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Irene Omolola Adadevohunconfirmed user (Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba,, Lagos State University)

Published in juris.philica.com

The disparaging corrupt practices in social structure on gender basis is firmly rooted in the history of humanity, that it is often not perceived as a breech of legality and consequently of civil rights. From the simplest social intercourse to the most elaborate discuss on sociality and the rule of law there are recurrent signals of oppressive rule simply because many societal institutions have remained indifferent to ideologies and legal rules that jeopardize exercise of freedom, justice and rights. The paper is divided into six parts the first part looks at gender philosophy, social justice and the corrupt spectrum of the rule of positive law. The second examines gender philosophy of law against the backdrop of ironies / paradoxes of the supremacy of law. Thirdly the essay critiques the feminization of justice and constitutional blindness to legal bigotry: revisiting the conspiracy of law. On the fourth note it addresses gender advocacy on patriarchal command theories, socio-ethical rules and preconditions for the constitutionalization of the public sphere. On the fifth note it recommends ethics of change and sensitization against social corruption. To engender mutual supplementation it calls for legal existential affirmative action, by hghlighting the error in the structuring of rule of law, which over the years had posed perennial metaphysical situation where the female person is presumed to be entitled to the benefit of the social contract measure of freedom and rights and yet are bound in chains of diverse forms of illegitimacy, injustices and other forms of social corruption.

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Department of Philosophy, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, Akoko, Ondo, Nigeria.  

E-mail: ioaadadevoh@yahoo.com



This research historically and philosophically explicates on the thrust of androcentric desensitisation of women in Nigerian social and legal systems. The study analyses that; the clarion call for any form of poverty alleviation for women at any stage of human development must be preceded by explicit legalisation and implementation of ‘equal empowerment' in strategic social institutions. On this ground, the study focuses more on the place of Nigerian women on the social, political and economic ladder with a view of seeing how this has been legally enforced. And at the same time it will examine how societal belief systems, values, custom and norms have largely contributed to legal conflicts and social tension in sexual categorisation, and role allocation to women in Nigeria. This research examines the problematic encountered in relation to the productive and reproductive rights of women under the traditional paradigms of disparaging domestication and retardation in the ancient and contemporary Nigerian social systems. Based on this, the attempt at exploring the Nigerian patriarchal social order and command structure in terms of connections and interconnections that hedges around both sexual and social interactions will be insufficient without highlighting the strong chord of biological and cultural determinism that tends to underscore the development of the human- woman capital, and which apart from heightening the crisis of personality and sexuality amongst individuals, also brought unprecedented debility to the rule of law. From this construct, the paper therefore highlights that the disparaging corrupt practices in social structure on gender basis is firmly rooted in the history of human sexual stratification, that is often not perceived as a breech of legality and consequently of civil rights. By making use of archival research, historic analysis, review of literature, documents and records, focused group discussion, in-depth interviews, field researches, the study analyzes that from the simplest legal interface to the most elaborate discourse on sociality and the rule of law, there are recurrent signals of oppressive rule simply because many societal institutions have remained indifferent to ideologies and legal rules and have consequently jeopardized the possibility of appropriate exercise of freedom, justice and rights. In view of this the study finds out that gender philosophy as a conscious and propagandist movement critically responds to the onslaught of reclusive right to equality and legality of opportunity and raises questions on the imperative in the strive to actualize the distinctive potentials between the sexes on a neutral and legitimate ground devoid of any discrimination emanating as a result of the debility of the rule of sociality and legality. Against this backdrop, the paper's thematic concern centers on gender philosophy, corruption and the rule of law and makes attempt at interjecting ethics of change into the pragmatics of corrupt practices in Nigeria. It critically theorizes constructively the operations of biased and often silenced aspect of rule of law in relation to gender discourse by raising questions on the appropriateness of some conditions of legality and by envisioning changes in the entrenchment of civil rights for the sexes. As a result, it highlights the error of the social contractarian theory prevalent in the structuring of rule of law in the Nigerian society which over the years had posed perennial socio- political and economic quagmire; wherein particular sex groups are presumed to be entitled to the benefit of the social contractarian measure of freedom and rights and yet bound in chains of diverse forms of illegitimacy, social corruption as opposed to the ethics of gender mutual supplementation



              The disparaging corrupt practices in social structure on gender basis is firmly rooted in the history of humanity, that it is often not perceived as a breech of legality and consequently of civil rights. From the simplest social intercourse to the most elaborate discuss on sociality and the rule of law there are recurrent signals of oppressive rule simply because many societal institutions have remained indifferent to ideologies and legal rules that jeopardize exercise of freedom, justice and rights. The paper is divided into six parts the first part looks at gender philosophy, social justice and the corrupt spectrum of the rule of positive law. The second examines gender philosophy of law against the backdrop of ironies / paradoxes of the supremacy of law. Thirdly the essay critiques the feminization of justice and constitutional blindness to legal bigotry: revisiting the conspiracy of law. On the fourth note it addresses gender advocacy on patriarchal command theories, socio-ethical rules and preconditions for the constitutionalization of the public sphere. On the fifth note it recommends ethics of change and sensitization against social corruption. And to engender mutual supplementation it calls for legal existential affirmative action. As a result, it highlights the error in the structuring of rule of law in the Nigerian society which over the years had posed perennial metaphysical situation where particular sex group are presumed to be entitled to the benefit of the social contract measure of freedom and rights and yet are bound in chains of diverse forms of illegitimacy, injustices and other forms of social corruption.



