Panel 32

Women, men, language and movement: African language and gender (im)mobilities

Panel organiser: Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju, Department of English, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria.

E-mail: ttobaoju@unilorin.edu.ng

Migratory encounters are inevitably cross-cultural, linguistic and gendered. Language is not only prominent in trans-border transactions, but also in the management of all personal and social interactions in new and sometimes hostile cultural climes. In short, language is the vehicle of passage, of sundry performances of gender and sexuality within and across borders, and of the transformation of gendered consciousness. Embedded in new language ecologies, native notions of gender and sexuality sprout new meanings and trajectories, while gendered notions in host nations undergo complex linguistic transformations. The feminization/masculinization, gendering/degendering of language across borders appears to be a definitive north-south migratory phenomenon which is apt to be investigated.

This panel explores encounters that focus the sociolinguistic implications of migration for Africans, and for Africa, as evidenced in different domains, especially the domains of gender. The panel enquires into how contact languages impact perceptions of gender, and, more generally, how migration impacts the language and practice of gender and sexuality across African borders. The significance of language in the ‘globalization’ or ‘universalization’ of gender norms, in the learning and unlearning of gendered culture, and in the transformation of gender positioning or agency is a crucial undertaking here. We also investigate how notions of gender conflate with migrant vulnerabilities, such as a lower status as migrants, to generate conflicts of gendered identities and create complex ‘home and away’ gender norms within migrant environments. The role of language in the theorization of gender and sexuality in Africa, compared with the global north, for example between African Womanism and Western Feminisms, forms a prominent background to the work of the panel.

DATA SOURCE: The panel welcomes the exploration of language, gender and migration situations in real-life ethnographic settings, as well as cognate narratives in popular culture forms such as drama, film, music and social media.

Approved abstracts panel 32

1. Gendered (im)mobilities and a (re)-construction of femininities in African contexts. A discursive analysis

Author: Lilian Lem Atanga, University of Barmenda, Cameroon.
E-mail: ngwebin@yahoo.com

Migration and digital technologies have allowed for new forms of feminisms and gender identity constructions. These digital technologies have permitted migrant and virtual populations to contribute to the (re)shaping of gender ideologies in African contexts. Migrant populations, through digital technologies/spaces therefore create new opportunities for reaching out, rethinking and reshaping, through (re)linking African gender ideologies to European ones and thereby hybridising a hitherto (traditional) African gender identity. African femininities and gender identities are questioned and reconceptualised through materialisations of identities that challenge and subvert the norm, creating newer forms of African feminisms. 

This paper unpacks (virtual) migration and gender crossings and how new and virtual identities which shape African femininities are discursively constructed. The paper seeks to investigate how new forms of e-participation allow for non-migrants to emigrate virtually, breaking, without physically traversing national boundaries, and reshaping traditional gender ideologies.

Data for the paper will be collected using virtual ethnographic methods. Data is collected from social networking sites. The data is analysed using social media critical discourse approaches (Khosnarivik 2017). We will examine discourses that subvert, challenge or maintain gender ideologies, and present stereotypical or alternative gender identities constructed as a consequence of migration and access to alternative ideologies.

2. Communicating Gender in Diaspora: Migrant African Women in New Zealand

Author: Toyin Kolawole, PG, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand.
E-mail: toyin.kolawole@postgrad.otago.ac.nz

Despite the entrenched nature of cultural norms, cultural changes occur in the long term, although the success of the transfer of practices from one “field” to others varies. Some practices are retained (or modified) while some are not; because peoples‟ actions are “preadapted to … demands” of the structure that created their dispositions (Bourdieu, 1977, p. 279). In my study of African women in intimate relationships in New Zealand, I find that although gendered assumptions of roles and expectations of their socialization continued to retain pre-eminence as the frame of reference for intimate practices, the lived expression of an African identity constructed by them is not linear or simplistic, in spite of what seemed like rigid role boundaries. The participant‟s experiences of enacting gendered norms and engaging with their contradictions in the diaspora created conflict in their relationships. In the process, they employed pragmatism and marginal resistance as empowerment tools in complex negotiations of traditional norms in an accommodationist response to the cultural power of men. Many of them took up traditional practices and put them down as it suits them, even as they resist and contest the traditional norms that pose a challenge to them in their new abode. And these negotiations were sometimes mediated by their counter-constructions of discourses of traditional norms.

