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Determinants and consequences of spinsterhood in Lagos, Nigeria

Favour C. L. Ntoimo, University of Ibadan
Uche Isiugo-Abanihe, University of Ibadan

This paper examines the determinants and consequences of spinsterhood in Lagos, Nigeria. Little or nothing is known about spinsters (never married women age 30 and above) in Lagos. Spinsters are a category of women whose experience of singlehood differs qualitatively from the experience of other single women. They have experiences that provide the much needed indication on reasons for marital postponement and non marriage; and are more likely to experience the stigma associated with non marriage. The empirical data is based on findings from a research on spinsterhood. In-depth interview with 25 spinsters, 7 Focus Group Discussions and 4 Life History interviews with spinsters reveal how persistent patriarchal structures, widespread marriage and family ideology intermingle with modern, cultural and personal factors to foster spinsterhood and stigmatization of spinsters in Lagos. This paper contributes to existing literature on cross-cultural understanding of singlehood.

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Presented in Session 102: Gender inequalities in demographic outcomes