Gender stereotyping in church and community : a Nigerian feminine perspective

Onwunta, Ijeoma Esther (2009-03)

Thesis (DTh (Practical Theology and Missiology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


In the Nigerian church and society negative gender stereotyping is pronounced in every aspect of human activities. The basic premise of this study therefore is that the Nigerian church and society need to deal with these negative gender stereotypes which breed gender insensitivity and injustice. Those cultural, political and economic structures, those proverbs and myths that have hitherto hindered women from attaining their full potential have to give way to a new mind-set and a change in attitude in both men and women in order to bring the much needed transformation and gender partnership in Nigeria. The study in surveying the landscape highlights some important issues that women have to struggle with. Among other things, the low female literacy rate is one of the greatest hindrances women have today. This is due to the institutionalised structures and culturally created lenses that make some people still perceive men as more superior than women and therefore regard the education of women as a waste of resources. Although men are always perceived to be the better and more superior specie, this study does not advocate for gender bending. What is important is people being who God has made them to be and working with others as partners for a better human society. Women’s involvement in development is based on the theological premise that true development must have a holistic approach which more than building infrastructures, deals with the development of humans. A holistic approach to development implies a transformational development that is different from the status quo which is overshadowed by men’s voices and experiences. Women’s voices, experiences and potentials have to play a major role in this approach. The need to listen to women was further stressed by Powers (2003: viii) when he said: Unless we listen, any action we may take in this area, no matter how well intentioned, is likely to bypass the real concerns of women and to confirm female condescension and reinforce male dominance. Listening, in a spirit of partnership and equality, is the most practical response we can make and is the foundation for our mutual partnership to reform unjust structures.

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