Article from ROAPE Volume 11 Number 31
Gender & Class in a Nigerian Industrial Setting
This paper examines the relationship between female and male workers in a factory in Zaria. We argue that one of the factors inhibiting the organisation of women as members of the working class is the gender discrimination women face from male co-workers. Although gender subordination is used and transformed by systems of class exploitation, it is often perceived by women as being of greater immediacy than class oppression. This is partly because men utilise gender discrimination to gain or maintain for themselves positions of relative privilege and power. Thus women workers often find themselves alienated from their male co-workers, while the men fail altogether to understand women's reluctance to become involved with or participate actively in what women see as organisations catering to male interests, such as the union. Through an examination of a series of events, opinions and impressions, we shall try to establish why a woman worker would say, and many of her fellow workers agree, that ‘discrimination is not direct from management, but rather f rom ... male co-workers’ (Women in Nigeria Newsletter).