International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Women’s Marginalization and Negative Perceptions about Women: The Example of Yoruba Proverbs
Eunice Omolara Olarewaju

Gender bias as well as marginalization of women is a common phenomenon in most African societies. The marginalization is borne out of the negative perceptions that every typical African society has about women. The present study focuses on how Yoruba culture, a highly patriarchal culture, has discriminated against women as well as how it has culturally portrayed them negatively in different ways. The data for the study comprises Yoruba proverbs drawn from interactions with elderly Yoruba people, those gathered from the compilations of Owomoyela (2005) as well as Yoruba proverbs found in scholarly articles. Results indicated that some Yoruba proverbs have served as an instrument of marginalization as they are replete with gender biases. The study also revealed that through the use of certain proverbs, women are denigrated, inter alia, as promiscuous, treacherous, dirty and dishonest. The study concludes that women are not accorded much dignity in Yoruba culture. The negative perceptions and stereotypes that are used to describe women is a pointer to the fact that they are considered as inferior to men. Therefore, this study concludes that Yoruba culture supports patriarchy and is characterized by gender bias and prejudices against women.

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