This paper examines the persistence of patriarchy and traditional cultural practices which have adverse effects on women’s rights and health as well as the growing incidence of spousal violence in Benin City, arising from obvious internal and external factors of social changes. Extant literature has documented shifts in family roles and general social transformations in many first world nations as a result of modernization. Efforts to capture such changes within the African space is very minimal as of now. This paper attempts to explore the Benin society of Southern Nigeria, against the backdrop of the cascading effects of human trafficking and international migration that has largely impacted on the contemporary social structure of the ancient West African city. It addresses the nature of patriarchy in relation to Benin society, discusses some of the customs and traditions that have put women in positions of inferiority. This paper concludes that patriarchy, and other cultural prejudices have the potentialities of further deepening the incidences of spousal abuse and family disorganization if efforts are not made to abolish all harmful cultural practices and enforce the legal provisions which protect women’s rights and general well-being.

Author Biography

Dr. Oghoadena Clementina Osezua is a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Obafemi Awolowo University. Ile-Ife, Nigeria. She is a Social Anthropologist and has published extensively in the areas of culture, gender and Women’s Studies in Sub-Saharan Africa, with specific interests in human trafficking, gender -based violence, migrant women in the global South and changing family structures occasioned by gendered migration in Nigeria. Email: tinaosezua@yahoo.com.

Henry N. Agholor is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Obafemi Awolowo University. Ile-Ife, Nigeria where he is studying Social Anthropology. His core areas of research interests include interrogating the role of religious institutions in perpetuating patriarchal ideologies. Specifically, he is passionate about researches which focus on culture and gender-based violence in Nigeria.