A Cultural-Institutional Perspective on Widows’ Empowerment in Rural Nigeria





widowhood; women empowerment; indigenous support groups; cultural-institutional theory; utility/opportunity structure theory; aid organisations; human development


This paper examines the empowerment of widows in the context of how they can use provisions from indigenous groups to address challenges facing them in their rural communities. In advancing a cultural-institutional analysis of widows’ empowerment in rural Nigeria, the paper argues that poor widows can solicit the support of indigenous groups to address their life challenges. In this paper, indigenous support groups (ISGs) refer to various local channels of support widows can utilise to enhance their wellbeing in Nigerian rural communities. An exploratory approach was employed in this study, and data were gathered through observation and semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 48 widows in rural communities in Abia State Nigeria. The study revealed various ways the widows negotiated their empowerment by relying on supports from indigenous groups in their communities. The study also uncovered social capital characteristics in the supports provided by the indigenous support groups, which contributed original data to women’s development literature. The paper concludes that for more effective initiatives in widows’ empowerment, the indigenous groups should work in collaboration with other development agencies, as they have a better understanding of the widows’ vulnerabilities and empowerment at the grassroots level.



How to Cite

Nwokoro, C. V., & Igwe, P. A. (2020). A Cultural-Institutional Perspective on Widows’ Empowerment in Rural Nigeria. Gender Questions, 7(1), 21 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2412-8457/7111



Received 2019-11-29
Accepted 2019-12-13
Published 2020-02-20