Hausa Women;10 Facts You Must Know

Hausa women live cloistered, and Islam teaches them that men should satisfy their needs. Although women’s seclusion tends to be more intense where modern Islam is stronger, peasant women often flout that seclusion. All women, young and old, abandon it when heavy work in the fields requires them to—during the harvest, gleaning, and sorting of grain—but they remain under their husbands’ control.

Hausa Women;10 Facts You Must Know

  • The Kano River Project in 1971 created irrigated areas for growing wheat or tomatoes. Most agricultural workers there were men, but for some kinds of labor, especially planting bean seedlings, the company preferred to hire women.
  • Most of these women were fairly old, menopause allowing them to leave their homes more readily. Some were widowed or divorced and had no choice. They were preferred to men because they received 30 to 36 kobo per day (1 naira = 100 kobo) for their work whereas men received an average of 2.2 naira.
  • These women, reputedly docile and passive, in 1977 organized a surprising demonstration. More autonomous toward their employer than in their households, having discovered that one of the company’s officials had offered them twice as much to work during the weekend on his farm they went on strike for a pay increase. The company refused them and broke the strike by hiring women from a little farther away who knew nothing of the affair. These women soon learned of it from their comrades and struck in turn. The company had to give in and doubled their wages.
  • The change in women’s thinking is particularly noticeable where they have more responsibility. This is the case in eastern Africa, where men’s migration and the inability of women to follow them have made women the majority of the population in the countryside.
  • A study done in Transkei showed that 79 percent of women farmers were married but 60 percent were de facto heads of businesses.*7 It may seem surprising that so many women whose husbands were migrant workers should have preferred this system, but the reasons were above all economic. The men who remained at home were elderly.
  • Forty-five percent of women had attended rural schools for fewer than four years, and almost as many could neither read nor write. Yet of those who had gone to school, many had participated in extracurricular religious groups that played an important role in their future organizational life. The youngest ones recognized the vicious circle of poverty that oppressed them (60 percent of households suffered from malnutrition).
  • In general, they considered the land they had sufficient—because they lacked the time to cultivate any more—but wanted help in equipping themselves and increasing their livestock and their harvests and recognition of their autonomy. Eighty-seven percent said that they would like to go to night school, and 60 percent were ready to organize to participate in self-development programs.
    1. Hausa women are part of the Hausa ethnic group, which is primarily found in Nigeria and other neighboring countries such as Niger, Ghana, Cameroon, and Chad. They are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa.
    2. Hausa society is traditionally patriarchal, with clear gender roles and divisions. However, Hausa women have played significant roles in the economic, social, and political spheres of their communities.
    3. Hausa women are known for their exceptional beauty and style. They often wear colorful and elaborately designed traditional outfits, such as the “abaya” or “boubou,” which are loose-fitting garments that cover the body from head to toe.
    4. Education is highly valued among Hausa women. Many Hausa women pursue formal education and can be found in various professions, including medicine, law, education, business, and politics.
    5. Hausa women are skilled traders and entrepreneurs. They are active participants in local markets and are known for their business acumen. In many instances, women control the economic activities within their households.
    6. Despite the traditional gender roles, Hausa women have been involved in politics and governance. They have held positions at the local, state, and national levels, advocating for women’s rights and development.
    7. Hausa women have a rich cultural heritage. They are known for their traditional music, dance, and storytelling. They also actively participate in cultural festivals and ceremonies, showcasing their artistic talents.
    8. Islam is the predominant religion among the Hausa people, including Hausa women. They adhere to Islamic teachings and customs, such as wearing hijab (headscarf) and practicing Islamic rituals and traditions.
    9. Hausa women are known for their strong family ties and the importance they place on marriage and motherhood. Marriage is a significant milestone in a Hausa woman’s life, and extended families play a crucial role in their support system.
    10. Hausa women have made significant contributions to literature and film. They have produced notable authors and filmmakers who explore themes of women’s empowerment, social issues, and cultural heritage.

    It’s important to note that while these facts provide a general overview, there can be variations in the experiences and roles of Hausa women based on individual circumstances and regional differences.

This is evidence that the education of girls, hardly widespread even now, is of primary importance for the future.

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