Are unmarried women still treated as outcasts in rural communities?

Use this forum to discuss the January 2018 Book of the Month, "And Then I Met Margaret" by Rob White
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Are unmarried women still treated as outcasts in rural communities?

Post by LoisCHenderson » 31 Mar 2018, 23:36

White's recall of "old maids" being treated as social pariahs in the mill town where he grew up made me wonder: are unmarried women still discriminated against in relatively small, agrarian-based communities? If so, how is this reflected in the literature emanating from such areas? Please, where possible, give examples of such. As we on OnlineBookClub come from a vast range of cultures, it would be fascinating to see whether this phenomenon differs from one place to another.

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Post by Alex Asante » 01 Apr 2018, 02:50

Yes unmarried people are still treated as outcast in the rural communities. The reason is because in ghana(prampram) age matters much in marriage so if you stay in the community for long and you are not married people see you to be
1. Being not able to give birth
2. Irresponsible person
3.over dependent on parents
4. Not hardworking
This and more are the reasons why unmarried people are treated as outcast in rural communities.

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Post by LoisCHenderson » 01 Apr 2018, 05:41

Alex Asante wrote:
01 Apr 2018, 02:50
Yes unmarried people are still treated as outcast in the rural communities. The reason is because in ghana(prampram) age matters much in marriage so if you stay in the community for long and you are not married people see you to be
1. Being not able to give birth
2. Irresponsible person
3.over dependent on parents
4. Not hardworking
This and more are the reasons why unmarried people are treated as outcast in rural communities.
That's really fascinating, Alex. In western society, on the whole, single women are regarded as especially hardworking, as many have to hold down more than one job to make ends meet, especially if they have dependents whom they must support. Thanks so much for sharing!

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Post by Acwoolet » 02 Apr 2018, 08:22

Unfortunately, even in societies that aren’t rural, unmarried women are often treated differently. They might not be treated as pyriahs, but are seen as needed “fixed up” as if they are broken.

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Post by tvess » 02 Apr 2018, 08:55

LoisCHenderson wrote:
01 Apr 2018, 05:41
Alex Asante wrote:
01 Apr 2018, 02:50
Yes unmarried people are still treated as outcast in the rural communities. The reason is because in ghana(prampram) age matters much in marriage so if you stay in the community for long and you are not married people see you to be
1. Being not able to give birth
2. Irresponsible person
3.over dependent on parents
4. Not hardworking
This and more are the reasons why unmarried people are treated as outcast in rural communities.
That's really fascinating, Alex. In western society, on the whole, single women are regarded as especially hardworking, as many have to hold down more than one job to make ends meet, especially if they have dependents whom they must support. Thanks so much for sharing!
Some of my family lives in an area (in the US) where it's hard to find fully educated people at all despite schools being available, and women are expected to take care of the kids, so a woman with dependents seems to be expected to rely on someone else to have a source of income. This tends to be parents, a husband, or just some guy that wont commit. The third option seems acceptable because of the idea that the marriage will happen "eventually", and I don't know the people involved well enough to know if there's a difference in how they're treated in this situation.

Even when they manage to find a source of income on their own, people seem to think they're neglecting the kids at that point (though I have heard no one judging them for not sending their kids to school, which would have really solved multiple problems...).

I don't know the community well enough to know what happens if you just don't have kids. (Though certain people in the area have said I'm going to go to hell for being left-handed, and some Christian viewpoints claim that you are selfish if you aren't having kids "like God intended", so I really don't have that much hope for this).

I'm glad I live in the city, where it's more like you described with single-people being hardworking.

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Post by Sanyesto » 03 Apr 2018, 01:48

Unmarried women are treated as outcast definitely, at least, here in Kenya. Some of the reasons leading to this could be : because they as seen as not willing to take wife responsibilities, are uneducated or they unable to sire children.

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Post by LoisCHenderson » 03 Apr 2018, 01:57

Acwoolet wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 08:22
Unfortunately, even in societies that aren’t rural, unmarried women are often treated differently. They might not be treated as pyriahs, but are seen as needed “fixed up” as if they are broken.
And, in fact, due to domestic violence and other trauma, many married women could be seen as 'broken'...