In this paper, I examine the differentiated modes of expressions consequent on migration and being embedded in a foreign culture, with particular reference to the migrant African females in New Zealand referred to above. The paper examines how language changes and modifies their perceptions of African gendered relationships, sexuality and kinship ties. Using the interview ethnography and participant observation modes, the paper examines the disposition of participants towards gendered terms and their pragmatic associations back home and in the Diaspora. In some cases, the affects have led to an outright refusal of aspects of African gendered norms, while in some cases they have fostered an ambivalence towards African culture and the adoption of a third space of culture along with its multiplicity of identities.

3. Immigrant Somali mothers’ engagement in their children’s schooling: exploring the accumulation of cultural capital for educational advancement

Author: Doria Daniels, Department of Educational Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
E-mail: doria@sun.ac.za

Since the democratisation of South Africa many Somali families have made South Africa their home, despite them not sharing a common language, culture or ethnicity with their hostnation. Most of these adults come with no or limited formal schooling experience due to their generation having had their access to basic education interrupted by the 1990s war in Somalia. Women migrants‟ vulnerability to discrimination, exploitation and abuse in their host country is most often normalised by their own history of socialisation within a patriarchal society. Gender‟s intersectionality with the social processes of migration was thus important in my conceptualisation of how immigrant mothers engage with their children‟s education. Existing scholarship on parent involvement seems to assume that parents become involved for two primary (and related) reasons: (1) to help the schools to better educate their children, and, as a result, (2) to improve their children‟s achievement. This positions parents as benefactors and their children as beneficiaries of parent involvement in education. This, however, is based on a view that parents are literate and capable of providing educational support. Very limited knowledge exists about how illiterate mothers engage with their children‟s education. A further gap in the parent support literature is the lack of knowledge on the educational benefits that illiterate immigrant mothers can derive from their investments in their children‟s education and the opportunities that this in turn create for adult learning.

I used Critical Race theory to make sense of the five immigrant Somali mothers‟ testimonios, or “narratives of political urgency” (Delgado Benal, 2017) on their educational experiences with supporting their primary school children with homework. Their history of having had their basic education interrupted or denied shaped how, in the new country, they take on their foundation phase child‟s educational challenges. Their testimonios document the teaching and learning struggles that these mothers experience, as marked by marginalisation, frustration, and resistance. It also charts their personal gains and their understandings and awareness of the power of language to access educational networks and educational advancement.

4. Language, Gender and Migration: An Exploration of the Language of Rehabilitation in Nigerian IDP Camps

Author: Adebola Adebileje, Redeemer‟s University, Nigeria.
E-mail: adebilejea@run.edu.ng

Migration happens either by choice or by force. In the north-eastern part of Nigeria, particularly in six states, insurgency has forced people, especially women and children to flee from their homes and comfortable livelihood, thereby becoming forced migrants (IDPs) in their homeland, hence internally displaced persons (IDPs). Although the Nigerian government, NGOs and international organisations provide basic amenities to rehabilitate these internal migrants, psycho-social support equally demands great attention as it helps to stabilize them emotionally. This study explores the effectiveness of psycho-social support programmes on the rehabilitation of displaced persons by exploring the dynamics of the language(s) used by service providers to disseminate contents to victims. Focusing on gendered notions embedded in the programmes of rehabilitation in IDP camps, the paper examines the effectiveness or otherwise of the language used in conveying these notions to the women. Gendered notions as female reproductive health services (including neonatal and maternity care), sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), HIV/AIDS treatment for women, feminine hygiene/sanitary needs, survival sex, survival prostitution, etc emerged in the various psychosocial programmes designed for rehabilitation. While English is the main language used in counselling, educating and disseminating other psycho-social therapy programmes designed for rehabilitation, majority of the migrants (75%) do not understand English. This raises questions about the effectiveness of such therapies and the victims‟ right to basic education. It implies that the victims, especially young women, may not have been healed of their psychosomatic trauma. In addition to highlighting how the language issue impacts their understanding, the study also draws attention to the need for the provision of gender-sensitive to military and non-military personnel, social workers, as well as judicial and health personnel involved in the IDP rehabilitation process.

