Yoruba Women, Work, and Social Change

Yoruba Women, Work, and Social Change

Distribution: World
Publication date: 03/18/2009
Format: Paperback 13 b&w photos, 5 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-22054-7
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Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2009

The Yoruba, one of the largest and most historically important ethnic groups in Nigeria, are noted for the economic activity, confidence, and authority of their women. Yoruba Women, Work, and Social Change traces the history of women in Yorubaland from around 1820 to 1960 and Nigerian independence. Integrating fresh material from local court records and four decades of existing scholarship, Marjorie Keniston McIntosh shows how and why women's roles and status changed during the 19th century and the colonial era. McIntosh emphasizes connections between their duties within the household, their income-generating work, and their responsibilities in religious, cultural, social, and political contexts. She highlights the forms of patriarchy found within Yorubaland and explores the impact of Christianity, colonialism, and international capitalism. This keen and insightful work offers a unique view of Yoruba women's initiative, adaptability, and skill at working in groups.

Author Bio

Marjorie Keniston McIntosh is Distinguished Professor of History Emerita at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her work on Africa includes Women, Work, and Domestic Virtue in Uganda, 1900–2003, written with Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo, which received the 2007 Aidoo-Snyder Prize awarded by the Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association. She is also author of Working Women in English Society, 1300–1620 and Controlling Misbehavior in England,1370–1600.


Based on a careful reading of the existing scholarship on Yoruba women, this will be an important text for scholars in Yoruba studies, African studies, and especially women's and gender studies.An important contribution to knowledge about women and the relations of gender in Yorubaland and other African societies.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Note on Language and Orthography
Abbreviations, Terms, and Explanations

Part 1. Introduction
1. Opening
2. Sources and Questions

Part 2. The Context of Women's Lives
3. Yorubaland, 1820<N>1893
4. Colonial Yorubaland, 1893<N>1960
5. Family and Marriage

Part 3. Women's Economic Activities
6. Labor, Property, and Agriculture
7. Income-Generating Activities in the Nineteenth Century
8. New Approaches to Familiar Roles during the Colonial Period
9. Western Skills and Service Careers

Part 4. Other Public Roles and Broader Issues
10. Religion, Cultural Forms, and Associations
11. Regents and Chiefs, Economic Organizations, and Politics
12. Patriarchy, Colonialism, and Women's Agency

Glossary of Yoruba Words
List of References