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Post by LoisCHenderson » 03 Apr 2018, 02:02

Sanyesto wrote:
03 Apr 2018, 01:48
Unmarried women are treated as outcast definitely, at least, here in Kenya. Some of the reasons leading to this could be : because they as seen as not willing to take wife responsibilities, are uneducated or they unable to sire children.
Why should unmarried women be regarded as being uneducated? Surely being single should, ideally, leave one with more time to pursue additional studies? What of the unmarried women who have children, but who, nevertheless, decide to remain single (perhaps specifically to pursue higher education)?

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Post by LoisCHenderson » 03 Apr 2018, 02:13

tvess wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 08:55
LoisCHenderson wrote:
01 Apr 2018, 05:41
Alex Asante wrote:
01 Apr 2018, 02:50
Yes unmarried people are still treated as outcast in the rural communities. The reason is because in ghana(prampram) age matters much in marriage so if you stay in the community for long and you are not married people see you to be
1. Being not able to give birth
2. Irresponsible person
3.over dependent on parents
4. Not hardworking
This and more are the reasons why unmarried people are treated as outcast in rural communities.
That's really fascinating, Alex. In western society, on the whole, single women are regarded as especially hardworking, as many have to hold down more than one job to make ends meet, especially if they have dependents whom they must support. Thanks so much for sharing!
Some of my family lives in an area (in the US) where it's hard to find fully educated people at all despite schools being available, and women are expected to take care of the kids, so a woman with dependents seems to be expected to rely on someone else to have a source of income. This tends to be parents, a husband, or just some guy that wont commit. The third option seems acceptable because of the idea that the marriage will happen "eventually", and I don't know the people involved well enough to know if there's a difference in how they're treated in this situation.

Even when they manage to find a source of income on their own, people seem to think they're neglecting the kids at that point (though I have heard no one judging them for not sending their kids to school, which would have really solved multiple problems...).

I don't know the community well enough to know what happens if you just don't have kids. (Though certain people in the area have said I'm going to go to hell for being left-handed, and some Christian viewpoints claim that you are selfish if you aren't having kids "like God intended", so I really don't have that much hope for this).

I'm glad I live in the city, where it's more like you described with single-people being hardworking.
I take that your "being left-handed" means that you are gay (explanation just for non-English language speakers, of which there are many in the OBC)? Some Christians are very condemnatory, yet the more they condemn others, the less Christian they are in their behaviour - check that out! Often, they are trying to direct attention away from their own actions, while condemning themselves to purgatory or worse (in their own terms). :gay-imgay:

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Post by Sanyesto » 03 Apr 2018, 02:26

LoisCHenderson wrote:
03 Apr 2018, 02:02
Sanyesto wrote:
03 Apr 2018, 01:48
Unmarried women are treated as outcast definitely, at least, here in Kenya. Some of the reasons leading to this could be : because they as seen as not willing to take wife responsibilities, are uneducated or they unable to sire children.
Why should unmarried women be regarded as being uneducated? Surely being single should, ideally, leave one with more time to pursue additional studies? What of the unmarried women who have children, but who, nevertheless, decide to remain single (perhaps specifically to pursue higher education)?
You are absolutely right. I think the society needs to adapt to the current changes and to start seeing the other side of the coin also. Each individual may have their own solid reasons of remaining single as opposed to these archaic beliefs.

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Post by LoisCHenderson » 03 Apr 2018, 02:30

Great to have support - thanks so much!

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Post by New1 » 03 Apr 2018, 02:37

Certainly, yes! I'm a Nigerian, born and breed in a rural community, and currently in one of the major cities in the country, Benin City.

In the rural communities, it's extremely ridiculous to stay unmarried as a woman for whatsoever ever reason, much more the the prevalent culture that prohibits a woman from approaching a man for a relationship - it has to be the man, or it's termed "uncultural". This has led to some ladies being so ridiculed and isolated. Some see them as witches or being possessed by one evil spirit or the other, even by her own parents and family members.

