Yoruba: gender in their culture
There are three main ethnic groups in Nigeria: Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo. I am going to talk about the Yoruba people and their culture, who make up twenty-one percent of the population of Nigeria (Ember 1624). Some quick facts about this ethnic group include that their spoken language is Yoruba, they live in the southeastern region of Nigeria called Yorubaland, and are also based in Togo and Benin (Ember 1624). While all these facts are interesting and good to know, I will focus on gender in Yoruba culture. I believe that exposure to the western world influenced gender roles in Yoruba culture. I will cover Yoruba gender roles compared to other countries, gender roles in marriage, the influence of religion in the construction of gender roles, gender in government, and the gender perspective on children.
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(Video) Yoruba is a gender-neutral language.
Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyěwùmí argues that gender is a Western idea introduced to the Yoruba people and that the Yoruba people had no concept of gender before. One of his arguments is that there are no specific words related to gender. Other scholars, such as Olajubu, disagree, saying that the Yoruba people have allowed gender to play an important role in religion and traditions. She says that sex is a natural thing and gender is a constructed classification term. I think this ties into the nature vs. nurture argument that while human nature is learned through teaching and observation, something can be natural and we are born with it. One argument that brings a new perspective to this two-sided debate is that gender does matter, but not in the way our society sees it, that is, as male or female. So which is the truth: have the Yoruba people always allowed gender to play a role in their culture, or were they taught to do so by Westerners?
(Video) Gender: How to say "masculine" and "feminine" in the Yorùbá language
To get this answer, I started reading about the differences in gender normality in different countries. I found that people in more than 16 countries believe that men have the first right to work, that they believe that men are better suited for political office, and that women should have children to feel fulfilled (Weziak-Bialowolska). With the Yoruba, I found that gender roles among the Yoruba were changing more and more as time changed and more outside influences came into contact with the Yoruba. I don't think they negatively affected women. I think they gave women more opportunities to have the careers they wanted. According to McIntosh in his bookYoruba women, work and social changeShe summarizes that women played independent roles in agriculture and commerce until colonial notions of "women's jobs" changed women's career paths (McIntosh). In a review of McIntosh's book, another scholar, Insa Nolte, concluded that "Yoruba women adapted their skills to support more widespread cultural beliefs while continuing their domestic roles" (Nolte).
Speaking of domestic roles, an interesting place to study is marriages and the traditions of the Yoruba culture regarding gender roles. In Yoruba, both sexes are expected to marry at the age considered appropriate by society, women in their twenties and men in their thirties. A woman's place in society was once based on being the daughter of her father and one of them
Wives in the lineage of her husband (Denzer). A woman was considered the property of the family she married and passed to a brother when her husband died, or the family was entitled to any children she had (Johnson). One thing that seems to have changed is that in pre-colonial times divorce was not common and today a man has the privilege of divorcing his wife (Johnson). According to Johnson, the Yoruba traditionally lived monogamously and polygamy was reserved for the wealthy. This is no longer the case today. A good example of the expression of polygamy is the Ooni of Ife. The leader of the Yoruba people, King Ojaja, has three wives and a recent divorce would have made his fourth wife (Oonirisa.org). Obviously there has been an increase in polygamous marriages and I think this is due to the encounter with new religions during colonialism.
Let's explore the impact religion has on gender roles. Fifty percent of the residents of Nigeria are Muslims, forty percent are Christians, and ten percent practice refined religions (Ember). The greatest finds of Muslim and Christian followers can be found in the Yoruba ethnic group. It is interesting that in the Yoruba religion, women are usually the most respected traditional priests (embers). In Africa, specifically the Yoruba, we must understand that the Yoruba people worship many gods that have not been assigned a gender (peel). The influence of other religions began to help differentiate and define gender. Christian herders and Muslim babalawo were predominantly men. One consequence of this primary gender being the head of the religion is that the Yoruba people began to establish a hierarchy in religion based on gender (peel). At a certain point in history, a woman had to pray to her husband.When aand find their spiritual destiny through their husbands (Peel). Based on this, she would say that religion has influenced gender roles in Yoruba culture simply by making people aware of gender and its hierarchy in certain religions.