Gender philosophy as a social cognitive and interactive invention stratifies forms of knowledge concerning human relations. Thus it has amongst its major thematic concerns, fundamental principles of justice, liberation, equality against oppressive rule e.t.c. (Braggon, 1977:12)  The question of justice in gender philosophy is one ethical principle that has not ceased to generate provocative discussions amongst philosophers, and legal practitioners.  Gender philosophy has devoted an extra ordinary amount of attention to it because of the significant role it plays in the society as a cooperative and androgynous venture in human relations especially in relation to how people in society ought to be equally and justly treated. (Grimshaw, 1986). According to Fried, (1964:327) "the concept of justice has always been associated with the notions of equality. But equality is a principle without consequence until a precise context of reference is developed; standing alone it is a merely formal principle compelling no particular judgement, only requiring rational operations within whatever context is given". For Rawls,  (1971:5) social justice  refers to the conformity of an act of an individual or of a whole society to the highest ideals of morality and fairness. This means that it is a set of principles for assigning         rights and duties and for determining proper distribution of the benefits and burdens of social co-operation. In this context, it generally involves appropriate ideas of an individual's right, and a construct of its collective justice as conferred by the rule of law. (Shaw 1992:56 -57)  In accordance with the rule of law on justice, gender philosophy seeks to establish that each person despite the sex, class, race should be accorded equal treatment, and safe guarded from the onslaught of oppressive rule as prevalent in the society.  This imperative stems from the fact that the word oppression depicts rule of exploitation or enslavement in all ramifications, which is the fundamental bone of contention in equitable implementation of rights in both human and social relations. According to Mitchell, (1966: 87, 90) implicit implementation of sexual dualism unfortunately happens to be the foundational form of oppression, which underlies all other forms of oppression. More especially because, the distinction that counts by virtue of physiological differences has been socially and legally exploited to oppress and mete out unequal treatment in gender relations.  Equality by application to the rule of law, is thus a principle intended to guide attitude, so that different people can secure, not cognate human treatment, but similar consideration by rule and law. In striking similitude, legal equality in gender philosophy, as maintained and corroborated by the rule of law is not synonymous with exactness in similarity or identity.  To be legally equal to does not mean to be in absolute likeness rather that women and men might discover their own unarticulated moralities and perhaps even the nature of their real desire for power in legally un-arbitrary ways (French 1985:484).  The presupposition of equality in gender philosophy and in the rule of law is aimed therefore at erasing sexual disparaging ideology from the human social and legal system.  Gender philosophy explains therefore that equality between men and women cannot be achieved unless we think of the legal genre of sexuality and write the rights and duties of each sex, explicitly as constitutional re-formative measure into the rule of law. (Jackson: 1993:21,22). According to French (1985:486) gender legal equality means, annihilation of dichotomising rule of subordination, sexual caste, because such castes of people are not born sub-human, nor are they designed by nature to serve, or legally programmed to perform non-volitionally.  The authentic argument for liberation in gender philosophy and ‘rule of law' challenges the view that sexuality imposes constraints and limitation to the actualization of human legal rights.

Against this backdrop, theoretical positions in the gender philosophy of law tend to group these legal biases and corruption into tripartite categories - legal positivism, natural law, and legal realism. Legal positivism typically gives formal or content independent solutions to problems of legal corruption; for example, legal positivism tends to regard as legally valid any property of legal rule that derives merely from its formal relations to other rules. A morally iniquitous laws for legal positivism a valid legal rule if it satisfies the required formal existence conditions irrespective of the constraints it encounters. Legal rights according to legal positivism exist as normative consequences of valid legal rules, and in this construct there is no question of the status of the right from the point of view of legal morality arises. Legal positivism does not deny that law cold be corrupted, but assigns the task of treating the corruption to other disciplines; such as - political philosophy, moral philosophy, sociology, psychology, and so forth. Questions of how society should design its legal institutions, for legal positivism are not technically speaking problems in the philosophy of law, although many legal positivist have presented their theories about such questions. (Audi 2000:590, Paton 1976: 66). Legal realism, especially in its contemporary politicized form, sees the claimed role of the law in legitimizing certain corruption imposed by virtue of gender, ethnicity, or class interest as the prime salient property of law for theoretical analysis. It questions the determinacy of legal rules or of legal interpretation or legal right as having value only in explaining the political power of law and legal systems. Natural law theory, on its part would regard the question of whether a constraint in law was consonant with practical reason, or whether a legal system was morally and politically legitimate. The theory would regard the relation between a legal system; liberty or justice as in whole or in part determinative of the normative force and by such procedural measure gives justification the ethical systemization of laws. (Audi, 2000:590). 

   Viewing problems in gender philosophy and rule of law from the ethical and philosophical perspective, there is a convergence of opinion that the society or indeed any individual has no ethical basis for segregation of the sexes within social instrumental framework of existence. (Ruth, 1980:33). Rather gender philosophy and rule of law, emphasises the dignity and equality of every human being. From this premise, there is a provision of form of categorical material, positioning that maintains that individuals should be treated as ends in themselves and never as a means to the end of others. This objects to any form of legal exploitation and corruption of the individual's social and legal rights, howbeit implicitly.  By this rule of law, every individual is equal and should be given equal opportunity to strive and achieve their personal goals in social institutions. Thus any form of legal imposition placed on the ethical rights of an individual constitute corrupt acts of injustice of inequality and of oppression. In similar vein laws that infringes on the right of individuals or deprive them of their self realisation and group collective happiness in society should be reformed.  Gender philosophy in conformity with the rule of law operates through constitutional activism and campaign for equality and fairness between the sexes, by advocating that the society should provide neutral ground or unbiased legal environment for women and men to strive and prove their worth rather than outrightly passing a judgement on a specific sex as inferior and as such insignificant. (Bryson 1992:7).

 It is note worthy at this juncture to point out that on large and important subjects that affect gender relations in daily lives, in term of education, crime, punishment, labor, health and general social security, the constitution remains ambiguous and as such fails to acknowledge the social corrupt spectrum of the rule of positive law and of its constituted authority (Carey, 1990:22). Hence corruption in gender philosophy refers to all forms of improper or selfish exercise of power and influence attached to legal, public as well as private human relations within social institutions. It embodies  the perversion of sexual integration through  the modalities of constitutional omisson and ambiguity of law, preferential discrimination,  moral depravity and societal impurity.(Frye, 1995:18). Corruption can thus be narrowed down to all forms of legal default, denial and deprivations such as deprivation of gender and social justice, sexist and sectional conferment of citizenship and residency rights, the discriminatory tendencies of quota system in education, sexual restriction to adequate housing and work, lack of consideration for the grant of special rights to gender related health care, gender specific cultural inhumanities. These becomes even more gruesome when coupled with other forms of social corruption, such as the asking or taking of fee, gift, or favour in perversion or the performance of an illegitimate task, hoarding of information, illegal arrests for harassment or intimidation etc.

