In spite of the evidence that African Women under the post-World War I economy were subjected to brutal exploitation and underdevelopment as much as their male counterparts, Women Studies has remained a neglected theme in the historiography of post-World War I Africa. In fact, Nigeria’s Benin economic and development history typifies and reflects this reality of neglect across all its historical epochs. This study examines the conceptualization and practice of development and its impact on African women, with specific reference to the growth in the oil palm industry in Nigeria’s Benin Province between 1914 and 1938. It finds that African women were a major target of a systematic colonial exploitation under the post-World War I economy. It concludes therefore that the colonizer’s notion and practice of development was one at variance with the development of the African women in the industry. Rather, it, by all intent and purposes, facilitated the development of Britain while under-developing African women in spite of the growth and expansion of the export oil palm industry in Nigeria’s Benin Province.
Key words: African women, development, gender factor, growth, Nigeria, Benin Province, oil palm industry, post-World War I.
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