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Asserting Agency by Negotiating Patriarchy: Nigerian Women's Experiences within University Administrative Structures

Philomina E. Okeke-Ihejirika


This paper focuses on how African women negotiate the administrative structures of universities as subordinates as well as agents, based on three Nigerian examples. Gender relations within these institutions capture the unequal social status that formal education usually confers on women and men along with its cultural and colonial inscriptions. But as disenabling as this tertiary academic terrain might be, Nigerian women still find ways to negotiate power and mobilize agency in order to enhance their status. This case study exposes the various ways that women creatively interact with a fundamentally patriarchal structure to navigate varying configurations of power in a public space where their presence remains a transgression to established norms. It also suggests conclusively that women’s qualified status and limited participation in decision making could undermine efforts to transform Nigerian universities.

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Published by the University of Florida Press on behalf of the Association of Global South Studies.