       Corrupt practices in gender relations within the Nigerian society are a tripartite distinction. On the first note there is the private centered corruption, which refers to misappropriation of social institutional privilege to boost ones own individual and private purpose and to gratify one's own group identification especially the members of ones sexual and domestic group. Public oriented corruption projects the private aspect to public sphere, by pointing out how there is a gross misappropriation of public resources to favor bio-ethically a group's interest. (Leroy, et al: 1994). On the third note the market-centered interest extols misappropriation for economic and material upliftment of one's status. Consequentially it is believed that societies which are relatively free of corruption are premised on respect for sexual and civil liberties, accountable constitutional government, a wide range of legally justifiable economic opportunities and more importantly have well structured political competition.  In contradistinction those that entrenches patronage, clientelism, god-fatherism or god-motherism, bottom power, prebendalism constitute the social institutionalized corrupt spectrum of the rule of law and civility. This is so because prebendalism in gender philosophy rest on institutional patterns of human relations which rest on the justifying principle that social functionalism though competed for nevertheless is utilized for the personal benefit of office holders as well as of significance to their reference or support group.  On another note there is the ambit of corruption that ginger uncivil forms of praetorianism.  Corrupt practices in this guise subsists in praetorian dictatorship, and explicates on a social institutional structure in which there is a stunningly lack of the horizontal relations of gender reciprocity and co-operation which erstwhile could have enforced honesty, trust and lawfulness that indelibly are indicative of the hall mark of legal civility in the community. Preatorianism in gender philosophy means the absence of mediation, refinement and moderation in the exercise of constitutional powers. (Diamond 1995: 418,460). 

Accordingly the pervasiveness of corruption has become so endemic in gender philosophy and aptly refers to rule of human relations in which there is a deliberate subversion of the primordial social system and the attendant norms of equity, altruism and communitarianism.  And since there is a deliberate design to use corruption as an instrument of regime stability and hierarchical order, the allegations of corruption in gender philosophy is endorsed with gross levity.   In a society suppressed by all forms of tyrannical and arbitrary exercise of power, the urge became imperative to enact or institute laws that would curb or perhaps completely eradicate the nauseating hegemony of injustice, oppressions, and other consequences of abuse of power, in order to enthrone peace and stability in socio-political and economic activity. (Riley 1999:142-143)  To bring this notion to full perspective, the general consensus is targeted towards the declaration of the absolute supremacy or predominance of law over all and sundry that is both the rulers and the ruled. This means that those entrusted with the administration of a country should rule or exercise their authority in accordance with the established laws of the land, and such established laws should be regarded as supreme and consequently above the dictates of  ‘gender' and its cultural innovations on social interpersonal practices. In Dicey's opinion, (1985:ix), every law so enacted must exhibit three basic principles that would enhance a fair socio-political play. These features include equality of all men before the law, impartiality, and the grant of fundamental human rights. It seem very plausible that since the rule of law propagates the basic linkage in effective administration of justice in most country's political and social affairs. It is then imperative that adherence to its principles should be endorsed. This prescribes a foundational plea for a just rule, failure of that presupposes a discriminatory act, which in effect can lead to a gross act of injustice and corrupt practice. (Sterba 1997:23).

 Although social justice within the construct of the rule of law differs slightly from one country to another in the degree of its application, nevertheless it constitutes the basic fundamental principle of every nation's political conduct.   It is a principle or rule of conduct so established as to justify a prediction with reasonable certainty that it would be enforced by the courts if its authority were challenged. (Leeds: 1982: 220). Contrarily to this opinion, a look at justice as enforced by law in relation to the propagation of the ideals of its rules and practical application to gender philosophy raises curious question as to its reliabilities in either social or ethical context. The propagation of the rule of law as an effective antidote to wipe off all forms of socio-political and economic hazardous upheavals makes law denotative of successive ethical struggle against tyrannical and arbitrary exercise of power. (Giddens, 1997).  It needs however to be stressed that the rightful application of justice in the rule of law can only be enhanced by good governance and this brings up its ethical orientation into foresight as an imperative that cannot be easily dispensed with. For instance the absolute supremacy or predominance of law over everybody in the land would be rendered anarchical if not backed by ethical leadership and morally constituted authority. This ethical importation is necessitated by the ambiguous nature of law as it obtains in the Nigerian constitutional framework. And for effectiveness, appeal has been made to ethical legal implications, which is mostly engrossed in its natural law setting. Basically given this premise, all forms of arbitration can be curbed where and when the custodians of powers adhere strictly by the rule of law and ethics. Dissatisfaction with the presupposition of law without ethics is inevitable because legal adherence can only be propelled by purposeful ethical drafting and implementation of the law; without undue tolerance of immorality and biases; which imposes ironies and paradoxes on the supremacy of the rule of law that in ways that tends to privatize, backdate, influence, limit, or sidetrack the proper instrumentality of the rule of law  (Lamer; 1978:16).



Gender philosophy of law or general jurisprudence on human relations, is the study of conceptual, theoretical as well as pragmatic ironies and paradoxes of the supremacy of law as it affects the sexes. Within erroneous social psychology this tradition began with Freud (1925/1974), who argued that women's inferior and weaker superego made them less proficient than men and less able in acting as caretakers of justice and law, irrespective of their care given role. Repetitions of this disposition have appeared in some of the most widely accepted psychological oriented theories of legal development. (Lips 1993-371). Gender philosophy of law critically analyzes the problems concerning the nature of law with a bid to divesting it of the erroneous gender disparity in social and legal psychology. 

     Problems in the gender philosophy of law fall approximately into two classifications. The first entails dilemma internal to law and legal system such as the nature of legal rules; the conditions under which they can be said to exist and to influence practice; their normative character, as well as their mandatory or advisory counsel. Within this construct gender philosophy of law looks at the  (in) determinacy of legal linguistic construct, the structure and logical character of foundations of legal norms; the analysis of legal principles as a gendered normative group allegiance; and the relation between these normative force of law and coercion. (. (Audi: 2000: 590, Millet, 1970:13)

 In similar vein gender philosophy of law examines the gender identity conditioning for legal systems, and raw explications on when a legal system exists for a sexual group and when one legal system restricts the other sex. In other words it analyzes when gender role stratification starts or ends in legal construct. And in further explicating on this it addressees the nature of reasoning used by the courts and the society in adjudicating cases between the sexes and the justification of such legal decisions. That is, it highlights whether legal justification on the ground of sex is a thorough chain of inferences or just a convenient lumping of norms and decisions on a necessary pedestal for intralegal and extralegal justification. The latter in any case cast curious doubts on the nature of gender sensitivity and legal validity and on what makes such a norm or a belief system validated as a gender impartial law. Against this backdrop of gender fair mindedness, norms of a legal system are obeyed by the norm-subjects. This latter critique the corrupt legal norms through which behavior are regulated, and by which gender gaps are promulgated as the legal rights and the conditions under which citizens posses them. This legal analytical structure as protected by default normative positions gives a form of legal mis-interpretation as a pervasive feature of law, which can only be found in the kinds of adjudication predicable only of corrupt practices in human relations

