Igbo Culture Gender roles


The Igbo are the second largest group of people living in southern Nigeria. This group is made up of many socially and culturally diverse subgroups that all speak one language.

European contact with the Igbo began with the arrival of the Portuguese in the mid-fifteenth century. At first the Europeans confined themselves to slave trade on the Niger Coast. At this point, the main item of commerce provided by the Igbo was slaves, many of whom were sent to the New World. After the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, British companies pushed beyond the coastal areas and aggressively pursued control of the interior. The Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, created in 1900, included Igboland. Until 1960, Nigeria remained a British colony, and the Igbo were British subjects. On October 1, 1960, Nigeria became an independent nation structured as a federation of states.

Pre-Colonial Women

Women’s Duties:

  • Give birth to sons
  • Younger wives helped older wives
  • Participated in economic activities
  • Provided material resources for her family
  • Not permitted inside husband’s hut
  • cared for the children

Other Info:

  • Gained power by marrying into ruling families
  • Viewed as inferior to men

Post-Colonial Women

Women's Duties

  • Younger wives take care of the older wives
  • Young wives take household and financial responsibility
  • Older wives carry less responsibility as they get older

Other Info

  • Women today still resent the lack of control they have
  • They are free to take in more jobs throughout the society

Pre-Colonial Men

Men's Duties:

  • Only men can earn up to four titles
  • Holds majority of the familial, political, and social power
  • Usually get their own obi
  • Split the firewood, pounded the yam, and climbed the palm trees

Other information:

  • Were allowed to beat their wife without any consequences unless it is severe
  • Men only harvest the king yams and tap wine from the palm trees

Post-Colonial Men

Men's Duties:

  • Leaders in many social events such as religious ceremonies
  • Distinguished into specific social groups to work and succeed based off their finances, respect as a warrior, and awards they have received(titles)
  • Titles are comparable to awards of recognnition
  • Men became less dominant, women had more rights
  • Split Firewood
  • Pounded the yam foofoo
  • Climbed palm trees
  • Planted king yams

Work Citied

"Igbo." Igbo - Introduction, Location, Language, Folklore, Religion, Major Holidays, Rites of Passage. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

Terry, Mia. "Gender Roles in Igbo Culture Before & After Colonization." Prezi.com. N.p., 26 Feb. 2015. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

"Gender Roles - Things Fall Apart P3." Google Sites. N.p.,n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2017.

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