Keywords: Rehabilitation, Insurgency, IDP Camps, Migrants, Psycho-social Support Programmes

5. Climbing to Success: Mobility and the Modern Kenyan Woman

Author: Fridah Erastus Kanana, Kenyatta University, Kenya & Philip W. Rudd, Kenya University, Kenya and Pittsburg University, USA .
E-mail: kanana.fridah@ku.ac.ke and prudd@pittstate.edu

This paper explores gender stereotyping and the consequences for women‟s mobility and career advances in Kenya. In Kenya, the recent academic year 2017-2018 was declared the year of the woman. Half or more of those who migrate to Nairobi from rural areas in search of employment are women. Kenyan women are today better educated, more employed, and are achieving higher career heights than ever before. However, as the women reach new heights, they experience new challenges; in fact, women as employees are, more than men, likely to have experienced gender related obstacles that others hardly observe or appreciate.

The purpose of the paper is to provide an examination of current perspectives of women‟s mobilities and what it takes to climb to success in Nairobi. The design of the paper is a sociocultural linguistic analysis of gender differences from the perspective of women attempting a climb to success. In spite of all the hype about the success of women in rising to new levels of career advancement, Kenyan women still do not attain the positions equal to those of Kenyan men. The paper provides linguistic evidence that while modern women in Africa have the skill-sets and determination required to achieve superlative advancement in lifetime careers, they are often rendered immobile for reasons associated with gender. This paper therefore adds further to the research on gender, women, and language in the work place, and it may well encourage potential educators, employees, and employers to pay a closer attention to the resilience and enormous potential of women who are struggling to make it in the tough world of career competition.

Keywords: Gender, Women, Stereotypes, Gender Roles, Social Mobility, Postcolonial, Slay Queens, Sheng

6. Rural-Urban exodus, Pragma-rhetorical codes and male-dominated discourses

Author: Comfort Ojonkpot, University of Buea, Cameroon.
E-mail: comjohnson@yahoo.com

Ejagham is both a people and a language. The language is spoken across borders between the Republic of Cameroon and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Apart from being a marker of identity, it is a chief tool of cultural transmission. The Ejaghams venerate ancestors through libation pouring, along with certain communicative styles aimed at influencing the ancestors. However, in bequeathing this age-old traditional discourse form from generation to generation, differences occur in the codes, accentuated by the wave of globalization and cross-border dynamics. This study hypothesizes on the impact of globalization on the pragma-rhetorical discourse of Ejagham libations as a result of „cross-border‟ differences between the rural and urban centres of Cameroon. In other words, there are distinctive differences between the libation discourse practices of Ejagham rural dwellers and those who live in the urban areas, while differences are also signaled between age groups, gender, and rural and urban dwellers, due to the wave of globalization. The study adopted an Ethnographic Descriptive Mixed-Methods design against the background of Critical Discourse Analysis Approach, focusing on pragmatics and rhetorical use of language. It examined different rite of passage ceremonies (births, marriages and funerals) in rural Manyu and in urban settings, making use of audio and video recordings and participant observations. It also subjected elders and family heads in the study area to structured and unstructured interviews, questionnaires, and focus-group discussions. The aim is to access the deep meanings of these ceremonies and the ethnic, gender and cross-border differences in their associated language.

7. Language, gender and ensnared migrancy: Adimora-Ezeigbo’s Trafficked, and other representations

Author: Eugenia Ada Amadi, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu, Nigeria.
E-mail: eugyamadi@gmail.com

Trans-Sahara Migration has become a serious global concern in sub-Saharan Africa due to the potential for loss of human capital for the departure countries. What is not generally appreciated is the role of language as a major instrument for ensnaring young female victims across the continental borders in the elusive search of the proverbial „milk and honey.‟ This study explores the dynamics of the language and its effect in promoting the Trans Saharan Migration of African women, particularly Nigerians. The vivid representation of ensnared migration, and the subsequent trafficking of women across the Sahara, provides a source for a detailed investigation of the language of trafficking. Adimora-Ezeigbo‟s Trafficked is one such representation. This study attempts a close reading and detailed analysis of this and similar representations in order to establish how deliberately structured languages of conviction, deception, enticement and persuasion act as catalyst for the illusory and frequently fatal female migration across African continental borders. Hence, language in this context has negative "perlocutionary effect" (Speech Acts: Austin 1962, etc) in activating the forced migration of African women across borders. The study establishes how language is implicitly and metaphorically used to lure African women into prostitution, servitude, neo-slavery and sundry dehumanization in foreign lands.