       The second group of problems in gender philosophy of law concerns the relation between law as one particular social institution in a society and the wider public and moral life of individuals in that society. In this public institutional framework it first and foremost explains to us the nature of legal obligation, whether there is an obligation to obey the law only when certain standards are met, and if so, what those standards might be, the source and authority from which that law is derived; and the conditions under which legal system has political or moral authority or legitimacy. This goes to mean that the functions of law or a legal system in a society are internal to the design of law and to the analysis of the moral functioning of legal systems for the sexes. In other words the legal concept of responsibility accountability transparency and other allied terms have direct relation to gender, moral and social, economic and political justification of legal punishment. For instance a specific sex cannot be blamed for legal impropriety, when he or she is operating under the proper limits or otherwise of the intrusion of the legal system into individual liberty. Gender philosophy of law gives legal reasoning and practical reasoning for gendered law. And by virtue of this practical reasoning in fact tracks legal moralism and justice, to the maintenance of social justice, legal rights and political or moral equality between the sexes. (Walby 1986:9)

Unfortunately biases infiltrates into the tenets of supremacy of law as propagated by the rule of law, although this is most vehemently denounced by its own basic custodians in legal system. Apparently the ambiguous turn out of law and justice, has left a dangling debatable problem to law in its gendered connotation. This has led to quite a number of bias ridden and unhealthy formal conceptualization of law to the extent in which even lawyers defines law as the "rules recognized and acted on by the courts of justice". (Paton, 1981: 66). In essence law might be a rule recognized and acted on, but the degree to which it set out to propagate the ideals of social justice leaves much to be desired. This ambiguous borderline needs to be eliminated to avoid the age long demarcation between law and justice as it is and law and justice as it ought to be in the society. Most certainly the general debility and corruption of the rule of law stems largely from the controversial positions advanced by the diverse schools of positive law. A few of such school's positions elucidates on the drift of law from its justice-oriented aims, objectives and purposes.  Justice from the legal realist perspectives maintained that law and justice are both anchored on a form of sanction that grants a reward for obedience or evoke a punishment for its disobedience. In this view, law is a prediction of the incidence of the public force through the instrumentality of the courts. And as such justice seeks redress to problem pertaining to gender relations not by appeal to facts of life but by appeals to evidences given about the form of rule and arguments. In the command theory of law  "law may be defined as an assemblage of declarative order, conceived or adopted by the sovereign in a state: concerning the conduct to be observed in a certain case by a certain person or class of persons who in the case in question are supposed to be subjected to his power"(Omoregbe; 1993). Austin (as cited in Morris, 1991 335-6) puts it more aptly when he affirmed that the command of the sovereign is the distinguishing characteristics of law. The weakness in taking command as the essence of law or of equating law with command according to Omoregbe (1993) makes law extremely loose, so loose that even the most ridiculous form of command can be regarded as law. Although Austin emphasized that such command must be backed with sanctions which consists in a fear of some evil and the promise of reward. Nevertheless since the community obeys law because of its acceptance while the sanction plays its part in dealing with a recalcitrant minority, the reason for its acceptance lies deeper. What however endears the people to observance of some laws and non- observance of others is their pious sense of morality. (Sandy, 1998 Nielsen, 1962). This is even the more salient reason for the universal consensus in reintroducing the natural law doctrine into the positive law practice.  Momoh (1991: 130) corroborated this opinion of moralizing law as an ideological anti-dote to corruption. According to him, the problem of law is moral in the sense that its practitioners are corrupt. And as a pious and sententious doctrine, moralism can take care of corruption in the understanding that if a ruler puts the interest of the people and the nation first, he would need not be gird about with cruelty or line up his pocket with public fund. Similarly if the ruled thinks of the burden of leadership, the interest of other people and the nation first, he too will not be corrupt and will perform his duty without sanction. In fact the legal ideology of moralism is both conservative and revolutionary. Conservative because it can engender faith in an existing system, but revolutionary in that it permits the people or those acting on their behalf to move to unseat any government which does not consider the interest of the other first.

As a result of this, the gross inequality impartiality and denial of fundamental human rights unscrupulously perpetuated by the sovereign or the custodians of power and authority will have to be redressed. Such inequality has narrowed down the concept of law so much that it excludes several categories of law, such as international law, customary law and natural law, which are universally recognized as justifiably and resoundingly legal. This deeper and broader perspective to the rule of law explicates on the need for recourse to morality in law. For instance it is difficult to conceive of any legal system operating effectively without a sanction in the background; the weakness of international law illustrates this. But once a community is taught to observe the ethical rationale for instituting the rule of law, they will have to be gender sensitive in matters pertaining to justice, equity and social change which are preconditions for the constitutionalization of the public sphere  even though there is no particular sanction attached to its negligence (Dicey, 1985: X). Del Vecchio (as cited in Paton, 1976 72) suggests on this note that, "those who define law in  terms of the state should be forced to study history before writing jurisprudence" because the command of the Sovereign implies in many senses the corruption of absolute legal power as operational from the perspective of seared legal conscience. The anthropologist argued that law should be defined by function rather than form and paradoxically they did not spell out the appropriate function of Law. And as such the argument for law by the part it plays in the life of the society rather than by the method of its creation cannot be sustained where there is no specification for such functionalism in law except if we just maintain that law can be truly understood only if it is regarded as one of many means of social control. Although many legal anthropologists seems to agree on one point of view that law should be devoid of any egoistic claim to power, historical accident, or being narrowed down to the state or the sovereign. This however is not a denial of the important role played by the sovereign in the enactment of law. Neither is it a presupposition that there is no law where no sovereign exists. The problem however consist in how effectively these laws in and the allusion to sovereignty have helped in bringing to effect its main purpose and task of alleviating chaotic, unequal, impartial co-existence among the people it rules. This is because in many cases than one, the farcical rule of law has demonstrated a wide range of defiance against its very own precepts. In gender philosophical perspectives analysis on the conspirator nature of law itself has ways in which legal institutions are systematically unjust, preserving patterns of inequality irrespective of the motives or intentions of those who administer the laws. This possibly boils down to be inadequacies of legal systems, especially its deficiency in safeguarding and securing the total range of socio-political lives of citizens within a country. More explicitly the failure of law to guide the actions of both government and citizens as a required in non-prejudicial justice, law and order is undermined by the forms of feminization of justice and the ironic constitutional blindness to legal bigotry.



