Women in Niger

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Women in Niger
1997 275-15 young Wodaabe women.jpg
Three young Wodaabe women in Niger photographed in 1997.
Gender Inequality Index[3]
Value0.709 (2013)
Rank151st out of 152
Maternal mortality (per 100,000)590 (2010)
Women in parliament15% (2017)[1]
Females over 25 with secondary education2.5% (2012)
Women in labour force69% (2017)[2]
A Fulani woman from Niger.

Women in Niger are African women who live in or are from the Western African country known as Niger. These women belong to a population in which 98% are practitioners of Islam. Most of the laws adopted by the government of Niger to protect the rights of Nigerien women are most of the time based on Muslim beliefs.[4]

Among the women of Niger are the Hausa women,[5] the Wodaabe women, the Fulani women, the ZarmaSonghai women, the Gourmantche women, the Kanuri women, the Diffa Arab women, the Toubou women, and the Tuareg women. Hausa women of Niger can be identified by their dressing codes in which they wear wrappers called abaya made with colorful cloth with a matching blouse, head tie and shawl.

A public holiday in Niger known as the National Day of Nigerien Women (Journée nationale de la femme nigérienne) held annually on the 13th of May, commemorates a 1992 march by women in Niamey during the National Conference period, demanding greater involvement of women in national institutions. It is a holiday that became a "National Commemoration" on 25 November 1992.[6]

It is estimated that over one third of Nigerien women are in polygamous unions.

Cultural background[edit]

Niger is a country in West Africa. It became independent from France in 1960, and was ruled by a single-party and military rule until 1991. Most of the country has a hot, dry, desert climate. It has almost 20 million inhabitants. The ethnic groups are: Hausa 53.1%, Zarma/Songhai 21.2%, Tuareg 11%, Fulani (Peul) 6.5%, Kanuri 5.9%, Gurma 0.8%, Arab 0.4%, Tubu 0.4%, other/unavailable 0.9%. It is mostly a rural society, and almost all the population practices Islam.[7]

Fertility and family life[edit]

Niger has the highest rate of child marriage and the highest total fertility rate in the world

Niger has the highest prevalence of child marriage and the highest total fertility rate (TFR) in the world (a TFR of almost 7 children/woman).[8] Early marriage is the norm in Niger: 3 in 4 girls are married before their 18th birthday, the highest rate in the world.[9] Maternal mortality in Niger is high, due to reasons such as socioeconomic factors, lack of access to quality medical care, and insufficient number of qualified health personnel.[10] Niger's very high fertility rate is posing a threat to the population's well-being, perpetuating the cycle of poverty and malnutrition; there have been attempts to educate the population on the benefits of smaller families.[11][12]

Women's education[edit]

Niger's literacy rate is one of the lowest in the world, and women's literacy rate is lower than men's. Only 11% of women aged 15 and over are literate (data from 2015), compared to 27.3% of men.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments (%) | Data".
  2. ^ https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.ACTI.FE.ZS
  3. ^ "Table 4: Gender Inequality Index". United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Islam and Women in Niger". The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  5. ^ "The Women of Niger". Worldwide Fistula Fund, Inc. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  6. ^ Commémoration de la Journée nationale de la femme: "Hommes et Femmes, tous unis, pour une meilleure représentation des femmes aux instances de prise de décisions", thème de la Journée. Ousmane Fatouma Saley, Le Sahel. 12 May 2009.
  7. ^ "Africa :: Niger — the World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency".
  8. ^ "Africa :: Niger — the World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency".
  9. ^ "Niger - Child Marriage Around the World. Girls Not Brides".
  10. ^ Garba, M.; Nayama, M.; Alio, A. P.; Holloway, M. L.; Hamisu, B. S.; Salihu, H. M. (2011). "Maternal mortality in Niger: A retrospective study in a high risk maternity". African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences. 40 (4): 393–7. PMID 22783691.
  11. ^ "Welcome to 'husband school'".
  12. ^ "Niger president warns of spiralling birth rate". 2017-08-03.
  13. ^ "Africa :: Niger — the World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency".

External links[edit]