8. Physical/Spiritual Migration and Linguistic Categorization of Feminist Tendencies in the West African Europhone Fiction

Author: Babatunde Ayeleru, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
E-mail: tundeayeleru@yahoo.com

Migration as a concept has gained prominence over the years in literary discourse . It is often physical, psychological or spiritual. It has diverse nomenclatures and interpretations, such as mobility, movement, exile or displacement. Feminist discourse, on the other hand, has assumed various dimensions in critical literary analysis. There exist various variants of Feminism such as Motherism, Womanism, Stiwanism, Moderate and Radical Feminism. Other theories, such as Masculinity and Male Studies, have also started gaining currency in literary discourse. This paper purposively selects four writers of different sociopolitical and linguistic backgrounds-Abimbola Adunni Adelakun‟s Under the Brown Rusted Roof, Lola Shoneyin‟s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives (Nigerian Anglophone Writers), Sembène Ousmane‟s Les Bouts de bois de Dieu (Senegalese Francophone author) and IsaïeBiton Koulibaly‟s Ah…Les femmes! and Encore Les femmes…Toujours Les femmes! (Ivorian Francophone writer).The objective of this paper is to examine how physical and spiritual movements embarked upon by characters, especially female, in the selected texts have mitigated or reinforced the language and expression of women‟s deplorable conditions. It also attempts a categorization of feminist tendencies through the analyses of the motives of the movement and the specialized use of language by the selected writers. Adopting a combination of postcolonial, postmodernist and feminist theories, as well as stylistic approaches, the paper interrogates, classifies and ascertains the authors‟ literary approaches to the treatment of different forms of mobility as they affect women‟s conditions. The essay concludes that the authorial and characters‟ linguistic manipulations in the texts are pertinent to the determination of the interface between Migration and linguistic categorization of feminist tendencies in Europhone West African fiction.

Key words: Mobility, Feminism, Postmodernism, Stylistics, Adelakun, Shoneyin, SembèneOusmane and IsaïeBiton Koulibaly

9. ‘We are Partners’: Migration and Gender Role De/Reconstruction Of Northern Nigerian Women Immigrants

Author: Hameed Tunde Asiru, Umaru Musa Yar‟adua University, Katsina, Nigeria & Fridah Kanana Erastus, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya.
E-mail: kanana.fridah@ku.ac.ke and asiruhameedtunde@yahoo.com

There have been several attempts at deconstructing how female sexuality is stereotypically portrayed in Nigerian hip-hop songs and Nollywood movies. This growing attention is clear evidence of a corresponding increase in gender consciousness in Africa. Many of such studies have observed that everything about women has been sexualized, as common objects to gratify men‟s desires (Onanuga, 2017; Aromona, 2016; Adewoye et al, 2014; Oikelome, 2013), which further accentuates the ideology of phallocentrism, in feminist theoretical parlance. On the other hand, the migratory experiences of women (who are the major world migrant population) across geographical borders are marked with sexual assault and other human rights violation bordering on misogynistic tendencies (Adagbada, 2017; Plambech, 2016; Espin, 2006). In this paper, we investigate: (1) Nigerian immigrant women‟s deconstruction of their societal perception which positions their adherence to normative social roles as the yardstick for measuring morality and values in the society. (2) Their construction of new gender roles and sexuality against the core traditional prescriptions. (3) The (socio)linguistic implications of their migration experience. The study adopts an ethnographic approach by examining real-life experiences of immigrant northern Nigerian women through interviews. The subjects were three categories of immigrant women namely: those who moved from rural-urban centers to accompany their spouses who work in the cities; those who left their husbands in the rural areas and moved to the city in search of better opportunities to fend for their families; and those who are in positions of authority.

10. Représentations du genre et perceptions de la migration à travers la musique urbaine en Côte d’Ivoire. (“Representations and perceptions of gender and migration through urban music in Côte d'Ivoire”).

Author: Yves Marcel Youant & Jean-Claude Dodo, Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Cocody-Abidjan Département des Sciences du Langage Institut de Linguistique Appliquée.
E-mail: yvesyouant@gmail.com   and jeanclaude.dodo@gmail.com

En Côte d‟Ivoire, la musique urbaine est dominée par deux genres majeurs, à savoir le Zouglou et le Coupé-décalé. Dans leur expression musicale, ces deux genres font un recours permanent à la thématique de la femme mais aussi à celle de la migration des populations. Entre portraits, satires et histoires vécues, la musique urbaine s‟y pose comme le thermomètre des phénomènes sociaux et surtout comme un révélateur des représentations populaires du rapport homme-femme et de la réalité de la migration telles que perçues dans une société ivoirienne, qui à l‟instar du reste du monde, est en pleine mutation. Cet article observe, à partir du langage qui en découle, les caractéristiques de l‟identité socio-culturelle de la femme en Côte d‟Ivoire, de même que celles liées à la perception des phénomènes migratoires qui jalonnent son histoire contemporaine.

