Gender Issues In Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo’s Trafficked And Zaynab Alkali’s The Virtuous Woman
1.1 Background of the Study
Gender is a concept used in social sciences analysis to look at roles and activities of men and women. The focus of gender issues is not on biological differences between men and women but rather on their experiences as member of the society. A common assumption is that gender issues is the issue affecting women, it focuses mainly on the relationship between men and women to the social, political and economic structure of the society. Gender is also the wide set of characteristic that are seen to distinguish between male and female entities, extending from one’s biological sex to other in humans, one’s social role or gender identity. Also gender revealed, when relationships between men and women their roles, privileges, statuses and positions are identified and analyzed.
Therefore, gender issues is like a too in understanding and for learning more about the activities of men and women in society and the problems and opportunities that each face in doing those activities. This position of male dominated society is supported by femiojo-Ade (1998) when he established that:
African Literature is a male created, male oriented chauvinistic art. Nigeria is regarded as male and this is a fact that thrust in myriad ways at the Nigerian women.
Another fact that Literature is phallic, dominated as it were by male writers, publishers, critics, and so on who deal almost exclusively with male characters and male concerns naturally aimed at a predominant male audience. The African women realized that the prejudice, discrimination and male chauvinism contribute greatly to the problem of women oppression in the society. Therefore, women take interest in the life style and activities of the society so that they will be recognized. Kaplan (1995) who distinguished three strategies adopted by female thinkers, says;
Women are basically different from men and can be advanced their own (superior) capacity by radically separatively from the dominant culture.
According to kate Bornstein, gender can have ambiguity and fluidity, there are two contrasting ideas regarding the definition of gender and the intersection of both of them is defined as below:
The World Health Organization defines gender as the result of socially constructed ideas about the behavior, actions, and roles a particular sex performs. The beliefs, values and attitude take up and exhibited by them is the agreeable norms of the society and the personal opinion of the person which is not taken into the primary consideration of assignment of gender and imposition of gender roles as per the assigned gender. Intersections and crossing of the prescribed boundaries have no place in the arena of the social construct of the term “gender”. The assignment of gender involves taking into account the physiological and biological attributes assigned by nature followed by the imposition of the socially constructed conduct. The social labels of being classified into one or the other sex is obligatory to the medical stamp on the birth certificate. The cultural traits typically coupled to a particular sex finalize the assignment of gender and the biological differences which play a role in classifying either sex which is interchangeable with the definition of gender within the social context.
In this context, the socially constructed rules are at cross road with the assignment of a particular gender to a person. Gender ambiguity deals with having the freedom to choose, manipulate and create a personal niche within any defined socially constructed code of conduct which gender fluidity is outlawing all the rules of cultural gender assignment. It does not accept the prevalence of two rigidly defined genders “Female and Male” and believes in freedom to choose any kind of gender with no rules, no defined boundaries and no fulfilling of expectations associated with any particular gender.
In addition, according to kwazulu (2001); gender issues are revealed when the relationship between women and men, their roles, privileges, status and positions, are identified and analyzed. These issues arise where inequalities are shown to exist between people purely on the basis of their being female or male. It also refers to the social roles allocated respectively to women and men in particular societies and at a particular time such roles and the differences between them are conditioned by a variety of political, economical, ideological and cultural factors, and are characterized in most societies by unequal power relations. Gender is distinguished from sex, which is biological determined.
Butter (1990) says there is slight different between gender and sex, though some people interchange it, he says.
Gender is not something we are born with and not something we have born as a male or female to perform, while sex means either male or female.
In other worlds, gendered performances are available to everyone but with them come constraints on who can perform which personae with impunity and this is when gender and sex come together not that they are the same.
Further more Mary Ebun M. (1998) defined gender as the biological role of given sexuality to male and female. In some African societies, gender transcends the boundaries of sexuality.
In conclusion, gender does not simply unfold from the individual biology as said earlier in this chapter but from an individual predisposition to be a particular kind of person. It is not even an individual property. Gender is a social arrangement of individuals been assigned to certain roles order as male or female.
1.2 Purpose of Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the reason for women oppression and discrimination in our society and thus encourage the liberation of all women. This study will be subjected to Akachi and Alkali’s Ideology on gender issues that is enhancement of gender education especially women and women empowerment in the society.
1.3 Justification of Study
It is quite obvious that the society is being biased; women were relegated to ground while men gained upper hands in the society. The issue of gender biased and discrimination were rampant in our society to the extent that the role of women in the society were jeopardized, this is what prompt the researcher to research in to the issue, so that women can be empowered and gained their full liberation so that the society will be an equitable one and our society and economic nature of the society will be developed. The researcher emulated the idea of Akachi and Alkali in the study because both authors see society as patriarchal.
1.4 Scope of Study
This study will be limited on the social injustice done to women in our society and how women can be empowered through education and other means. So that society will be turned into an equitable one.
Feminist perspectives or theories vary just as there are different analysis by feminists about causes of gender problem. However, it must be stated categorically here that the most frequently cited feminism perspectives or theories are the liberal Marxism and radical feminism. The approach adopted in this research is Marxism or feminism theory. Which concord will the ideology that men were treating women unjustly i.e the women are being exploited by men and which is the genesis of women’s problem being relegated in the society. The works of two feminist writers Akachi Adimora’s Trafficked and Zaynab Alkali’s The Virtuous Woman will be used as our data.
