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Title:Muslim women traders of Northern Nigeria: Perspectives from the city of Yola
Author:VerEecke, CatherineISNI
Book title:African market women and economic power: The role of women in African economic development
Editors:House-Midamba, B.
Ekechi, F.K.
City of publisher:Westport
Publisher:Greenwood Press
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Northern Nigeria
Abstract:Many studies have demonstrated that married Hausa women in northern Nigeria often earn a sizable income from petty or large-scale trade while participating in the Islamic institution of 'purdah', in which they must remain secluded in the house. The present paper addresses the question of how widespread the practice of 'hidden trade' is in northern Nigeria outside Hausaland. After a comparative summary of the data on Hausaland, including a discussion of the factors that condition the women's decision to trade, the author presents the results of a survey conducted in 1988 among 107 Muslim women from the ethnically heterogeneous city of Yola, in which Hausa are numerically and economically significant yet are outnumbered by the Fulbe and members of other ethnic groups. The research shows that 'hidden trade', having been adapted to and shaped by local conditions and traditions, has indeed become a viable economic activity in Yola, particularly today when, as a result of the economic crisis, most women have difficulty managing on the incomes provided by their husbands. Many of the differences between the 'hidden trade' of Yola and that of Hausaland can be explained with reference to the cultural peculiarities of the Yola Fulbe, who have an aversion to active trade. 'Hidden trade' would appear to be a viable enterprise for targeting by development planners. Notes, ref.