1st Edition

Female and Male in West Africa

Edited By Christine Oppong Copyright 1983

    In the 1970s and early 1980s, there was a lack of contemporary, readily available studies of the informal relationships between the sexes; their day to day activities and expectations and how these were altering; especially in contexts in which there were radical demographic, political and economic changes taking place.

    Originally published in 1983, this volume documents the complexities and subtleties of the modes of interaction between women and men in one region of Africa. It seeks to provide insights and understanding of changing social contexts and relationships based upon ethnographic field work carried out in the previous decade.

    There are five sections. The first is comparative; presenting and analysing statistical data from the countries of the region; including demographic profiles of fertility, migration, mortality, as well as census and survey evidence on work patterns and education. It provides the broad framework within which the individual case studies are located. The theme of the first set of case studies is the traditional separation and interconnectedness apparent in the worlds of women and men in several culture areas in the spheres of arts and crafts, music, political roles, language, symbolism, ritual, domestic organization and resources and sexuality. The second set focuses on the theme of domestic cooperation and conflict, in production and consumption – in particular the conflicting claims and expectations of men and women, as spouses and kin. The third set of essays is concerned with the relative resources and opportunities of females and males in schools and employment contexts, in sexual encounters and in national community and domestic decision-making processes. The subjects of the final section include individualism, autonomy and dependence of the members of one sex upon the other. The increased individualism, resulting from migration and the scattering of kin, and the breakdown of cooperative work patterns between spouses and relatives is seen as leading to instances of both increased dependence on the one hand, especially of women on men, and increased opportunities for economic autonomy on the other. The case studies span a wide range of socio-economic conditions including studies of farmers, traders, fishermen and fishmongers, factory and office workers, the relatively rich and the relatively poor, from many different ethnic groups and six countries.

    The book was expected to be of interest to a wide range of readers in social science disciplines as well as to planners and administrators. It should still prove to be particularly relevant to the needs of university students in the fields of women’s studies, African studies, Black studies, sex roles, family relations, sociology and anthropology.

    Preface.  Acknowledgements.  List of Contributors.  Map.  I Statistical FrameworkPart One – Overviews: Comparative Perspectives.  Introduction to Part One.  1. Female and Male Life-Cycles Helen Ware  2. Female and Male Work Profiles Eleanor R. Fapohunda  3. Patterns of Migration by Sex Aderanti Adepoju.  Conclusion to Part One.  II Case Studies. Part Two – Male and Female Spheres: Separate and Connected.  Introduction to Part Two.  4. Artistic and Sex Roles in a Limba Chiefdom Simon Ottenberg  5. The Political and Military Roles of Akan Women Kwame Arhin  6. The Feminine Sphere in the Institutions of the Songhay-Zarma Jeanne Bisilliat  7. Dependence and Autonomy: The Economic Activities of Secluded Hausa Women in Kano Enid Schildkrout  8. Marital Sexuality and Birth-Spacing among the Yoruba Lawrence A. Adeokun.  Conclusion to Part Two.  Part Three – Rights, Exchanges and Bargains: Co-operation and Conflict.  Introduction to Part Three.  9. Who Is a Wife? Legal Expressions of Heterosexual Conflicts in Ghana Dorothy Dee Vellenga  10. The Separateness of Spouses: Conjugal Resources in an Ashanti Town Katharine Abu  11. Kinship and Cocoa Farming in Ghana Christine Okali  12. Fishmongers, Big Dealers and Fishermen: Co-operation and Conflict between the Sexes in Ghanaian Canoe Fishing Emile Vercruijsse  13. Marriage, Divorce and Polygyny in Winneba George Panyin Hagan.  Conclusion to Part Three.  Part Four – Resources and Opportunities: Male Bias?  Introduction to Part Four.  14. Sex Roles in Nigerian Politics Kamene Okonjo  15. Skill-Building or Unskilled Labour for Female Youth: A Bauchi Case Carol Martin  16. Conjugal Decision-Making: Some Data from Lagos Wambui Wa Karanja  17. Male Chauvinism: Men and Women in Ghanaian Highlife Songs Nimrod Asante-Darko and Sjaak van der Geest  18. Male and Female Factory Workers in Ibadan Catherine M. di Domenico  19. Female and Male Factory Workers in Accra Eugenia Date-Bah  20. Urban Contacts: A Comparison of Women and Men Margaret Peil.  Conclusion to Part Four.  Part Five – Individualism, Autonomy and Dependence: Migrants and Urban Dwellers.  Introduction to Part Five.  21. Houses of Women: A Focus on Alternative Life-Styles in Katsina City Renée Pittin  22. Gender Relations and Conjugality among the Baule Mona Etienne  23. Avatime Women and Men, 1900-80 Lynne Brydon  24. Female and Male Domestic Cycles in Urban Africa: The Adabraka Case Roger Sanjek  25. Sugar Daddies and Gold-Diggers: The White-Collar Single Women in Accra Carmel Dinan.  Conclusion to Part Five.  Postscript.  References.  Index.


    Christine Oppong