Giwa, Limota Goroso (2015) A Qualitative Exploration of the Experience and the Impact of HIV/STIs Among Polygamous Women in Muslim Society of Nigeria. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The rationale for this study was developed from the personal and professional experience of the researcher living in a Muslim community in Nigeria where HIV/STIs are major health and social care problems. Most literature reviews on HIV/STIs and polygamy in Nigeria and in sub-Saharan Africa, have focused mainly on case studies and surveys.
This study explores the experience and impact of HIV/STIs on Muslim women living in polygamous marriages in Nigeria. The objectives of this study are to explore their perceptions, knowledge and awareness of HIV/STIs, examine the effect of polygamy and identify factors to empower Muslim women to protect themselves.
The study adopts a qualitative approach, consisting of one-to-one in-depth interviews, within a feminist framework, with 20 women living in polygamous marriages in Nigeria. The qualitative approach was valuable because the words of the women who live in polygamous relationships cannot be quantified. A narrative, descriptive approach to the one-to-one in-depth interviews helped the researcher to listen and to describe their perspective; this was necessary because it is about their lived experience in polygamy. Using feminism, as the theoretical framework, offers an understanding of how polygamous women can be understood in relation to the dominant ideologies existing within a particular socio structure and it provides the lens to review the situation and suggest the necessary changes. The extract from the interview transcript was used to illustrate how the polygamous women’s accounts were explored in their own vernacular ways of speaking. Through the use of thematic analysis ten themes emerged.
Ten themes were initially identified and four concepts finally emerged after coding and recoding of the similarities. These are the four concepts that emerged. They are; Education, Testing, Condom usage and an Economic empowerment (ETCE) approach. This means that there is a need for education, especially sex education as well as economic empowerment. The women’s accounts in this study area highlight the problems that polygamous women frequently experience such that, they cannot negotiate their sexual needs and cannot refuse their husbands taking on additional wives, within this kind of marriage system. The knowledge systems of polygamous women were evaluated and positioned in terms of women’s subjectivity and experiential knowledge.
This study reveals that polygamy creates asymmetrical positioning, such asymmetrical positioning creates unequal power positions, not only among spouses, but among the co-wives within the polygamous marriage. The ways in which these social relations are negotiated and experienced are shaped by religion and traditions. This study also reveals that power and gender issues are critical factors in disempowering polygamous women, as they appear to be voiceless on issues that affect them in their polygamous marriage. Therefore, this means that there is a need for sexual education and for an improvement in the socio-economic status of women.
Power and gender issues are critical factors in subordinating and disempowering polygamous women in their community; they are voiceless on their reproductive rights and limited in their option to control the spread of HIV/STIs. This study therefore, calls upon policy makers in Nigeria to consider these four concepts of Education, Testing, Condom Use and Economic empowerment (ETCE), as identified in the study, to help enhance the issue of economic empowerment of the polygamous women. Also this is to say that a window of opportunity exists; planners should develop partnerships with religious and community leaders to change the detrimental behaviours of polygamous men and women on issues of prevention and the control of HIV/STIs.

Limota_final_read_from_21st_July_2015_for_submission.pdf - Accepted Version
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