           It has been noted over the years that the entrenchment of the rule of law seems to feminize justice and yet turns a constitutional blind eye to legal bigotry. (Lips, 1993: 371-72).  Justice in ideal instance is often depicted as an equitable legal instrument of redress against human social upheavals, to this end Godwin (1995: 181) sees justice as that impartial treatment of every man in matters that relate to his happiness, which is measured solely by a consideration of the lawful properties of the receiver and the capacity of him that bestows.  It has also been said to uniquely involve people receiving their due that is that which they have a right to.  (Stirk & Weigall 1995:181) This strongly implies that unless there are unavoidable reasons, a just society has a duty to exemplify the principles of justice, and can be justifiably criticized for not satisfying its prescribed form of commands. (Bird, 1967:60).

 While it can be said that the symbolic representation of law and justice in the form of a woman presuppose its social, political and economic care role in adjudication, not so much can be said by empirical appeal for the ‘social significance' of the blindfolded woman holding the scales on which human actions and in-actions are kept in equilibrium. The genuine implications of the blindfold and of the female gender says a lot about society's dominant conception of justice as being neutral and of the woman being largely unacknowledged. Lips (1971:371) pointed out that the depiction of justice as a woman is more than a little ironic and paradoxical, since there exists a long history of pronouncements by male "experts" that women are morally inferior to men and less able to develop a strong, clear sense of socio- political and economic justice unclouded by personal emotional bias. And more also since society's formal institutions of justice the laws and the judicial system have been developed and dominated by men with presumption that women will remain perpetually blinded to the bigotry. In this context of prejudice, most custody of law are fashioned to idealize masculine legal attitude and to this end women have had to struggle with this masculine masquerading to be considered equal with men under the law.

In Nigeria, it has proven so far impossible to amend the constitution with gender sensitive words that will erode discrimination on account of sex. It is even more unfortunate that social contradictory notions of justice are formalized into a legal system of laws and courts; such that the traditional conception of justice lift the veil of justice and law to suit masculine whim and caprices. To this end, form of law has been tainted with favoritism, in congruence with gender, economic, social or political status of its inquisitors. Not surprisingly, Lips further observed  (1993: 380) that "formal justice system reflects and even perpetuates the prevalent stereotypes and prejudices about gender. Such biases are evident in the induction of lawyers and judges into the system, in laws concerning the rights of women and men, and in the treatment of male and female criminals and victims who came into contact with the legal system".  Corroborating the constitutional blindness to legal bigotry, the 1999 constitution in relation to gender compositor has largely excluded women. The provisional ruling council that promulgated the 1999 constitution was made of twenty -six military officers, all males. In addition to the language of the constitution being essentially of masculine gender, the constitution also negates the principle of right to health, family rights, i.e. rights of mothers and social justice, by not making clear the rights of women to prenatal and post natal care. In another vein the law renders ambiguous the conditional appending of capacity to the grant of certificate of naturalization. On yet the same note, Section 25-33 gives the man the right to conferment of citizenship especially by marital rules but denied the woman rights commensurate to that exercised by her male counterpart. In another framework, section 29 subsection 4(b) argued for a provision that alludes to oppressive rule in the stipulations that any woman who is married is being deemed to be of full age thereby repudiating spousal rights. In area of social and economic rights: such as right to education, social factoring of quota system vitiates the access to equal educational opportunities and faculties and as such devaluates capacity quotient. Right to adequate housing and right to environment did not take into cognisance the discriminatory corrupt practices that inhibits rental of apartment by single girls and the environmental degradation edifices that constitute hindrances to the female gender functionalism within the predetermined domestic unit. In this guise it makes no explicit rule for prohibition of cultures, customs or traditions, that are against human dignity and life. In all these there is also no clear provision in the constitution affirming gender equality and non-discrimination based on sex. In other words it is not clear as to the extent to which equality of he sexes have been granted by the rule of law. (C.F.C.R, 2001:15-36)

There are so many factors that limit the application of the rule of law, thus inhibiting its successful operation. Ironically however, these discrepancies have tended to subvert good governance. Moreso, as they have become an integral part of the legal system irrespective of their conspiracy and contradiction. Subsequently, equality, impartiality and fundamental human rights have all been drowned in the sea of corrupt rule of law. The conspiracy of law takes a cue extensively from the unabridged connotative indiscriminate tendencies of the command theory, in which all forms of uncontrollable desire for power, discrimination against citizens, arrest of rights, misappropriation of rule, etc. are diverse vices being perpetuated and backed up irreversible by constitutional corrupt rules. With the upsurge of corruption in its multifarious forms, the impartiality of the judiciary no longer holds tenable and the institution of special or administrative tribunals have succeeded in making the judicial system a stooge of the ‘super force' in governance. Sometimes officials in the good record of the super lords are accorded the honorary award and grant of discretional powers which often times are grossly misused to the undermining of the efficacy of the rule of law. And to compound the issue, such custodians of discretional authority are given diplomatic or parliamentary immunity to spread the corrupt practices without prosecution, under the protective guise as government officials. It is no news anymore that someone's position in the governmental hierarchy of affairs does make way for him or her, which tends to make Dicey's equality before the law a hoax. In a society, where integrity is grounded and where the hallmark of dignity of labor holds no sway, it is most certain that the rule of law is on a wild voyage, heading for corruption. For instance, by pattern of economic wealth and positioning, the application of the rule of law and justice can be purchased by the affluent ones. While those stricken with poverty, illiteracy and ignorance cannot face the rude ironies and paradox of denial by the rule of law. These vagaries of corruption leaves one in no doubt why secret trials thrive, why the mass media are obstructed, why tyranny rules, why rights are disallowed and why suffering reigns mischievously. Accordingly many peoples unabashedly no longer takes ‘because it's the law' as a good reason for complying with governmental or constitutional directive. Defiance of the law has spread across the political spectrum from open rejection of court desegregation orders, through massive violation of the legal injunctions against strikes by government employees to systematic principled resistance to the draft. (Wolff, 1971:8) Most regrettably, what has been instituted to safeguard peace, order, harmony and tranquility in the society at large, has sort of become the bone of chaos and upheaval in the nation. Thus making the rule of efficacious law illegitimately unethical and utopian. It is noteworthy here that the legitimacy or illegitimacy of a legal authority is determined by the violent and non-violent modes of political action. When the law so often is unjust, broken and unfair and unequally implemented then it can be taken as a conspirator with injustice and immorality. And because justice is perfect virtue there is an urgent need for social legitimacy and a situation whereby masculine dominance would be toppled and in which many forms of arbitrary and impartial rule of law would be dispensed with.

