Empowered Women

Nigerian Society, Education, and Empowerment

by Dolapo Adeniji-Neill (Author)
©2020 Monographs XII, 136 Pages


This book identifies and examine the changing roles of Nigerian women: in the family, educational attainment and society as experienced and expressed by a sample of educated, Nigerian women. Five of the participants were children caught in Biafran (Nigerian) war and their education was interrupted during the war. All struggle to gain education as girls and women growing up in Nigeria in families with sometimes limited resources. The book is based on the assumption that changes are taking place at all levels of Nigerian society, and that these changes are reflected in the way Nigerian women think and express views about themselves and their extended families. Nine Nigerian women resident in Egypt, were interviewed in depth using the 'topical life history' method to reveal their attitudes and perceptions concerning the woman's role in the family. In lengthy, free form, non-directive interviews, the participants recount their life histories from small children to the present day, and in this process comment and reveal their feelings about personal, family and social issues. Based on a literature review some eight hypotheses are identified and examined concerning these issues and the participants' views about them. The response data are grouped under the hypotheses and analyzed. Conclusions suggest changing role patterns of women as expressed by these women from lower- and middle-class families, concerning education male and female children, bearing progeny, polygamy, earning income to provide for the family, marriage, male domination and influences and pressures from the extended family.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Tables
  • Acknowledgments
  • 1 Women Hold Up Half the Sky
  • 2 In Their Own Voices: The Women’s Biographies
  • 3 Women Hold Up More Than Half the Sky—Apologies to Chairman Mao Zedong
  • 4 Analysis and Discussion: Progress towards Fulfilling Commitments
  • 5 The Time for Warm Words Is Over. The Time for Action Is Now. Women and Girls Deserve and Demand Their Rights
  • Glossary
  • References


Table 1 Hypothesis No. 1: Giving birth to male children enhances the woman’s position in the family and society.

Table 2 Hypothesis No. 2: Polygamy is endorsed by society, but some women object to this practice and take the position that it will destroy their marriage.

Table 3 Hypothesis No. 3: Families favor the male children when providing for education.

Table 4 Hypothesis No. 4: Most Nigerian women are expected to help bear the cost of providing for the family, and therefore, most are career-minded and seek a source of income.

Table 5 Hypothesis No. 5: Nigerian women view education as a liberating force, and will work hard and suffer hardship to educate themselves and their children.

Table 6 Hypothesis No. 6: Though they desire marriage in order to be culturally acceptable, many Nigerian women are skeptical of marriage and the fidelity of their husbands.

Table 7 Hypothesis No. 7: The roles and attitudes’ of Nigerian women are shaped and influenced by what they consider to be a male-dominated society.

Table 8 Hypothesis No. 8: The influences, responsibilities and pressures that result from the extended family affect the roles and attitudes of Nigerian women


I would like to give my sincere appreciation to my graduate assistants past and present for the successful completion of this book, especially, Shraddha Tomar, Niiakrofi Smartabbey and Jay Patel.

This work has benefitted from the works of many African and other world researchers. Any remaining errors and omissions are mine.

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Chapter One

Women Hold Up Half the Sky

Mao Zedong

We see the world as if we are looking into a mirror. All the actions and reactions of our minds and hearts reflected in its silvery surface, and life flows and ebbs onward and backward; if I could just touch today, I could touch life



XII, 136
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (December)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2020. XII, 136 pp., 3 b/w ill., 8 tables

Biographical notes

Dolapo Adeniji-Neill (Author)

Dolapo Adeniji-Neill earned her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii; her M.A. in liberal studies at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, and her M.A. in sociology and anthropology at The American University in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt. She is Associate Professor of Education and Chair of Ruth S. Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University, Garden City, New York.


Title: Empowered Women
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