African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 188

Full Length Research Paper

Marriage practices and gender role socialization among the Gumuz of Ethiopia

Wohabie Birhan
  • Wohabie Birhan
  • Debre Markos University, Institute of Educational and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Psychology, Debre Markos, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Teka Zewdie
  • Teka Zewdie
  • Addis Ababa University, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, School of Psychology, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 02 March 2018
  •  Accepted: 14 March 2018
  •  Published: 31 May 2018


The Gumuz are indigenous peoples in Northwest Ethiopia having their own unique cultural values and traditions among which marriage practices and gender role socialization are just two of them and this study aimed to explore these practices. The study was conducted in Dibate District, Benishangul Gumuz Region, using inductive qualitative ethnographic design. Participants were adolescent school girls, mothers, elderly women, experts from culture and tourism, and Women, Youth and Children’s Affairs offices and experts from non-governmental organizations. Participants were selected using snow ball sampling techniques. Data were collected from twenty-five participants through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and participant observation. Data collected through these methods were analyzed thematically. Parental beliefs, gender role expectations, menstrual and delivery practices, food taboos, sister exchange marriage, polygyny and females considered as male ‘properties’ were the major themes emerged from data analysis.   The findings of this study imply that there is a need for awareness creation education on gender equality and about the negative consequences of avoiding some types of food items by Gumuz females. 
Key words: Gumuz, food taboos, sister exchange marriage, menstrual taboos.