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(Video) WOMEN IN THE YORUBA TRADITION – CC PORT – FRANÇAIS
Finally, what role does gender play in the governance of your society? To answer that question, we first need to know what kind of government they have."Yoruba history and politics in Nigeria are more dynamic than static."This is how the author Falola, who deals with African affairs, described the Yoruba government (Yoruba identity). How is this possible, you ask? There are three types of litigation courts in Yoruba. The first court systems were the usual local level courts. Men were expected to sit on one side and women on the other, each voting on public issues (Yoruba legal systems). This court deals primarily with family and property matters. The second and next level is the District Court, which is based on the British system where higher legal matters were dealt with and linked to the state system of government and hierarchy (Mary M. Johnson). The last and third level of the system of government of her is based on the Islamic legal system instead of an active position, since there is no predominantly Muslim community (Yoruba legal systems). So we can see that women, at least in their government and courts, have equal attendance and voting rights and the influence of the British and Islamic legal systems does not alter this fact.
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Do your beliefs or lack of beliefs about gender affect the way your children are raised or treated? Men show a superiority over their female counterparts, who are often relegated to the background. Therefore, women are at a great disadvantage in social, political, economic and religious terms, since decisions are predominantly made by women rather than men. (Ubrure). Scholar and author Olabode, who wrote about the birthrights of girls in Africa, is quoted as saying:
Once a child is born, the question that will be asked will focus on gender and not on the health of the mother. If the baby is female, the mother will be scolded and treated as an idle and useless woman. On the other hand, if the child is a boy, the mother is praised without taking into account that biology has shown that it is the father who determines the sex of an offspring (Olabode).
(Video) Yoruba beliefs about patriarchy | Does Yoruba culture support gender inequality? #Conversations
I think this is a great example of how women are disadvantaged from birth and seen as "less than" male children who are celebrated and praised. A mythological story from their culture describes the Yoruba belief that women are inferior to the cunning and overwhelming man. "She had a whip in her hand. She changed her voice to aBoneget dressed. when odu saw thatBonein the new form he was afraid. This is how men skillfully subdued women.” (Olajubu). I also understand that men may have feared the power of women and felt threatened enough to try to control them. I believe that the balance of power between the genders is a global problem and this is an example of it in the Yoruba culture.
In closing, I would like to reiterate that I believe that Western influence has changed gender roles in Yoruba culture. I can't say if there were slight gender limitations before the Western influence or not, and I can't say if the influence was for the better or for the worse. However, I believe that "gender" has certainly become a concept in Yoruba and the roles have changed based on the research and data I have collected. If anything can be said with certainty, it is that the concept of gender in Yoruba is far from being a uniquely defined idea. Gender roles are changing and flow with all aspects of your culture, from marriage to religion to government.
- Denzer, Laray. "Yoruba Women: A Historiographical Study".From the International Journal of African Historical Studies27.1 (1994): 1-39. Red.
- Ember, Melvin. and Ember, Carol R. Lands and Their Cultures / Melvin Ember and Carol R. Ember, editors. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2001. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Network.
- Falola, Toyin., Genova, Ann, and Perspectives on Yoruba Historical Culture. The Yoruba in Transition: History, Values, and Modernity / Edited by Toyin Falola and Ann Genova. Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic, 2006. Print.
- Falola, Toyín. and Genoa, Ann.Yoruba identity and power politics / Edited by Toyin Falola and Ann Genova.Rochester, NY: University of Rochester, 2006. Drucken. Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora, [v. 22].
- Familusi, O.O. "African Culture and the Status of Women: The Yoruba Example".Journal of Pan-African Studies5.1 (2012): 299. Web.
- Johnson, Samuel y Johnson, O.The history of the Yorubas from the earliest times to the beginning of the British protectorate. G. Routledge & Sons, 1921. Web.
- María M. Johnson. „Yoruba Legal Systems“ Journal of Law and Judicial System, 1(3), S. 1-2
- McIntosh, Marjorie Keniston. Mujeres yoruba, trabajo y cambio social / Marjorie Keniston McIntosh. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana UP, 2009. Drucken.
- Mercader, Julio, Raquel Marti, Jayne Wilkins, and Kentd. bird hunter “The Eastern Periphery of the Yoruba Cultural Sphere. Pottery from the lowland rainforests of southwestern Cameroon.” Current Anthropology 47.1 (2006): 173-84. Grid.
- Nolte, Insa. „Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.“Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Bd. 73, no. 3, 2010, pp. 107-1 568–570.JSTOR, JSTOR,www.jstor.org/stable/40963348.
- Olabode B.O. “African Gender Myth in Proverbs and Verbal Discourses; A case study of the Yoruba in southwestern Nigeria” in Kehinde, A. (ed.)Gender and development: essential reading,Ibadan: Hope Publications (2009).
- Olajubu, Oyeronke. "Seeing Through a Woman's Eyes: Yoruba Religious Tradition and Gender Relations".Journal of Feminist Religious Studies20.1 (2004): 41-60. Red.
- Oyewumimi, Oyeronke.The Invention of Woman: Understanding Western African Gender Discourses / Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyěwùmí.Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota, 1997. Print.
- Peel, JDY "Sex in Yoruba religious change." Journal of Religion in Africa 32.2 (2002): 136-66. Grid.
- Ubrurhe, J.O. "Cultural religion and feminism: hermeneutic problem" in Ifie, E. (ed.)deal with culture, Ibadan: Oputuru Books (1999)
- Weziak-Bialowolska, Dorota. “Differences in gender norms between countries: are they valid? The measure invariance problem.European Population Magazine = Revue europeenne de demographieBd. 31 (2014): 51-76.
In the case of Yoruba society, the concept arose in post-colonizationThe genre is timeless and universal.; he also catalyzed the realization of that idea. This implies that gender segregation is an integral part of society, which contradicts the author's main argument.What is Yoruba culture? ›
Yoruba culture consists ofCultural philosophy, religion and folk tales.. They are embodied in Ifa divination and are known in Yorubaland and its diaspora as the three-part book of enlightenment. The cultural thought of the Yoruba bears witness to two eras. The first epoch is a history of cosmogony and cosmology.
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One of the most important traditions in Yorubaland is the "divine name" -name a newborn boy. Names are given to children by their parents, grandparents (both paternal and maternal), and some other close relatives. A typical Yoruba child may have up to 16 different names.How do we show respect in Yoruba culture? ›
Respect is an important aspect of the Yoruba tradition and a symbol of peace and order. The manner of greeting is one of the first things a stranger notices about the Yoruba system of respect.A man is expected to greet an older person with a bow or prostration, and a woman with one knee.
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witchcraftThe Orisha of wealth, economic enterprise, business and economic success in the Yoruba religion, probably a daughter of Olókun.
The Yoruba group is believed to have evolved from undifferentiatedVolta–NigerPopulations in the 1st millennium BC The earliest Yoruba speakers are believed to correspond to those found in the wider area of Niger around the 4th century BC. BC were found, especially in Ife.
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According to Yoruba men, they are one of the most desirable men among women from different ethnic groups in Nigeria. when it comes to dating and marriage. That's probably because men aretrained to be respectful and helpfullike other tribes.What are the Yoruba called? ›
Even in many parts of Ondo State today, people still refer to themselves as Ondo, Idanre, Ilaje, or Ikale, but their brothers Oyo, Osun, and Kwara as Yoruba, while Lagos and the Yoruba River identify other Yoruba peoples like Ara-Denote oke, that is, people of the mountains.
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In the traditional Yoruba setting, the traditional wedding is the most important or official wedding process.an alliance phase in which the two families come together in public to seal their children's love story in the presence of friends, family and well-wishers.
