CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
Throughout history women generally have had fewer legal rights and career opportunities than men. Wifehood and womanhood were considered as women’s most significant professions, and they are long considered naturally weaker than men. Their rights and being are taken for granted. Silence becomes the virtue of women but with education, the silence is broken. Chambers 21st.century dictionary says:
Culture is the custom, ideas, values of a particular civilization, society or social group, especially at a particular time, and the appreciation of art, music, literature, improvement and development through care and training.(P.327)
Reuters .T. reports that; “Discrimination is to distinguish, single out, or make a distinction in everyday life, when faced with more than one option.” For the purpose of this research, the definition of women in chambers 21st century dictionary is used “women generally: the female sex.” (1631) Wikipedia assert, that “discrimination against women is the attitude and beliefs in relation to the female gender that they are less important, such beliefs and attitudes are of social nature and do not normally carry any legal consequences.”
With these definitions, we can therefore define culture and discrimination against women as the cultural practices against the female folks that support men. Discrimination against women has become customs passed from generations to generations. In African, many cultural practices are against women. Women are beaten by husbands and are always blamed for not being able to produce children. Even when it is not confirmed that they are responsible for the marital problems, they suffer for those problems. Married woman could be replaced at anytime by their husbands because culture supports that men could marry many women.
Female children are not always given the best upbringing; they are trained in the kitchen, instead of school. Male children are brought up well because they are known to be the people who will take their family from generations to generation. Therefore, with the use of Buchi Emecheta’s work, The Joys of Motherhood, many discriminatory acts against woman will be analyzed; to signify the cultural practices discriminating against women. Also, through the works of Chimamanda Adichie; Purple Hibiscus, discrimination against women will be identified. Cultural practices discriminating against women have been on for long and needs to stop.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The level of injustice and negative portrayal of female discrimination in the African society and African literary work have lead to a clash between male and female writers
There is also a problem of literary representation of female characters as “second class citizens” who are mostly being denied of their individual and naturally rights.
Equally, in African literary work, female characters are mostly victims of discrimination as an appendage to male characters. Therefore, this research work seeks to investigate the manner in which female children are discriminated in African society as a result of culture.