This paper examines the nature of gendering work among youth living in two oil-producing communities, Gelegele and Ogulagha of Nigeria, and its implications on youth sexuality, in terms of their perception and use of condom and HIV/AIDS. Data collection techniques used includes observation and in-depth interviews with ten youth from Gelegele and fifteen youth from Ogulagha, from January to April 2003. A total of 25 youth, fifteen females and ten males, participated in this data collection. Prior to each interview, we obtained verbal consent from volunteers. Data analyses started with verbatim translation and transcriptions. Transcriptions were read and re-read several times to identify the major themes and content analysis undertaken by the researcher. We obtained records of timeline for the economic activities of consenting youth. It was found that gendering work in these communities led to more female youth in the traditional occupations of trading, fishing and commercial sex work, while male youth with or without formal education either worked in the oil servicing companies or were on “standby” pay. Male youth earned higher income, which privileges males and reduces the power of female youth to negotiate sex and condom use. It was concluded that Empowering youth through formal education and equal job opportunities in these communities will promote quality of life by discouraging exchange of sex for wealth and promoting the use of condom.
Key words: Gender, work, youth and oil-producing communities, Nigeria.
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