Mots clés: Musique urbaine – migration – genre – représentations

 

In Ivory Coast, urban music is dominated by two major genres, namely Zouglou and Coupédécalé. In their musical expression, these two genres make a permanent recourse to the theme of the woman but also to that of the migration of the populations. Between portraits, satires and lived stories, urban music arises as a thermometer of social phenomena and especially as a revealer of popular representations of the relationship between man and woman and the reality of migration as perceived in an Ivorian society, which, like the rest of the world, is changing. This paper observes, from the resulting language, the characteristics of the sociocultural identity of women in Côte d'Ivoire, as well as those related to the perception of migratory phenomena that punctuate its contemporary history.

11. ‘White woman’s burden’/‘Black woman’s longing’: Mobility and the concept ‘woman’ in African and Western music

Author: Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju, University of Ilorin, Nigeria.
E-mail: ttobaoju@unilorin.edu.ng

African and Western theories of gender and mobility diverge significantly, based on culturally modified perceptions of what it means to be „woman,‟ or „man,‟ in the northern and southern hemispheres. These differing perspectives and the related feminisms reflect a corresponding conflict of gendered identities in popular culture and in lived experiences within the different ethnicities. Migration theory contends that intimate decisions on border crossing are based on „push-pull factors‟ that are connected to economic, social, political, environmental dynamics, and that material lack or material deprivation constitutes a central motivation for migration. However, gendered motivation for migration across the northern and southern hemispheres is also frequently motivated by psychological factors. This is much in line with the notion that “identity requires coherence across contexts” (Dewey, 1938). The search for a fulfilling identity is therefore a non-economic and non-conflict zone part of the dynamics of north-south and south-north migrancy, albeit in differing degrees. This paper considers idyllic representations of female identities in the popular cultures of contemporary African and Western societies as metaphors for non-conflict and non-economic pull factors for international migrancy, in many cases. The paper observes, however, a paradox in which “true womanhood” (Catby, 1987; O‟Reilly, 2004, among others) is draped in different imageries and acquires radically contrasting values across the hemispheres. This paradox mimics 19th century ascription of conflicting values to black and white womanhood, albeit in reverse. Through an interdisciplinary critical and discourse linguistics (Wodak, 2011, among others), the paper examines: (i) how the language structure reflects the conflict of gendered identity across the northern and southern hemispheres and the corresponding ethnic and cultural manifestations, and (ii) how concepts such as the white woman’s burden, black woman’s longing, deracialisation, interracial longing, resistance and postcoloniality are inscribed by means of reference and elision mechanisms in the lyrics. The paper uses iconic lyrical representations of „woman‟ in both hemispheres, such as “I am a woman” by Jordin Sparks and by Mary Sue Englund, and „Obinrin ni mi‟ (“I am a woman”) by Shola Allyson Obayemi‟s among others as primary texts for this investigation.

12. Questioning the Wisdom: A case against Creation of Gendered Limitations through Kimeru Community Folklore

Author: Ann Hildah Gatakaa Kinyua
E-mail: hgatakaa@yahoo.com

Movement out of African countries to the global north is a reality in society today. This movement is mostly motivated by a quest for better economic and social opportunities, though there is involuntary movement necessitated by political reasons. Majority of the immigrants are women. Women in many African ommunities have been socialised to accept a subordinate position to their men and to even downplay their abilities and potentials so as not to be judged as insubordinate. Among the speakers of Kimeru (a Kenyan Bantu language) this acculturation is realized through community proverbs and wise sayings which are a common feature in every day discourses. This paper interrogates the contribution of the community folklore and conventional wisdom towards perpetuating a mindset that limits the feminine expectations sorely by use of gendered language that demeans, limits or subjugates the feminine gender while at the same time exalting masculine expectations. The paper will also explore the experience of the woman migrant who leaves Africa in search of better economic and social opportunities and is plunged into a society which has a completely different mindset and language forms that free and liberate her from the inculcated inferior mindset. Lastly, the paper will look into the conflict the migrant experiences in pursuit of a new identity that reflects the desire to liberate herself from the crippling mindset through revision of inculcated wisdom and language choice so as to achieve in the new environment, without completely losing herself in what back home can only be termed as rebellion. The study will be a descriptive anthropology of migrant experiences judged against a collection of proverbs and wise sayings from the Meru community.

