Gender and Reproductive Health: Religious and Social Perspectives to Women’s Health Rights in Nigeria

By Idongesit Eshiet.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 6, 2015 $US5.00

The paper assesses the religious and social perspectives on women’s reproductive health rights in Nigeria. Reproductive health deals with the physical, mental, and social well-being of individuals in all matters relating to their reproductive system. Reproductive health rights, therefore, imply that individuals should be able to have a satisfying and safe sexual life, with the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so. However, these rights are oftentimes hindered by socio-cultural and religious barriers. The paper assesses the socio-cultural and religious barriers to women’s reproductive health rights in Nigeria, based on secondary data. The sociological theories of gender roles serve as the theoretical underpinning of the paper. Findings reveal that socio-cultural and religious attitudes have affected women’s reproductive health in Nigeria, thus resulting in high incidence of unwanted pregnancies, abortions, maternal mortality and sexually transmitted infections. The paper recommends value reorientation as a panacea for this ugly situation. This should be done through community participatory approach, in which community members are involved in decision-making in devising culturally and religiously oriented reproductive health programs to meet men and women’s reproductive health needs.

Keywords: Gender, Reproductive Health, Health Rights, Women, Religion

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social and Community Studies, Volume 10, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.25-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 6, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 377.728KB)).

Dr. Idongesit Eshiet

Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria