Main Article Content
Cultural aphorisms tend to sustain gender disparity. There are certain cultural expressions which tend to sustain gender disparity and oppression among the Igbo of Nigeria. One of such is di bụ ugwu nwanyị, literally translated ‘husband is a woman’s dignity’. This Igbo maxim tends to foster gendered marginalization and oppression in contemporary Igboland. The saying reinforces the status of the husband as requisite for the visibility and pride of the woman. Perhaps this may explain why some marital issues such as husband infidelity, wife-battering, are culturally underplayed for protection of the man. Thus women are forced to endure abuses in their marriages. There exist a plethora of other gender related issues that are rooted in the di bụ ugwu nwanyị metaphor. This paper engages the implications of this Igbo cultural expression amidst the advocacy of gender justice and inclusivity in Igbo land. As qualitative study that adopts the phenomenological approach, this paper, draws insight from interviews, observations, oral histories and extant Igbo literature. Akachi Ezeigbo’s snail-sense feminism and Obioma Nnaemeka’s negofeminism undergird the theoretical framework. The paper advocates for the obliteration, or reinterpretation of di bụ ugwu nwanyị that honours dignity for gender equity and inclusivity so as to valorize the status of women in Igboland.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Journal of Gender and Power is an Open Access Journal. Copyright of the article published in the Journal of Gender and Power is retained by the authors with first publication rights granted to the Adam Mickiewicz University Press.
- ACHEBE, C. (1958) Things Fall Apart. Britain: Heinemann.
- ACHEBE, C. (1987) Anthills of the Savannah. Britain: Heinemann.
- AGBASIERE, J. T. (2000) Women in Igbo Life and Thought. London: Routledge.
- ALKALI, M., TALIF, R. & JAN, J. M. (2013) Violence and sexual harassment in Nigerian novels: The nego-feminist option. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences. 3 (9). Pp. 10–14. [Online] Available from: http:www.iiste.org. [Accessed: 14 March 2020].
- AMADIUME, I. (1987) Male Daughters, Female Husbands. London: Zed Books Ltd.
- CHINWEIZU. (1990) Anatomy of Female Power: A Masculinist Dissection of Matriarchy. Lagos, Nigeria: Pero Press.
- CHUKWUMA, H. (2012) Love and motherhood in Chinua Achebe’s novels. In: Chukwuma, H. (ed.). Achebe’s Women: Imagism and Power. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press. Pp. 89–100.
- DECOCK, P. B. (2013) Between the whore and the bride: Apocalypse 17–22: Listening to feminist readings. In: Bere, P., Nwachukwu, M. S. & Umoren, A. I. (eds.) Women in the Bible: Point of vue of African Biblical Scholars. Abidjan: Panafrican Association of Catholic Exegetes. Pp. 373–399.
- DIALA-OGAMBA, B. (2012) Portrayal of womanhood in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and The Joys of Motherhood. In: Chukwuma, H. (ed.) Achebe’s Women: Imagism and Power. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press. Pp. 309–322.
- EMECHETA, B. (1979) The Joys of Motherhood. London: Allison and Busby.
- EZEIGBO, A. A. (2012) Snail-sense feminism: Building on an indigenous model. University of Lagos Monograph Series 17. Lagos: Faculty of Arts.
- EZENWEKE, E. O. (2015) Our grandmothers, excluded from history, preservers and transmitters of indigenous values: Eco-maternalistic approach. International Journal of Religion and Human Relations. 7 (1). Pp. 183–196.
- HEISE, F. (2018) The politics of neoliberal postfeminist bridal culture. In: Olson, G., Hartley, D., Horn-Schott, M. & Schmidt, L. (eds.) Beyond Gender: An Aadvanced Introduction to Futures of Feminist and Sexuality Studies. London and New York: Routledge. Pp. 197–216
- IKE, S. O. (2017) Stimulating the change, women in politics of power in Nigerian theatre: A study of Tess Onwueme’s Parables for a Season and the Reign of Wazobia. The Creative Artist: A Journal of Theatre and Media Studies. 13 (2). Pp. 204–219.
- MBONU, C. N. (2010) Handmaid: The Power of Names in Theology and Society. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock.
- MBONU, C. N. (2013) Nwanyi isi nkpe (the widow) in the Igbo world: A Biblical perspective. Igbo Studies Review. (1). Pp. 95–104.
- NGCOBO, L. (2013) African motherhood: Myth and reality. In: Olaniyan, T. & Quayson, A. (eds.) African Literature: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory. Australia: Blackwell Publishing. Pp. 533–541.
- NNAEMEKA, O. (2005) Negofeminism; Theorising, practicing and pruning Africa’s way. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 29 (2). Pp. 357–385.
- NWAPA, F. (1966) Efuru. London: William Heinmann.
- ODUYOYE, M. A. (2001) Women and ritual in Africa. In: Oduyoye, M. A. & Kanyoro, M. R. A. (eds.) The Will to Arise: Women, Tradition and the Church in Africa. New York: Orbis Books. Pp. 9–24.
- ODUYOYE, M. A. (2002) Daughters of Anowa. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books.
- OGBUJAH, C. & ONUOHA, J. (2014) Wives or daughters: Insights into the plights of women in Nigeria. Journal of Gender Studies. 6 (1). Pp. 46–58.
- OKAFOR, C. (2012) Womanhood in Igbo cosmology: Intersections with Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. In: Chukwuma, H. (ed.). Achebe’s Women: Imagism and Power. Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press. Pp. 3–24.
- OKOYE, C. L. (2017) Gender and power relations in the language of Sino-African proverbs: A critical discourse analysis. The Creative Artist: A Journal of Theatre and Media Studies. 13 (2). Pp. 349–363.
- OKURE, T. (2013) Unmasking Ephesians 5:22–33: An arch kyriarchal culture in Christological garb. In: Bere, P. Nwachukwu, M. S. & Umoren, A. I. (eds.) Women in the Bible: Point of vue of African Biblical Scholars. Abidjan: Panafrican Association of Catholic Exegetes. Pp. 351–371.
- OLUREMI, T. A. (2017) Forceful woman inheritance and girl-child marriage: A stylistic analysis of Ahmed Yerima’s Aetu. Ikogho: A Multi-Disciplinary Journal. 17 (2). Pp. 45–61.
- QUAYSON, A. (2013) Feminism, postcolonialism and the contradictory orders of modernity. In: Olaniyan, T. & Quayson, A. (eds.) African Literature: An Anthology of Criticism and Theory. Australia: Blackwell Publishing. Pp. 585–591.
- SCHNABEL, L. (2019) Religion and gender equality worldwide: A country-level analysis. In: Mirola, W. A., Emerson, M. O. & Monahan, S. C. (eds.) Sociology of Religion: A Reader, 3rd edition. New York & London: Routledge. Pp. 342–348.
- SHAKA, F. O & UCHENDU, O. N. (2012) Gender representation in Nollywood film culture. Kiabara: Journal of Humanities. 18 (1). Pp. 1–25.
- SMITH, B. G. (2019) Women’s Studies: The Basics, 2nd edition. London and New York: Routledge.
- UDUMUKWU, O. (2007) Signature of Women. Owerri: Onii Publishing House.
- UWANDU, E. S. (4 March 2018) Nigerian feminism as alternative voice in feminist discourse. Guardian Arts. [Online] Available from: https://m.guardian.ng/art/nigerian-feminism-as-alternative-voice-in-feminist-discourse/ [Accessed: 14 March 2020].