• Omotayo, O. A.
  • Fasoro, J.O.
Keywords: Morality, Gender discrimination, Widowhood rites, Female genital mutilation, Preference for male children.


Most cultures of the world, especially in Africa, still retain some practices that are inherently inimical to human, social and economic development. Yoruba culture is not an exception. The cultural practices among the Yoruba people that are the focus of this paper relates to gender discrimination which manifests in female genital mutilation, widowhood rites and preference for male children. This requires critical engagement because it borders on the denigration of the humanity of the feminine gender. This paper agrees with Kant that humans, women inclusive, should be treated not as means to an end but as ends-in-themselves. One of the defining characteristics of humans is rationality. As rational beings, women have inalienable rights that the society has a moral obligation to enforce and protect. However the work reveals that the patriarchal nature of the Yoruba culture denies women of their rights and that the treatment of women was grounded in certain narratives that are not rationally well-founded. It is therefore argued that following Kant, there is the need to recognize the humanity in women and preserve their rights and dignity in the society. In other words, the rights of women are sacrosanct and ought to be accorded equal respect as those of their male counterparts. The paper concludes that there is the urgent need for the deconstruction of the narratives surrounding these harmful practices so that women may be accorded proper treatment in the society