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The Yoruba culture also has a well-defined value system that is very important to them. Some of the values includewisdom, integrity, bravery, hard work, honor and riches.
How old is the Yoruba culture? ›
The historic Yoruba evolved in situ from earlier (Mesolithic) populations of Volta-Niger through1st millennium before Christ believed. Archaeologically, the settlement of Ile-Ife dates back to the 4th century BC. BC, with emerging urban structures in the 8th to 10th centuries.
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Yoruba-speaking peoples share a rich and complex heritageat least a thousand years. Today, 18 million Yoruba live mainly in the modern southwestern countries of Nigeria and the Republic of Benin.
The Yoruba region was invaded in the 19th century by another ethnic group, the Fulani, who pushed them south towards the regions they inhabit today. In the early 20th century, most of the Yoruba came under the control of the British Empire, where they remained for about 60 years before Nigeria gained independence.
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The Yoruba culture also has a well-defined value system that is very important to them. Some of the values includewisdom, integrity, bravery, hard work, honor and riches.What foods do the Yoruba eat? ›
Hunting, fishing, animal husbandry and gathering of wild foods are practiced, but the basis of the Yoruba diet consists ofTubers, grains and starchy fruits grown on their farms, supplemented with vegetable oils, wild and cultivated fruits and vegetables, meat and fish..
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Yorùbá culture is gender-neutral and gender-silent; women are seen as complementary and not subordinate to men. Hence, (Oyěwùmí 1997), caution must be raised on the continual adoption of mainstream Western feminist philosophy in Yorùbá culture.What is the most unique thing about Yoruba culture? ›
The Yoruba are a very sociable and expressive people who commemorate major events with colorful festivals and celebrations. Weddings, naming ceremonies, funerals and even housewarming parties are celebrated in a lavish and ceremonial nature.What is the importance of virginity in Yoruba culture? ›
It is believed that virgins have self-discipline and are well-trained by their parents. This custom and virginity has many advantages as it prevent the rate of fornication and helps the married women to be faithful with their husbands. Also, many lives have been lost to the act.What is the Yoruba culture known for? ›
The Yoruba have traditionally been among the most skilled and productive craftsmen of Africa. They worked at such trades as blacksmithing, weaving, leatherworking, glassmaking, and ivory and wood carving.Are all Yoruba names unisex? ›
Most Yoruba names are unisex. Not all. You'll walk far before you find a male called Ọmọlará. There's always one, though.What are the gender pronouns in Yoruba? ›
Marriage is one of the oldest institutions among Yoruba, it marks the end and the beginning of a new era between two different individuals, who agreed to live together, and through their union creates everlasting friendship between homes of their birth.What are the Yoruba marriage taboos? ›
Yoruba culture forbids a married woman to have sexual relations with a man that isn't her husband. A man that suspects his wife of cheating could be tempted to lace her with magun, which is one of the strangest traditions in Nigeria. Magun could lead to her lover losing his life or getting stuck while in the act.What are the two types of virginity? ›
- Moral Virginity - is a state wherein the female is not. physically and sexually matured, and has not. ...
- Physical Virginity - a condition of a female wherein. ...
- Demi - Virginity - is a condition of a woman who. ...
- Virgo Intacta - is a condition of a woman WHO HAD.
The Yoruba believe that daily life depends on proper alignment and knowledge of one's ori. Ori is the part of one's soul that influences personal destiny and success. Another important Yoruba concept is called aché (or ashe), the divine energy that runs through all living and nonliving things.
The Yoruba culture also has a well-defined value system that is very important to them. Some of the values include wisdom, integrity, valour, hard work, honour, and wealth.What is one of the most important parts of Yoruba culture? ›
Culture and traditions
In Yorubaland, one of the most important traditions observed is 'orúko àmútọ̀runwá' – the naming of a newly born child. Names are given to children by their parents, grandparents (paternal and maternal) and some other close relatives.
