Social Construction of Manhood in Nigeria: Implications for Male Responsibility in Reproductive Health|
Olawoye, Janice E.; Omololu, Femi O.; Aderinto, Yinka; Adeyefa, Iyabode; Adeyemo, Debo & Osotimehin, Babatunde
This paper examines social construction of masculinity and manhood and gender socialisation among the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, with the aid of a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. The sample included male and female, young and old respondents, representing the Yoruba of the Southwest, the Igbo of the Southeast and the Hausa of the North. The study found that, in general, manhood is usually strongly associated with the social position in the family and the physical capability to satisfy the sexual needs of the female partner(s) and to produce children. Decision-making authority, including decision on reproduction, is largely vested in the man. Gender socialising for developing boys into men, including their sexual behaviour, is largely affected by instruction from the mother and the example of the father, while role enactment is closely monitored by the society. Even though significant socio-cultural differences between ethnic groups were found in gender socialising and the resultant roles, male dominance is pervasive and affects reproductive behaviour and health status of both males and females. Change in gender roles, including sexual relationships, will require enlightenment on the need for greater male responsibility in their relationship with females.