13. Gendered Linguistic Characterisation and Stream of Consciousness in the Migratory Domains of Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah and Teju Cole’s Open City.

Author: Akin Tella, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
E-mail: morakstell@yahoo.ca

In the face of unfavourable economic conditions and other indices of a postcolonial space in disarray, migration becomes an option. African novelists in the diaspora have variously treated the subjects of migration and other related matters like transnationality, multilocality and exile in their literary productions. Critical explorations of such novels have focused more on investigating the emblems of psychic, physical and cultural dislocations in them.They have not explicated the differential presentation of mental dissonances, as reactions of migratory experiences, in male and female characters in the novels in terms of the linguistic resources in the texts. Therefore, this study explores, in comparative terms, the psychic presentation of major male and female characters who are migrants in the selected novels-Adichie‟s Americanah and Cole‟s Open City. It examines instances of streams of consciousness that the characters engage in the novels. The major theoretical perspectives come from the social constructionist perspective to gender identity, William James‟ Stream of Thought Theory and aspects of systemic functional linguistics and cognitive narratology.

14. The Ethnolinguistic Construction of Gender in Dholuo Popular Music

Author: Daniel Ochieng Orwenjo, The Technical University of Kenya & Fridah Kanana Erastus, Kenyatta University, Kenya.
E-mail: orwenjo@daad-alumni.de and kanana.fridah@ku.ac.ke

Every speaker has a wide range of linguistic forms available in any setting and at any time. Both men and women make linguistic choices continuously. Although most of these choices are subconscious, or rather they constitute the ultimate effect of a long process of gender role socialization, these choices are never made in a social vacuum. One of the salient features of linguistic choices is the fact that they are always gendered. Different discourses provide us with an access to different femininities and, or different masculinities. More mainline discourses position women and men in more conventional ways, while more radical ones offer alternative ways of doing femininity and masculinity. This paper interrogates the process of gener construction, through language, in Dholuo popular songs of Kenya. Dholuo is spoken by the Luo of Kenya and belongs to the Western Nilotic branch of the Nilo-Saharan family of languages. Apart from Kenya, Dholuo speakers are found in Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and parts of The Democratic Republic of Congo.Discourses do not just reflect or represent social entities and relations, they construct or constitute them, and different discourses constitute key entities in different ways. However, the question remains how particular language usage by a speech community may ultimately construct gender and gender ideologies. Accordingly, this paper discusses how Dholuo speakers consciously and unconsciously, make gendered linguistic choices that ultimately provides them with access to different femininities and/or different masculinities.

Key Words: Ethnolinguistics, Gender, Dholuo, Popular Music

15. “Redefining Womanhood: Combating Gender Discrimination in Yoruba and Afro-Brazilian contemporary popular music”

Author: Anike R. Omidire, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.
E-mail: anikomi2002@yahoo.com

One of the Millennium Goals for world development is based on gender equality, economic and political empowerment of women. This is seen as a tool to resolve certain world problems like poverty, unemployment, gender inequality as well as a measure to guarantee a universal education for all. The preamble of the United Nation’s Communiqué of 1945 was a reaffirmation of faith in the fundamental human rights, dignity and worth of the human person, placing a great emphasis on equal rights of men and women. However, after so many years of the establishment of the United Nations, it is lamentable to see that all forms of humiliation, oppression and discrimination against women still persist in our societies. In gender relations, women are often seen as inferior to men or incapable of making simple decisions that will benefit any society or individuals. Nevertheless, female resistance and courage in confronting the diverse manifestations of gender discrimination have kept the women on their feet as is evident in different areas of social, cultural and ideological expressions by women. This work seeks to undertake a feminist analysis of womanhood as a weapon to combat gender discrimination in an attempt to see how the songs, "Obìrin ni mi" by Shola Allyson Obaniyi and "Mulher" by Mariene de Castro extol the values of the Ecofeminist theory which can be seen as a direct contribution of Yoruba and Afro-Brazilian women towards the attainment of this Millennium Goal that is represented by Gender Equality.

Key Words: Discrimination, Gender Parity, Human Rights, Inequality. Womanhood

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