The point being made is that, cases in which corrupt practices as exemplified by the functional disparity between the sexes have ways of obstructing justice, this in diverse turn enforce the mal-distribution of legal power in such complicated and indirect ways as to leave the observer bewildered. Nevertheless this bewilderment can only be curtailed by a return to the basic foundational route of law, which is law in its natural setting more or less because laws and its application pragmatically cannot be separated from the rule of men. And in situations wherein men at best ordinarily have been paying lip service to the rule of effective laws, corruption cannot be surpassed especially since the ego in man is grossly self-seeking and self-gratifying. It therefore suffices to posit that positive law being the propagator of these malevolent activities, is in want of an imperative to make clarion appeal to morally based laws as opposed to systematic legal system. In order that law might exhibit its good orderly governance as Aristotle posited it is pertinent that it is characterized by the moral virtue of the people. This probably is what Cicero means when he defined law as the right reason applied to command and prohibition. (Morris, 1991:17, 41). This command or prohibition in Thompson's  (1964:16) opinion, does not rest upon an ought to claim, that this or that is what ought to be but rather on the prohibition that there is no other way. In this context the authority of law does not consist in the superiority of one alternative to another but in fact that there is no tolerable alternative to what the law requires.  He maintained that in as much as a tolerable alternative emerges, the command of law weakens. While it is true that alternatives exist for human choice but they exist ordinarily only in the context of law. Destroy that context he says and the possibility of exercising significant choice evaporates. That is the cataloguing of extralegal alternatives makes the authority and consequential constitutionalization of the law of no effect, in that it continues to perpetuate acts of blindness to legal bigotry. Momoh, (1991) sums up this up when he posited that "law is the rationalization, morality and justice of the institution of binding acts and their legislation's interpretation and enforcement, which are all positive". From this premise, law encompasses all forms, of right reason, moral virtue and just act. It is an institution with binding acts that highlights its authority with rules and regulations on the people's conduct thereby making a connection between law and morality. And more importantly, because morality did not stem from any form of arbitrary dialectics of sex or rule, gender advocacy insists on justice, equity and social change as preconditions for the constitutionalization of the public sphere. (Firestone; 1971, Macionis, et al 1998)



Within every framework of private and public life there are diverse socio-ethical rules. These rules are the bolts, which organize the complex behaviors involved in self-organization and social development. They are the human created legal mechanisms in social ethics, which guide, facilitate and strengthen human's ability to work together. (Messner, 1959).  Socio-ethical rules are then supposed to be the midwives of social organizations, which if properly adhered to or effectively interpreted and incorruptibly implemented will be of immense beneficial consequence to the peoples in the society. Gender advocacy argues that corruption of rules distorts the character of anti-corruption values (Petit, P. (1980). Consequently the premium on acquiring social significant positions has become so high enough to justify any degree of inequality, rigging, bribery, and hooliganism in fostering public chicanery. Determining the Subjection of Women and the legal imperative of gender advocacy on rule of law in public sphere is quite problematic and contentious. Many legal authorities have pointed out that the typology and legality of such, is usually an advocacy in resistance to the illogicalities in the pragmatics of civil rights. (Mill as cited in Morris, 1965:364) For this reason gender advocacy in the constitutionalization of the public sphere is considered and conceived in different ways. First and foremost it is construed as a legal theory and practice of equal conferment of rights between the sexes in the public sector. Secondly it recognizes the incongruity in distributive justice and later became associated with the belief that women should be accorded the same constitutional rights as men. It envisions a social theoretical basis for political, economic and social equality of sexes; as such it investigates the need for social organizational chart of rules and claims for legal and civil justice within the amplitude of public life. (Lauretis, 1978:881). In similitude with many other liberating legal ideologies gender advocacy on the constitutionalization of the public sphere is ideologically designed to liberate and emancipate from vagaries of rules that engenders oppression, ignorance, poverty and self-immolation. (Ezeigbo, 1996:1). It therefore served to highlight specific legal anomalies and oppressive rules and in many respects agitated legal resistance against many aspects of public life, that have generated gender related controversies.

         As a matter of fact, a more comprehensive view of gender advocacy on the constitutionalization of the public sphere is the claim that gendered liberation would bring about a radical change in our society and its values. This view assumes that ethics of change in social life history needs revolutionize the prejudicial roles and rights conferred by the law on both men and women. Such conferment are alienating of citizenry rights, it is suggestive of false set of images; a false ideology and normally identified with loss of legality and individuality, a loss that poses an adverse problem, since it deprives people largely affected of their true selves, potentialities, rights and above all of authentic nationality. Consequently in view of this wider scope of contextual citizenry annihilation by the rule of law, gender advocacy is both ideological and revolutionary, such that it stands as a "proposal for social transformation as well as a movement that strive to end the annihilation by being critically combative of social vices and misappropriation of legal rules and rights. (Rowbothan: 1992:6). Its reaction to constitutional tenets extends to all sets of permissible beliefs, or ideas, or even attitude, characteristic of a group or community. The view that the superior status of men in patriarchal cultures has allowed them to possess more legal power than their female counter parts was thus confuted. This unequal distribution of legal power, it advocates, as inherently wrong, hence constitutional framework must be restructured to eliminate patriarchal anomalies and establish more egalitarian society. (Macridis, 1990: 272-273). Although in many other public spheres, constitutional provisions accord equal right to men and women alike, however male preference in terms of conferment of citizenship rights continues to be assumed which invariably impedes women's capacities to undertake significant positions in the public sectors.

