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Women and Power

Education, Religion and Identity

Olutoyin Mejiuni

Publication Year: 2013

Education is an important tool for the development of human potential. Organizations and individuals interested in development consider knowledge, skills and attitudes, obtained through formal, non-formal and incidental learning, as invaluable assets. Therefore, it is necessary to reflect on fundamental elements that shape the process through which education is attained: How do people learn, and what are the conditions that facilitate effective learning? Answers to these questions demonstrate that no education can be politically neutral, because there is no value-free education. The traditional or indigenous education systems in Nigeria, which covered (and still cover) physical training, development of character, respect for elders and peers, development of intellectual skills, specific vocational trainings, developing a sense of belonging and participation in community affairs, and understanding, appreciating and promoting the cultural heritage of the community were, and are, not value-free. In other words, the goals and purpose of education, the content, the entire process and the procedures chosen for evaluation in education are all value-laden. This book attempts to show that the teaching-learning process in higher education, and religion, taught and learned through non-formal and informal education (or the hidden curriculum), and other socialization processes within and outside the formal school system, all interface to determine the persons that women become. This education enhances or limits womenís capabilities, whether in the civic-political sphere or in their attempts to resist violence. Hence, education and religion have ways of empowering or disempowering women.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. 8-9

List of Abbreviations

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pp. ix-10

List of Tables and Boxes

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pp. x-11

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pp. xi-xii

I thank the Scientific Committee of the 2003 Advanced Research Fellowship Programme of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), and the Executive Committee of CODESRIA for their approval of, and support for the research reported in this book. I also thank Virginie Niang, who did not fail to respond to my endless inquiries and pestering, and the editorial team ...

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pp. xiii-xviii

One day, in my early teens, I asked my mother how possible it was for a woman to have a baby regularly when her husband beat her regularly. Now, I cannot remember my mother’s response, but I do remember that she looked at me quizzically, and tried to conceal her amusement at the question. She knew why I had asked that question. I had asked because I had observed the phenomenon in the interaction of a male ...

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pp. xix-xxxii

Justifiably, education has always received wide acclaim as an important engine for the development of human potential. Today, persons and organizations that are interested in developing human capabilities consider knowledge, skills and attitudes, whether obtained through formal, non-formal and incidental learning, as assets. However, it is not just what people know or learn that matters. ...

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1. The Methodology

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pp. 1-10

... One broad theory that takes a full view of the character of the teaching-learning process in schools; what is taught, the hidden curriculum and the effect of religion on the formation of consciousness, and the cumulative effect of all these on the female identity, is the feminist pedagogy. This theory has a vision of what education might be, but is frequently not. Feminist pedagogy, according ...

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2. Women’s Civic-Political Participation Towards an Equitable and Humane Democratic Order

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pp. 11-47

The kind of governance that Nigerians experienced since the pre-independence period has been criticized for, among other reasons, having been characterized by low-level citizen participation. Key aspects of this governance range from the provisions made for participation in the 1922 Clifford Constitution; to those in the 1947 Richards Constitution; to those in the Macpherson Constitution ...

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3. The Subordinate Role of Women in the Private and Public Spheres

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pp. 49-78

Given the observations in Chapter Two, one can infer that the determination of men to exclude women from politics, that Longwe (2000), and Ibrahim and Salihu (2004) had observed, is traceable to what most men (and women) assume to be the roles of women in the public and private spheres of life, opinions which they derive from their own understanding of women’s nature, from their upbringing, and from religious injunctions. ...

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4. Who am I? Prescribing Women’s Identities

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pp. 79-106

The discourse of identity has focused on characteristics that all human beings share in common with certain other human beings, and the way in which individuals are unique (Kluckhohn and Murray, cited in Mennel 1994), leading to discussions on personal and collective identities. The three traditions that are represented in the discourse of identity – essentialism, social constructionism and ...

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5. The Violence of Power: Power Relations and Women’s Experience of Violence

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pp. 107-147

Violence against women involves the physical and verbal (both subtle and overt) coercion of women of all age groups, ethnic/racial backgrounds, religious persuasions, and socio-economic background. Violence against women is the profane treatment of women and total disrespect for them. It is a reflection of the inferior social position of women and the outrage that men feel towards ...

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6. Women’s Identities and Power

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pp. 149-162

In the opening part of this chapter, I explore the meaning of power (but would not lay claim to undertaking an exhaustive exploration of the meaning of the subject), and make a case for why women need to attain or gain power, reorder unequal relationships of power, and resist repressive power in all spheres of life. In the two sections that follow, I link the identities of women that have emerged ...

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7. Is Formal Education Empowering?

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pp. 163-181

We had earlier observed that the consensus among opinion moulders and discussants in non-formal education settings is that access to formal education and literacy training for girls and women will ensure more active involvement of women in politics (Shvedova 1998), although Longwe (2000) had challenged the claim. We also observed that there is no value-free education, because how a person learns, whether or not s/he is able to learn, who teaches what and to ...

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Conclusion and Recommendations

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pp. 183-187

This is a paragraph from an open letter that one white female graduate student, a former classmate of Bell Hooks (African American feminist scholar) in a graduate class on feminist theory, wrote to Bell Hooks (Gloria Watkins). She wrote the letter to acknowledge her anger (part of the collective anger that was directed at Hooks in that class because of the kinds of issues that she raised), ...


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pp. 189-194


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pp. 195-203

Back cover

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p. 238-238

E-ISBN-13: 9782869785748
Print-ISBN-13: 9782869784932

Page Count: 236
Publication Year: 2013