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Following the traditional belief that the place of the woman is in the kitchen, women are frequently relegated to the status of second-class citizen in Nigeria. In the Nigerian culture, not only do men have more social, political, and economic power than women, they are also imperceptibly treated differently. This is a consequence of an overriding social setting dominated by a general culture of male power and superiority. In this setting, men are treated with respect, their needs attended to, and their views treasured. What is not apparent however, is that women are not given the same respect as they are oftentimes less valued, ignored, or disregarded. In the public realm, women are not quite visible in positions of authority nor welcomed in certain spaces and situations where men feel absolutely comfortable; while in the private realm, they are subjected to the dictates of men. This trend was recently amplified by President Muhammadu Buhari’s ridiculing remark in Germany that his wife, Aisha Buhari, “belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room”- presumably the bedroom, following some unfavorable remarks she made to BBC Hausa Service about him. The President’s remark underscores the extent to which women’s rights and their value are undermined in the Nigerian patriarchal society. It is a “closed space” where existing stereotypes have reduced an average woman to an inferior citizen. Against this background, this article examines the theoretical and material bases of patriarchy and gender inequality in Nigeria and identifies the extent of gender inequality and discrimination. The article contends that if democracy allows for diversity of opinion and participation of different groups, it cannot be said to exist where women are continually disadvantaged. Real societal change will only ensue if we think differently and work differently to challenge the patriarchal structures that perpetuate all forms of gender discrimination and inequality in the society.
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