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An exploration of socio-cultural challenges of left behind wives in Edo State, Nigeria

Adediran Daniel Ikuomola, Adekunle Ajasin University

Studies on left behind families often focus on implications of absent fathers, particularly in areas with historic male migration. Yet, information on the experiences of left behind wives in a patriarchal and familial setting are scanty. This Study explore the socio-cultural challenges facing wives of migrants (Bini women), in Edo State, Nigeria. Specifically it examines the stigmatised experiences and the effect of cultural constrains on women's adjustment to life in the absence of their husbands. Drawing on qualitative data collected from in-depth interviews with twenty-one (21) left-behind wives in Benin, Edo State. The study shows how women are confronted with traditions and the need to readjust their lives amidst cultural, familial cooperations and constrains. Narratives buttressed on the excessive surveillance through significant others and the renegotiation of living arrangements based on patriarchal values and expectations. Life adjustment was described as stigmatic, hectic and demanding in maintaining the home front.

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Presented in Poster Session 4