          In essence these constitutional hindrances that deprive women of national legitimacy can be narrowed down to gender stereotypes and traditional patriarchal command theories, which have ways of dominating virtually all aspects of organized life from the national legislative, executive to other lower levels of jurisdictional strata such as the local, regional, provincial or state, country and municipal, The most obvious is that state laws reflecting male dominated legislatures have been reluctant to undercut patriarchal traditions especially as these concern matters of land, marriage, divorce and inheritance. Even where laws have been changed, state are often unwilling to protect women from sexist traditions. Sexual harassment at work goes unpunished.  Women are denied jobs and opportunities because of their sex, and the consequent inability to exert pressure on legislators make it all the more difficult for most women to defend themselves nor to be adequately represented in government. As a result of this upturn of gender relational chasm, gender advocates are divided into different ideological camps, but are still confronted with questions prompted by their belief that socio- political and economic ethics and justice not only requires the equality of the sexes but also requires conscious cleansing of the public schismatic rules. (French, 1985). Although it can be rightly affirmed that depuration strategies such as the current series of anti corruption approaches as tried by the Nigerian government, have been largely ineffectual. This probably stems from the fact that such anti corruption bill tends not to be directed against those whose corrupt networking of power presage need to be corrected. Nevertheless key values in anti corruption rules and regulations: such as discipline, transparency, and accountability must be made binding in human relationships, irrespective of whose axe is grind. Somehow this condition in turn depends on potential recourse to sanction, punishment or coercion, when rules are violated and human beings offend the norms of propriety for maintaining respectful relationships in human societies.  In ensuring the accountability of law to the public, that is to man and to woman or vice versa, there is a need for a medium of unambiguous clarity in human, constitutional and institutional relations. This means that there is an exigency to vitiate the prehensile outgrowth of corruption in rules on human interaction. In other words there is need for improved functioning of government business, rigorous discipline and adjustment in government policies on material and legal rights as well as resource allocation to enhance co-ordinate rights between the sexes for effective and accountable running of the public sphere. (Diog & Theobald, 1999: 1-11).    Distressingly, the public sphere in Nigeria lack the legal objectivity and gender neutrality associated with public diligence to service and adherence to law Accordingly constitutionalization at the public sphere are not always objective, because public decision making is recurrently materialized. Public legal demeanors are more often than not mischievously broad rather than specific, and particularistic oriented rules are not always taken seriously. Sometimes they are applied ad hoc and worse yet discarded altogether according to convenience. The failings of our public law and ethics seem no less than an entrenchment of the incidence of corrupt practices, lack of integrity, unlawful appropriation of public fund for private ends etc. Considering popular notions of the exceptionally high incidence of unethical behavior and gender disparity in our public economic service, there must stupefaction as to whether Nigeria law is an extraordinary case of objectified and material moral depravity.



According to Zinn (1971:26 )  the structure of law as uppermost in our minds is that the law protects us from constant danger of assault , rape and murder. But most law enforcing is designed to protect property, not human beings. Most crimes by far are crimes against property, not against persons. Given this we are constantly reminded of the priorities of  law enforcement  on property over human beings . The signiificance of human protection comes in only disingenuously, to  impose conformity to default autority and to enshrine gender disparity such that petty corrupt practices gets blown beyond proportion and female gender criminal acts is made liable to the danger of media execution. Thereby making the quality of justice to depend on the person  assaulted and the nature of the property crime. The relation between law,  economics and gender inequality are thus a historic totality that have  a predictable direction. Critics of economic history have sometimes adopted economic inevitability in the quest for power and dis-entanglement from the shackles of diverse crippling rules  that tends  to dis-empower women; the  improper  analysis of the central concept of legal autonomy; points to the stimulating and overriding impact of accumulative economic resources. Thus the clarion call for enthrenchment of the rule of law  must be preceded by economic empowerment.

On this ground, the place of women on the economic - positional ladder of under the conspiracy of the ruleof law  has tremendous ways in affecting their  empowerment. Based on this, the debate about women's roles and rights  are hardly new. Notably however, the general trend of emphasis has taken on a new horizon from participatory agitation for  economic determination to rule that will ensure this . The alleviation of economic encumbrance such as unavailability of facility of credit, loans and market aid till date still remains a greater vehicle of social de-mobilization and consequently of legal ostracism. Generally in a  developing country like Nigaria the problem confronting the women have been particularly excruciating; and anchored on the continents economic and political malaise. In addressing this issue, the 1985 United Nation conference at Nairobi recommended some reformative measures as the forward-looking strategies for improving the status of women. No sooner was this passed, than the African delegates (Women in Development W.I.D) set out to work out modalities for its expansion and implementations. But unfortunately in the discharge of these programs, they were faced with the stark reality of the inadequacies in considerably correcting  the economic predicament of the ‘women' in the society. Instead the ugly heads of gender or class stratification and patriarchal exploitation were raised again Nigeria is a vividly good prototype of this incapacitating drive. Despite the fact that the country enjoys a tremendous oil boom, nevertheless the economic empowerment and strategy development of the women remain stagnant. They have had to contend with the ever-recurring controversial cases of property acquisition and inheritance, revenue, employment, and cultural rights. Unfortunately however, these National Women's organizations often have limited autonomy and invite cynicism because of their dependency and close ties to the ruling party and state. (Gordon: 1996:91). Consequently, many efforts being consciously made by Nigerian women group to put themselves at the helm of affair in the economic development plan of the nation, despite the  formidability of their aims and objectives were relegated to the background. Women in Nigeria Document (WIN) listed the following as exemplars of the diverse economic related proclivity namely: Rural work discrimination, Urban work discrimination, Educational discrimination, Legal discrimination, Association discrimination, Media discrimination, Family discrimination, Religious discrimination and Health discrimination.  All of which, have either direct or indirect correlation with the sustainability of the rule of law For instance at the rural level women are denied access to land and many other factors of production. Social amenities and consideration in development plans were also considered the prerogative right of the men. In the same vein, at the urban level their specialization in petty or small scale trading makes them earn meager income. As a result "they form only 8% of the waged work force while they top the wageless". Similarly, only 6% of its adult female are literate as opposed to 25% for males. (W.I.N: documents 1992:18, 23.) And in many instances are depicted as the ‘economic squalor and spendthrift of the society. Legally while the constitution guarantees equality, elements of patriarchy, in English, Islamic, Christian, as well as Customary elements denies the women the privilege of economic rights, through deviant practices and erroneous interpretations, suggestive of blanket subservience, particularly in matter affecting marriage, inheritance and property. For instance the Nigeria law of property inheritance particularly disfavors the women and thereby disinherits them. And where they are somehow granted inheritance titles and deeds, they are  only granted superficially.   It can be said therefore that to a very great extent  ‘patriarchal economy' has shaped the socio-political as well as economic life of women. Based on the ‘Lockean' fashion, economic empowerment processes are closely associated with the guarantee of property rights, which in effect is highly masterminded by the patriarchal cultural legacy. Indisputably, these cultural factors have often impaired both economic and political empowerment and development programs aimed at creating opportunities for women in Nigeria. (Women in Development: WID: 1991; 2).

