also do not climb palm trees. As Chukwuma (2000) puts it, “the woman is a completer, the finer essence of man, who gives the much needed wholeness, contentment and self-actualization to man”. However, the man needs the woman for his completeness just as the woman needs the man.

Project detailsContents
 
Number of Pages69 pages
Chapter one Introduction
Chapter two Literature review
Chapter three  methodology
Chapter  four  Data analysis
Chapter  five Summary,discussion & recommendations
ReferenceReference
QuestionnaireQuestionnaire
AppendixAppendix
Chapter summary1 to 5 chapters
Available documentPDF and MS-word format


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