The Dilemma of Male Child Preference Vis-À-Vis The Role Of Women In The Yoruba Traditional Religion

The Dilemma of Male Child Preference Vis-À-Vis The Role Of Women In The Yoruba Traditional Religion

Author by Prof. Joseph Olanrewaju

Language: English


In Africa and other parts of the world, there has always been tension over the preference of the male child over his female counterpart. Such preference sometimes hinges on the biased perception of women through ages and other misconceptions which have continued to survive in many societies. Consequently, it is not strange that the male child enjoys a preferential desirability and treatment over the female child. This is true of most African societies, of which the Yoruba society is inclusive. Nevertheless, a contextual study of the role of women in the African societies in general, and the Yoruba in particular, reveals not only the enormous roles and contributions of women, but various institutions that enabled their religious and social functions. A careful examination of this concept – its rationale and implications, especially in the light of the roles of women in the society give no justification for this preference. Using random sampling, the study examined the perception of 100 Yoruba respondents on the rationale for and implications of male child preference and the role of women in the Yoruba religion and society. The result shows that whereas the idea of male preference is evident, women serve as society stabilizers. Indeed their roles touch on two important aspects of life –religious and the social aspect of life. Religiously, they have been ascribed important and indispensable roles. Socially, they meet the basic needs of man – care, hospitality and availability to render supportive services. Among the Yoruba, women are perceived to be honest and submissive. These and other sterling qualities place them at a vantage point where they serve humanity. Consequently, we conclude that giving the female children adequate educational training, encouragement and support will be of immeasurable benefit to any family and society.

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