Patriarchy and Property Rights among Yoruba Women in Nigeria


Aluko, Yetunde A. 2015. “Patriarchy and Property Rights among Yoruba Women in Nigeria.” Feminist Economics 21 (3): 56-81.

Author: Yetunde A. Aluko


In most patriarchal societies, women’s property rights are often achieved vicariously, usually through their husbands. By contrast, among the Yoruba of Nigeria, women have some levels of autonomy and independence such that they can accumulate property to which their husbands have no claim, yet they customarily do not have any inheritance right to their husbands’ property. This study examines how this gender-equitable property rights regime affects gender relations at the household and societal levels through in-depth interviews conducted in 2012 with fifty-six purposively selected women property owners who lived in urban Ibadan, Nigeria. Findings include that though economic power has improved the status of the women and contributes to development of their communities, it has not yet translated into equity in decision making. More than economic power is required to attain equality. The capability of defining goals and acting upon them is also critical.

Keywords: patriarchy, Property Rights, Yoruba women, development, Nigeria

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Households, Rights, Property Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2015

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