Growing up a Nigerian Woman: Interview with Ijeoma Victoria Ufomba

Ijeoma is a Nigerian born student studying pre-med at St. George’s University in Grenada. Initially aspiring to become a surgeon, Ijeoma passions has developed and expanded in the area of art. She is still figuring out her path but in the meantime, she is a foodie who enjoys trying out new things, cooking, and educating herself. She also models and at the moment is channeling her creative energy into wig making.

What were the stereotypes, roles and cultural expectations of women in your culture growing up? 

I grew up in Nigeria, and like most parts of the world today, our culture is deeply rooted in gender inequality. As soon as your parents decide you’re old enough, everything they teach you from that moment is for “WHEN you get married”. At a very young age, girls are groomed and trained to aspire to marriage, and almost nothing else. We were given more responsibilities and couldn’t afford to make the same mistakes our male counterparts made. If at 15, a girl is unable to cook, clean, and take care of your siblings, then they (her parents) have failed at raising a daughter or a “good wife”. “Is this how you will ____ in your husband’s house?” This question comes after every task you didn’t do correctly.

Also, we were always taught to be sexually responsible. So many times I heard “don’t let a boy/man touch you” “always cover yourself, you dress how you want to be addressed” “my virginity, my pride.. don’t let any boy/man TAKE it, save it for your HUSBAND” but I never heard anyone teach boys about consent or say to them “just because she’s in a mini skirt doesn’t mean she’s asking for it” or “Save your virginity until marriage/save yourself for your wife” . Girls are taught that sex is something that is taken from them and they were no longer deemed worthy if they “gave it away”. 

Even in jobs, we are allowed to work, but not make too much money, or not accomplish too much, to the point where your spouse or male co-worker feels threatened. “How can a woman be earning that much? Who do you want to marry you?” Why does everything (and I cannot stress this enough) have to tie back to marriage?

Have you observed a difference in gender roles in your culture vs. other cultures?

I think it varies, but the stereotypes are definitely still there.. Especially in different countries around the world where women are still not allowed to work certain jobs or do certain things because of cultural norms.

Have your views on what a woman’s role in society is, changed since you’re able to consider it on all levels at this point?

Definitely, I think a woman is more than capable to accomplish everything a man can, and even more.. but society wants her to think otherwise, which is why they try to shrink her.

Do you think there is a relationship between gender and culture?

I think that many cultures around the world today are built on patriarchy and this idea that men are a superior gender and at some point, we were all conditioned to think this way.

You can connect with Ijeoma on IG @flawlysstori.

One response to “Growing up a Nigerian Woman: Interview with Ijeoma Victoria Ufomba”

  1. […] The Nigerian Woman: Interview with Ifeoma Victoria Ufomba […]

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