Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name



Political Science


This study examined the status of women in Southwestern Nigeria from a legal perspective. It scrutinized the three legal infrastructures in the Nigerian legal system. The study is based on the premise that the huge disparity in the socio-economic development of the women in South-western Nigeria is a consequence of inadequate legal protection. Four independent variables were considered, and three intervening variables were identified. Workshops, interviews and surveys were conducted. A document analysis approach was used to examine the three legal infrastructures in the Nigerian legal system—the Common Law also known as the English Law, the Statutory Laws which are a culmination of ordinances, bills, and decrees and the Customary laws which evolved through tradition. The study found that constitutional and statutory laws do indeed provide substantial protection for women; however, some Statutory laws exclude women married under the customary laws. The conclusions drawn from this finding is that factors including but not limited to the inadequacy of legal protection, are key elements to which the socio-economic and political backwardness of women may be attributed. The factors include a lack of gender specific legislation to emancipate women from the shackles of patriarchy; ignorance and lack of awareness of existing protection; biased customary laws which are pro-male and which inhibit the socio-economic and political advancement of women and customs which reinforce gender inequality.


Signature pages are on file with the graduate school. An archival copy of the document is available in the Archives Research Center.