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Women travel in the back of a truck in the town of Mararaba, after the Nigerian military recaptured it from Boko Haram, in Adamawa state May 10, 2015. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye - RTX1CDBW

Women in the back of a pick-up truck | REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye – RTX1CDBW


Women in Rural and Urban Contexts

July 2017

At a time of rapid urbanisation, Nigeria, like countries around the world, is witnessing significant change in how we live, what we do for employment and leisure, and how we relate to one another. Gender roles and attitudes are changing, as opportunities abound for many women like never before. Yet urban living also presents new challenges, and new forms of injustices.

In this collection of 15 resources, we look at the dynamics, trends, and differences that relate to women’s experiences in rural and urban areas, and how and why women navigate between this inter-dependent, but in some ways increasingly polarised, system. Understanding the complexities involved is vital if we are to mitigate risk and ensure that this fast-moving, transformational period of change is inclusive and just for all.

In this collection:


How do women's experiences and every day life differ between rural and urban contexts, and what challenges remain shared? What linkages and inter-dependencies exist between rural and urban systems, and what role do women, as migrants, entrepreneurs, and family members, play in these complex dynamics?


What health issues and occupational hazards do women in rural Nigeria face, and what can be done to better serve and empower women in remote rural areas? Women's representation is one answer, and successful efforts in Zimbabwe to promote women's participation at the local government level may hold valuable lessons.


What new opportunities and challenges are presented by urban living, with its greater diversity and density of people? How and where is patriarchy reproduced in urban environments, and what needs to be done to make cities more gender-sensitive and safe for women?

Infrastructure & Services

In the face of increasing demand for food, what can be done to develop agricultural and rural infrastructure to increase productivity? Women represent an untapped opportunity, not just in agriculture, but across the Nigerian economy; could gender-responsive and accessible mobile financial services play a part in empowering women?

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3 comments on “Women in Rural and Urban Contexts


    I think it is good to engage men in gender equality. This is because there are only two genders – men and women -and none can do without the other in all fields,of human endeavor. So, women are men’s alter ego. This will make for a better relationship in both private and public spheres and a more humane and progressive society and international community, anchored on achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


    The lives of women in rural and urban contexts is sharply contrasting. Statistics show that there are more women in rural than urban areas. Statistics also show that feminization of poverty in terms of income, power and dignity is more real in rural than urban contexts. Women in rural areas are like beasts of burden, without voice and power, and so look up to their counterparts in the urban area for a better deal. But in all, both women in urban and rural areas suffer avoidable deprivations from the male dominated society. Yet, women contribute so much to both the formal and informal economy including agriculture. There is need for a paradigm shift for a better and progressive society. Indeed, we need women’s contribution to achieve the Sustainable Development goals

  3. Rukayyatu Gurin says:

    Engaging men towards promoting gender equality in Nigeria is important in disabusing the minds and perceptions of men against gender equality. Gender equality in Nigeria suffers set backs because of some traditional societal norms that promotes stereotyping hence advocacy is important. On the majority, men perceive gender equality as threatening to their ego and even roles in the family and soeiety. Through engagement, Men’s low perception of gender equality can be improved upon. Education is key and advocacy is equally vital to the sensitazition process. On the other hand, women should be given more education and opportunities to justify their capacities to consolidate their equal roles to men. Rather than viewed as daughters, wives, mothers and sisters , education and advocacy can be used to influence men’s positivity and respect to equality.

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