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Book chapter Book chapter
Title:'Seek for knowledge, even if it is in China!': Muslim women and secular education in Northern Nigeria
Author:Werthmann, K.ISNI
Book title:Africa, Islam and development: Islam and development in Africa - African Islam, African development
Geographic term:Nigeria
Abstract:The article outlines the difficulties of introducing Western education for girls in northern Nigeria during colonial rule, and discusses aspects of secular and religious education as seen by women in contemporary Kano. Muslim women who are pursuing university degrees or professional careers have to carefully balance 'tradition' and 'modernity'. Western education or work outside the home are considered improper for women by many northern Nigerian Muslims, because the university or the office are places were both sexes meet, thus potentially violating the rules of gender segregation. In response to popular discourses about women and secular education, female students and university lecturers define education as a religious obligation. In order to justify their activities, these women refer to traditions of female learnedness that were established by the religious leader Usman Dan Fodio in the nineteenth century. They construct an ideal image of 'educated women' who successfully combine religious and Western education in order to fulfill their roles as good wives and mothers as well as being responsible citizens. [Abstract author]