One of the features that make Yoruba people unique is their tendency to form into large city groups instead of small village groups. The Yorubas are today one of the three main ethnic groups that make up Nigeria. They can also be found in neighbouring countries.What do Yoruba people believe about death? ›
In Yoruba culture, death is socially constructed being interpreted as “Iku” (meaning: end of existence of a specific period of existence). It has spiritual, physical and social significance. Yoruba's do not see death as the end of life. It is believed that there is transformation from one form of existence to another.Do Yoruba men have multiple wives? ›
Polygamy is practiced among the Yoruba, men can marry more than one wife. Both the wives and the half brothers/sisters or Obakan in a polygamous family still constitute parts of the nuclear family. It is the duty of the father to fend for the entire family and especially the children. He provides for all their needs.Is Yoruba a genderless language? ›
Unlike English, Yoruba has no gender-specific pronouns.How do you praise a girl in Yoruba? ›
Context and relationship is everything in yoruba language. To compliment someone is basically to say O ka re, pronounced as Oh carr raay!What language has no gender pronouns? ›
Genderless languages: Chinese, Estonian, Finnish, and other languages don't categorize any nouns as feminine or masculine, and use the same word for he or she in regards to humans.What is the meaning of girl in Yoruba? ›
Girl (English) translated to Yoruba as omobirin.Which African languages do not have gendered pronouns? ›
Swahili is a Bantu language spoken in many parts of Africa such as Kenya and Tanzania. It is largely gender neutral in specific nouns. Words such as actor/actress (mwigaji wa hadithi) and waiter/waitress (mtumishi mezani) are gender neutral among most others in the language.
In many Nigerian families, the parents of the bride and groom foot the bill for most of the wedding expenses. But some couples and cultures choose to split the cost in different ways. Sometimes the bride's family is responsible for one day, while the groom's family pays for another.What is the bride price in Yoruba? ›
Bride Price (Amount between N1,000 to N5,000 for most Yoruba families. According to my Yoruba friends, this amount is symbolic and usually returned to the groom after the wedding). Other monetary amounts will be required for the groom to provide.How is Yoruba marriage done? ›
First, a man identifies a woman he is interested in. Then he asks his friends or a mutual friend to approach her on his behalf. The go-between person or friend is called an alarina. Once mutual interest and love has been established, they inform their parents of their intention to get married.
Yoruba. Abstract: The Yoruba woman is meek and overtly submissive to her husband; in the traditional compound her daily tasks were menial. But in her economic independence, accompanied by easy divorce, she has priveleges shared by few African women.What is ghost marriage in Nigeria? ›
The “ghost marriage” is a practice similar to the levirate, whereby a woman marries a man in the name of his deceased brother.What are the types of Yoruba marriage? ›
Marriage is an essential institution in the Yoruba history and culture. Yoruba tribe is also one of the tribe recognized in Nigeria. In Nigeria, various types of wedding/marriage are recognized, which include Church wedding, Mosque wedding, Customary/Court wedding and the traditional marriage.What is the right age to lose your virginity? ›
First things first: there is no right or wrong age to lose your virginity. The only factors that matter when it comes to having sex for the first time is that both you and your partner are ready, you both have consented, and you're using protection.What is the average age to lose your virginity? ›
Most had had sex by the time they were 18 - half had done it by the time they were turning 17. Nearly a third had sex before turning 16.
False Virgins. Hymen is intact but the woman has had sexual intercourse.Who is god in Yoruba? ›
Olorun (Yoruba alphabet: Ọlọrun) is the ruler of (or in) the Heavens in the Yoruba religion. The Supreme God or Supreme Being in the Yoruba pantheon, Olorun is also called Olodumare (Yoruba alphabet: Olódùmarè).