This is however not so different in the big cities. Residing in a public bivvy can be very weird for unmarried ladies. A lot of gossips go on against them. While some refer to her past evil or evil spirit from her village, others refer to her as a harlot. People try to perpetrate a lot of abuses against them because they feel such women have no protection.

So, staying unmarried is still a very demeaning factor for women in my part of the world, Africa in general, and Nigeria, to be more specific.

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Post by LoisCHenderson » 03 Apr 2018, 05:54

New1 wrote:
03 Apr 2018, 02:37
Certainly, yes! I'm a Nigerian, born and breed in a rural community, and currently in one of the major cities in the country, Benin City.

In the rural communities, it's extremely ridiculous to stay unmarried as a woman for whatsoever ever reason, much more the the prevalent culture that prohibits a woman from approaching a man for a relationship - it has to be the man, or it's termed "uncultural". This has led to some ladies being so ridiculed and isolated. Some see them as witches or being possessed by one evil spirit or the other, even by her own parents and family members.

This is however not so different in the big cities. Residing in a public bivvy can be very weird for unmarried ladies. A lot of gossips go on against them. While some refer to her past evil or evil spirit from her village, others refer to her as a harlot. People try to perpetrate a lot of abuses against them because they feel such women have no protection.

So, staying unmarried is still a very demeaning factor for women in my part of the world, Africa in general, and Nigeria, to be more specific.
This is a really sad situation. Hopefully, it will improve over time. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

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Post by tvess » 03 Apr 2018, 09:04

LoisCHenderson wrote:
03 Apr 2018, 02:13
tvess wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 08:55
LoisCHenderson wrote:
01 Apr 2018, 05:41


That's really fascinating, Alex. In western society, on the whole, single women are regarded as especially hardworking, as many have to hold down more than one job to make ends meet, especially if they have dependents whom they must support. Thanks so much for sharing!
Some of my family lives in an area (in the US) where it's hard to find fully educated people at all despite schools being available, and women are expected to take care of the kids, so a woman with dependents seems to be expected to rely on someone else to have a source of income. This tends to be parents, a husband, or just some guy that wont commit. The third option seems acceptable because of the idea that the marriage will happen "eventually", and I don't know the people involved well enough to know if there's a difference in how they're treated in this situation.

Even when they manage to find a source of income on their own, people seem to think they're neglecting the kids at that point (though I have heard no one judging them for not sending their kids to school, which would have really solved multiple problems...).

I don't know the community well enough to know what happens if you just don't have kids. (Though certain people in the area have said I'm going to go to hell for being left-handed, and some Christian viewpoints claim that you are selfish if you aren't having kids "like God intended", so I really don't have that much hope for this).

I'm glad I live in the city, where it's more like you described with single-people being hardworking.
I take that your "being left-handed" means that you are gay (explanation just for non-English language speakers, of which there are many in the OBC)? Some Christians are very condemnatory, yet the more they condemn others, the less Christian they are in their behaviour - check that out! Often, they are trying to direct attention away from their own actions, while condemning themselves to purgatory or worse (in their own terms). :gay-imgay:
No, I literally mean because I'm left handed, as in writing with my left hand. This was brought up to my parents when I was like five, in an effort to "fix" me. As far as I'm aware, that part of the family isn't aware of my lack of interest in guys, and I don't exactly plan on telling them. I can see why you would have assumed that though, given the context.

I agree with what you're saying about Christian behavior. The whole ordeal has turned me away from organized religion, I find it easier to just focus on being a good person instead of following someone's guidelines in the hopes that they are being a good person.

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Post by LoisCHenderson » 03 Apr 2018, 09:46

Oh dear, my mistake (sincere apologies [and in the meantime have outed myself!]), but that's at least because I've always heard that left-handed people are more creative and intelligent than right-handed people. I think that regarding left-handedness as an aberration is just because unenlightened people tend to be afraid of anything that is different to themselves. I would feel greatly honoured to be left-handed - you should count yourself fortunate!

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