In the 1970s and early 1980s, there was a lack of contemporary, readily available studies of the informal relationships between the sexes; their day to day activities and expectations and how these were altering; especially in contexts in which there were radical demographic, political and economic changes taking place.

Originally published in 1983, this volume documents the complexities and subtleties of the modes of interaction between women and men in one region of Africa. It seeks to provide insights and understanding of changing social contexts and relationships based upon ethnographic field work carried out in the previous decade.

There are five sections. The first is comparative; presenting and analysing statistical data from the countries of the region; including demographic profiles of fertility, migration, mortality, as well as census and survey evidence on work patterns and education. It provides the broad framework within which the individual case studies are located. The theme of the first set of case studies is the traditional separation and interconnectedness apparent in the worlds of women and men in several culture areas in the spheres of arts and crafts, music, political roles, language, symbolism, ritual, domestic organization and resources and sexuality. The second set focuses on the theme of domestic cooperation and conflict, in production and consumption – in particular the conflicting claims and expectations of men and women, as spouses and kin. The third set of essays is concerned with the relative resources and opportunities of females and males in schools and employment contexts, in sexual encounters and in national community and domestic decision-making processes. The subjects of the final section include individualism, autonomy and dependence of the members of one sex upon the other. The increased individualism, resulting from migration and the scattering of kin, and the breakdown of cooperative work patterns between spouses and relatives is seen as leading to instances of both increased dependence on the one hand, especially of women on men, and increased opportunities for economic autonomy on the other. The case studies span a wide range of socio-economic conditions including studies of farmers, traders, fishermen and fishmongers, factory and office workers, the relatively rich and the relatively poor, from many different ethnic groups and six countries.

The book was expected to be of interest to a wide range of readers in social science disciplines as well as to planners and administrators. It should still prove to be particularly relevant to the needs of university students in the fields of women’s studies, African studies, Black studies, sex roles, family relations, sociology and anthropology.

part I|68 pages

Statistical Framework

part Part One|66 pages


chapter Chapter 1|26 pages

Female and Male Life-Cycles

ByHelen Ware

chapter Chapter 2|22 pages

Female and Male Work Profiles

ByEleanor R. Fapohunda

chapter Chapter 3|15 pages

Patterns of Migration by Sex

ByAderante Adepoju

part II|305 pages

Case Studies

part Part Two|68 pages

Male and Female Spheres

chapter Chapter 4|15 pages

Artistic and Sex Roles in a Limba Chiefdom

BySimon Ottenberg

chapter Chapter 5|8 pages

The Political and Military Roles of Akan Women

ByKwame Arhin

chapter Chapter 6|8 pages

The Feminine Sphere in the Institutions of the Songhay-Zarma

ByJeanne Bisilliat

chapter Chapter 7|20 pages

Dependence and Autonomy: the Economic Activities of Secluded Hausa Women in Kano

ByEnid Schildkrout

chapter Chapter 8|12 pages

Marital Sexuality and Birth-Spacing among the Yoruba

ByLawrence A. Adeokun

part Part Three|68 pages

Rights, Exchanges and Bargains

chapter Chapter 9|12 pages

Who is a Wife? Legal Expressions of Heterosexual Conflicts in Ghana

ByDorothy Dee Vellenga

chapter Chapter 10|13 pages

The Separateness of Spouses: Conjugal Resources in an Ashanti Town

ByKatharine Abu

chapter Chapter 11|10 pages

Kinship and Cocoa Farming in Ghana

ByChristine Okali

chapter Chapter 13|15 pages

Marriage, Divorce and Polygyny in Winneba

ByGeorge Panyin Hagan

part Part Four|78 pages

Resources and Opportunities

chapter Chapter 14|12 pages

Sex Roles in Nigerian Politics

ByKamene Okonjo

chapter Chapter 15|13 pages

Skill-Building or Unskilled Labour for Female Youth: a Bauchi Case

ByCarol Martin

chapter Chapter 16|6 pages

Conjugal Decision-Making: Some Data from Lagos

ByWambui Wa Karanja

chapter Chapter 17|14 pages

Male Chauvinism

Men and Women in Ghanaian Highlife Songs
ByNimrod Asante-Darko, Sjaak Van, Der Geest

chapter Chapter 18|10 pages

Male and Female Factory Workers in Ibadan

ByCatherine M. di Domenico

chapter Chapter 19|9 pages

Female and Male Factory Workers in Accra

ByEugenia Date-Bah

chapter Chapter 20|10 pages

Urban Contacts

A Comparison of Women and Men
ByMargaret Peil

part Part Five|89 pages

Individualism, Autonomy and Dependence

chapter Chapter 21|12 pages

Houses of Women: a Focus on Alternative Life-Styles in Katsina City

ByRenée Pittin

chapter Chapter 22|17 pages

Gender Relations and Conjugality among the Baule

ByMona Etienne

chapter Chapter 23|10 pages

Avatime Women and Men, 1900–80

ByLynne Brydon

chapter Chapter 24|14 pages

Female and Male Domestic Cycles in Urban Africa: the Adabraka Case

ByRoger Sanjek

chapter Chapter 25|26 pages

Sugar Daddies and Gold-Diggers

the White-Collar Single Women in Accra
ByCarmel Dinan

chapter |4 pages


ByChristine Oppong