Hunting, fishing, animal husbandry, and the gathering of wild foods are practised, but the basis of the Yoruba diet consists of starchy tubers, grains, and fruits grown on their farms, supplemented by vegetable oils, wild and cultivated fruits and vegetables, and meat and fish.What are Yoruba ethics? ›
In Yoruba philosophical discourse, ethics relates to the norms that govern human behavior, on the one hand, and the behavior of the supernat- ural beings in their relationship with humans, on the other. As the above suggests, it is not only humans that have to be ethical: the gods too do.What is Yoruba life? ›
Yoruba culture consists of cultural philosophy, religion and folktales. They are embodied in Ifa divination, and are known as the tripartite Book of Enlightenment in Yorubaland and in its diaspora. Yoruba cultural thought is a witness of two epochs. The first epoch is a history of cosmogony and cosmology.How does Yoruba culture explain personality? ›
The Yoruba people in Nigeria believe that the human personality has two main elements: the physical and the spiritual, otherwise known in the Western philosophical tradition as body and mind (soul).What are the traditions of birth in Yoruba culture? ›
The Yoruba name the new baby on the eighth day postpartum. At the paternal grandparent's home, the oldest family member performs a ceremony. First, honey, sugar, kola nut, alligator pepper, water, palm oil, sugar, sugarcane, salt, and liquor are used by the elder to bless the baby.What is a Yoruba woman called? ›
A young woman or a lady is called Omidan in Yoruba.Do Yoruba men have more than one wife? ›
Polygamy is practiced among the Yoruba, men can marry more than one wife. Both the wives and the half brothers/sisters or Obakan in a polygamous family still constitute parts of the nuclear family. It is the duty of the father to fend for the entire family and especially the children. He provides for all their needs.What does Yoruba culture believe in? ›
The Yoruba believe that daily life depends on proper alignment and knowledge of one's ori. Ori is the part of one's soul that influences personal destiny and success. Another important Yoruba concept is called aché (or ashe), the divine energy that runs through all living and nonliving things.Is Yoruba culture patriarchal? ›
Gender in Yorùbá Culture and Interaction with Colonialism
Today, the Yorùbá culture is patriarchal, and societal divisions have been created across gender lines (Akanle, Adesina, and Nwaobiala 2018; Aderinto 2001; Pogoson 2012).
They would marry as many as they liked and treat them cruelly and unjustly. Therefore, Allah warned them that they should refrain from doing injustice to their wives as they did in case of the orphans. They were restricted to marry not more than four wives, if only they would do justice to them.
Yoruba fashion and garment culture – which is awash with styles such as four-piece female of iro (wrapper), buba (blouse) and ipele (shawl) with the gele accessory (headgear) as well as the male agbada (robe), buba and, dansiki (baggy shirts), sokoto (trouser) and fila (cap accessory) – has been synonymous with Aso-Oke ...How do Yoruba call their wife? ›
It is unknown to many speakers of the Yorùbá language that the original Yorùbá word for wife is 'aya' and not the commonly used 'Ìyàwó'. Back in the early years of the Yorùbá people, the word “ Iyawo “did not have a place in the Yorùbá language not until an incident brought about its coinage and usage.Can you marry 2 wives in Nigeria? ›
In Nigeria, for example, polygamous marriage is not allowed at the federal level, but the prohibition only applies to civil marriages. Twelve northern, Muslim-majority states do recognize these unions as Islamic or customary marriages.Can a woman marry two husbands in Nigeria? ›
Under civil law, Nigeria does not recognize polygamous unions. However, 12 out of the 36 Nigerian states recognize polygamous marriages as being equivalent to monogamous marriages. All twelve states are governed by Sharia Law.Who is God in Yoruba? ›
Olorun (Yoruba alphabet: Ọlọrun) is the ruler of (or in) the Heavens in the Yoruba religion. The Supreme God or Supreme Being in the Yoruba pantheon, Olorun is also called Olodumare (Yoruba alphabet: Olódùmarè).What is duality in Yoruba culture? ›
The Yoruba regard the number two as sacred apparently because of the duality or "twoness" (ejiwapo) apparent in nature, such as day/night, sun/moon, life/death, hot/cold, wet/dry, right/left, and male/female.Is Yoruba a religion or a culture? ›
The Yoruba religion (Yoruba: Ìṣẹ̀ṣe), or Isese, comprises the traditional religious and spiritual concepts and practice of the Yoruba people.