ABOUT THIS BOOK
Agwagune women in southeastern Nigeria contribute to the cultural construction of their societies in deep and systematic ways. This reality is often concealed, misrepresented, or unexamined in studies that do not consciously set out to address female agency and authority. Most recently women have reshaped traditional male-centered village practices behind the scenes, such as when they updated the premarital ritual of fattening prospective brides, and when they ended female circumcision. Women use their status to direct and influence male leadership on matters of war, finance, education, and political stability.
Using this community as a case study, David Uru Iyam asserts that these women are not stereotypically submissive, oppressed, or passive. Agwagune women participate in male ceremonies by pretending to be unaware of them, concealing their authority under a veneer of secrecy. Instead of focusing on obvious male political power, Iyam highlights the overlooked domestic and public contributions of women that uphold—and change—entire social systems.