Women were included in such units but not as a separate category.
Research in the north indicated that many women opposed the practice, and tried to keep bearing children to stave off a second wife's entry into the household.
Although women's status would undoubtedly rise, for the foreseeable future Nigerian women lacked the opportunities of men. This process meant, generally, less formal education; early teenage marriages, especially in rural areas; and confinement to the household, which was often polygynous, except for visits to family, ceremonies, and the workplace, if employment were available and permitted by a girl's family or husband.
Women's social role in Nigeria differs according to religious and geographic factors.
Women's role is primarily understood as mothers, sisters, daughters and wives.
Such households were more numerous in the south, but they were on the rise everywhere.
Generally, in Nigeria, development planning refers to "adult males," "households," or "families".Additionally, women's roles are in accordance with ethnic differences and religious background, with women in Northern Nigeria being more likely to be secluded in the home, than women in Southern Nigeria, who participate more in public life.Modern challenges for the women of Nigeria include child marriage A large number of the children work as maids, shop helps and street hawkers.The papers presented there indicated a growing awareness by Nigeria's university-educated women that the place of women in society required a concerted effort and a place on the national agenda; the public perception, however, remained far behind.For example, a feminist meeting in Ibadan came out against polygamy and then was soundly criticized by market women, who said they supported the practice because it allowed them to pursue their trading activities and have the household looked after at the same time.Research in the 1980s indicated that, for the Muslim north, education beyond primary school was restricted to the daughters of the business and professional elites, and in almost all cases, courses and professions were chosen by the family, not the woman themselves.