How We Cope: The Study of the Gendered Dimensions of Conflict on Women in the Niger Delta Region

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 8:56 AM
Room: 303
Oral Presentation
Chioma Daisy ONYIGE , Department of Sociology, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Recent conflict events in the Niger Delta region have seen the changing faces of the impacts of the conflicts on the women. There is an increasing use of violence and rape of women as a tool of warfare by both the militias and the State security forces, thereby exacerbating the rise in new HIV infections in the regions. Also a number of women have become widows with enormous family responsibilities to cater for. Thus there is an increase in the number of female headed households (FHHs) in many parts of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria due to the death of a spouse in the conflict. A key argument advanced in this paper is that the women in the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole bear the brunt of the conflict in the region due to their low socio-economic position in the patriachal society. Their limitations and resulting conflicts affect them disapropriately.  Women constitute the most vulnerable group since they have limited access to land and resources, which is a crucial determinant of their access profile. This places women in a vulnerable position in terms of adaptation and resilience to shocks and stresses associated with the conflict. Despite their limitations, the women are not impassive observers of their situation in the conflict, but are active actors in the quest for survival and peace. By studying the gendered dimensions of social conflict, armed violence and peacebuilding we will be able to understand the gendered relationship which goes on from the household level to the general society, and how these relations invariably affect women’s vulnerability to conflict and conflict resolution.