1.6 Structure of the Thesis
The thesis will have five chapters. Chapter one is the introduction which contain the background of the study, purpose of study, Justification, scope and Research methodology. Chapter two: Literature review is the review of other works relevant to gender issues, also the portraiture of the female chanters in male authored text and finally patriarchal and the society will be discussed. Chapter three shall be the analysis of Alkali’s the virtuous women while chapter four shall be the analysis of Akachi’s Trafficked, the social injustice done to women, A feminine perspective of Akachi Adimoraezeigbo finally, chapter five will be summary and confusion part of the thesis. Then the Bibliography
5.1 Summary and Conclusion
This essay comprise of five chapters. Chapter one is the general introduction on gender. Then it shows the purpose, justification scope, researcher methodology and structure of the thesis, chapter two is the literature review where the selected authors other works were reviewed and supremacy of man to woman, then the portraiture of female character by male authors were discussed. Chapter three contains the analysis of Zaynab Alkali The virtuous woman, and chapter four deals with the analysis of Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo‘s Trafficked While chapter five is the Summary and the conclusion part of the thesis.
This essay achieved its aim in able to verified the reason for women oppression and female subordination in Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo’s Trafficked and Zaynab Alkali’s The virtuous Woman. The authors are so vociferous in condemning the dichotomy in the worlds of men and women and the society that created them. The world now, has changed from the traditional to the modern ways as a result of civilization, therefore the treatment of women also should be change to good.
But, we discovered that females have refused to sit back and let their husbands provide all the necessary things for them as done in the olden days or allow their husbands to dictate the tune for them. The women are rising to the position where they can not allow men to trample upon them like their great grand mothers. A woman has now occupied the literary and circular world. The authors Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo and Zaynab Alkali does not suggest solution to all the problems of women but rather stimulates the women to rise up to the level of self-economic dependence. They emphasized that women should be able to stand up to their rights in the patriarchal society and they calls or persuade the men to learn to treat women with dignity not as slaves but as equals in everything.
The marginalization of African women, with the accompanied subjugation of their gender has led to a series of literatures, which today are geared towards a redefinition of African womanhood in correct perspective, the stereotypical portrayed of women as silent, passive beings has given way to new perspective, which portrays women as strong, articulate and as achievement Oriented as Akachi Eeigbohas rightly observed. There is no doubt that the Image of women in African literature has shifted from being ‘Object’ to ‘subject’ as many writers especially women have given their female character‘ agency’. There is a recognizable shift in women’s writing and this is a result of change in the materials or psychological condition of women or n the Vision of the newer women writers.
Also women refused to be seen as second class citizens they are beginning to gain access to social things in life. And with this struggle, they were able to gain title like traditions titles in the society.
In recent times, eyebrows have been raised on the issue of equality of the sexes. A part from the fact that male chauvinists are skeptical about feminist movements, they also consider the hullabaloo raised by these women as nothing but a storm in a tea-cup. However, judging from the recognition which is being accorded to these organizations in many quarters, one would agree that feminism as a course for women’s right has come to stay. The concepts of equal rights among the gender has created an awareness in women who are now determined to partake fully in their environmental developments. Now, women all over the world are gradually succeeding in breaking the traditional position of male supremacy in all shares of human endeavours hither to considered as strictly ‘masculine’. The roles of men are being felt in the political, economic, educational and social structures of many countries of the world today. A bold step to revolutionize the role of women in the rural setting of Nigeria is being embarked upon by Dr Mariam Babagida, the ex-first lady of Nigeria, under the organization of Better Life for rural women.
Today in Nigeria and Africa, qualified women have changed into professions that were once regarded as exclusively for men. Women now occupy challenging policy making position Names like sen – Rukayat G. Saraki Elizabeth Adekagbe, Wuraola Esan, Mrsmargered Ekpoare central in the struggle for women emancipation Therefore, a handful of women have risen to greater heights in the private and public sector. Already, there are female departmental heads club leaders, engineers pilots and Lecturers.
Prominent among them are Toyin Olakuri, a chartered Accountant, Mrs Bola Kuforiji-Olubi, the managing Director of Bewac group and one time the chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and a prominent member of the interim government and also a competent female lecturer in department of English Dr (Mrs)V.A Alabiend others. Consequently, the outcome of many years of dedicated work of these individuals and organizations has helped to gain almost world wide recognition for the political, economical, educational and social rights of women.
Furthermore, the women writers in Africa has a special task. She has to present the position of women in Africa in all its aspects. There is still so much injustice done to women. The women were continued to be discriminated. In the family, in the institutions, in society, in the street, in political organizations, discrimination reigns supreme, as women must work for their own future, they must overthrow the status quo which harms us and no longer submit to it. They should not accept the nostalgic praise to the African mother, who in this anxiety, man confuses with mother African. Within African literature room, women must fight with all their might to gain their ground.
Finally, this researcher has provided another avenue for the understanding and the redefinition of gender role to be characterized by fundamental equality of rights and opportunities between African men and women. The continuous defiance and denigration of women in addition to their exclusion from decision making process will equally create a future based on economic sterility.
Therefore, let African women wake up to their responsibilities and soar higher like the eagle in the sky.
Gender Issues In Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo’s Trafficked And Zaynab Alkali’s The Virtuous Woman
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