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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:African women in a changing economic system: an examination of the oil palm industry among Uzairhue women of Benin Province, 1900-1960
Author:Ayokhai, Fred Ekpe F.
Periodical:Afrika Zamani: revue annuelle d'histoire africaine = Annual Journal of African History (ISSN 0850-3079)
Geographic term:Nigeria
palm oil
gender roles
colonial economy
Abstract:In most of Africa, including Nigeria's Benin Province, women are confronted with a plethora of social maladies, including poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, unemployment, inflation, corruption, failing and inadequate social infrastructure, and violent conflict. Apart from a handful of women who belong to the 'kleptocratic' ruling class and those who benefit from its patronage, most women suffer under the yoke of the ongoing development crisis in Africa. They have been left behind in terms of public policy priority and have been marginalized in the ownership and control of the means of production and political power. This has not always been the case. This article posits that the condition of women in Africa is a logical fallout of the changing economic system forcibly instituted on the continent in the last century. This negative trend is illustrated by the empirical evidence provided by the exclusion of Uzairhue women in the oil palm industry in Benin Province between 1900 and 1960. The article describes the role and place of Uzairhue women of Benin Province in the indigenous economic system of the oil palm industry. It then examines the impact of the capitalist economic system on the indigenous economic system in the context of the role and place of women in the oil palm industry. The article concludes that the degeneration of the socioeconomic conditions of modern African women, which is a part of Africa's development crisis, is traceable to the advent of the Western capitalist economic system. Finally, it suggests alternative approaches to the resolution of Africa's development crisis through women-conscious, sensitive and centred policy initiatives. Bibliogr., notes, sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]