The obstinacy with which people hold to traditional values even in the face of a rapidly changing  organized economy  benefits of modernisation such as industrilizaation urbanizaaation science humanism education,parliamentary government have suplanted the rule of  economic law. Our histories  show varying degrees of  reverence of  exploitaiton in the facts of unequal wealth and unequal power under the rule of men.  the enemy was identificble as economics which enforces maldistribtion of wealth and power as of old but it does this in such complicated and indirect ways which imposes obstacles of formidable proportions. ((Hoselitz: 995:18-22). And as such attention should be drawn away from the ambiguity inherent in contemporaneously staging a crusade for economic progress of the women, while still clawing unto the preservation of these inhibiting legal and cultural traditions. Ostensibly, economic ignorance is always an obstacle to emancipation but in the case of legalizing it,  it becomes  doubly fatal.  Moreso as economic development is about people and the most important resources required to bring about development. It therefore follows that; the hardship, deprivation, inadequate opportunities in the national economy, un-gainful employment,  and other forms of sufferings being meted out to the large number of women on daily basis are evidences and attestation to their economic dis-empowerment and consequently a severe hindrance in meeting the capital pre-requisite of any significant establishment of ruleof law. Economic activities and businesses revolve round the propensity to organize and allocate resources by selling and buying markets. Each consumer votes in effect with his or her capital in untold thousands of market election. And this vote is automatically translated into shifts of resources, product and services with each individual seeking to maximize his communal rewards and to avoid or cut his individual losses (Simon: 1978:23).  But for as long as the economic dis-empowerment is not nipped in the bud, societal inequality will always remain a force to reckon with. And irrespective of the mildness of its effect, economic inequity will continually ginger off strife and individual materialistic greed, which in effect will automatically also undermine the sustannce of the ruleof law. The detrimental effects of Nigeria's corporate economy is such that women function as less required labor force, that can be pushed in and out of employment in keeping with currents of the economy. In effect, the prevalent attitude in Nigeria as well as in many other societies is that a woman's place is in either the home or the kitchen. until she is needed in elsewhere as supportive mechanism. The most dramatic upturn in this economic status, have constantly reflected the view that a majority of women remain concentrated in gender segregated occupations with low wages, and little opportunity in socio ethical mobility. (Andersen et al: 1995:65).

The capitalist-economic political structure to which many countries subscribe, works to preserve this same economic sexism through diverse indoctrination, but most particularly through monetary influence. America for instance is basically bourgeoisie; right from its inception, sexism holds sway and the political leadership of the ‘man and money' had always been the order to the day. Similarly in Nigeria, the men are culturally trained to be more economically productive than the women are. And any form of economic buoyancy that a few notable women have managed to muster had always been considered as inadequate.  This bias propagated policies of the government and development agencies coupled with some element of cultural factors are largely responsible for the economic and political gap between men and women. The magnitude of the economic bias is nauseatingly glaring in many ‘supposed' gender neutral polices executed at the expense of the women. For instance, "while the women grow 75 percent of all the food in Africa (especially Nigeria), do all the food processing, fetch most of the water, do 60% of the marketing and do at least half the work in storing food and raising animals. They also do much of the work on cash and do non-agricultural work for cash, while still finding time to work in community self help activities" (Gittinger et al: 1990: 34), yet they own the least property and goods and have the poorest living and working conditions. While  the percentage of male work force are rampantly increasing on daily basis, that of their female counterparts are involuntarily decreasing. This is but a clear indication of under-utilization of the societal valuable and resourceful potentials of women work force.

There are also quite a number of extensive, though deliberately silenced innovative contributions made by women, such as invention of many food preservative techniques, the building of storehouses, which are in want of being applauded as the hallmark of economic expertise. These include: "the separation of the poisonous and injurious substances…  the discovery of the properties of pine tar and turpentine and of chaulmoogra  oil, which today is the remedy the leprosy, the invention of homeopathic from acacia, alcohol, almond, balsam, betel caffeine, camphor, caraway digitalis, gum barley water, lavender, linseed, parsley, peppers, pomegranate, poppy, rhubarb, Senegal sugar, wormwood, and hundreds more, depending upon where the natural substances were found". In short, rather than being credited with the "chemistry of pot making, physics of spinning, the mechanics of the looms and the botany of flax and cotton" (Reed: 1975.37),  they are being desensitized by androcentric prejudices. This simply means that there should be a labour law in which  women's ‘domestic labor' will be given market value as ethics of change in economics so as to sensitize the people against socio economic corruption of labour and to engender  gender mutual supelmentation in all ramification.



Devaluation of ethical rules in social, economic and legal corruption emanates from human beings prescriptive and descriptive illegitimate act towards each other. It deals with the mis conception of  ‘human being ' as anti-social and mutilates the imperative for mutual supplementation between the sexes to meet both individual and collective existential needs with a bid to developing potential rights and justice. (Banks,1998) The violation of this imperative can be said to be the bane of social logistics that led to the emergence of the rule of law. Hence rule of law should subsist as a conscious and rational legitimisation of laws and codes of conduct by a group of peoples irrespective of sex, but rather bound together by their need of "mutual supplementation"(Messner; 1959, 101-2.) However, in the process of social interaction or gender relations, rules about right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust acts ensues and in attempt to resolve or clarify these issues the basic thematic concern of legal validity of such rules points pivotally to the varied theoretic corruption of the ethics of gender mutual supplementation. The impairment of mutual supplementation in gender relations has to do specifically with the violations of the rules of conduct and the multifaceted defective interpretative and implementative devices of our legal value system. Gender relations in this context incites question of why certain actions are subjected implicitly or explicitly to bouts of sexual partiality in rightness or wrongness, which subsequently results in traditional or contemporary erosion of ethical dimensions and legal justification of acts between the sexes. (Solomon and Green, 1999:2).  Most often however the gender ethical philosophical prescription on how to live a good and legally valid life in the society, in congruence with human rational disposition to moral comportment (Omoregbe: 1993. 3) is subsumed in the corrupt systems of values traditions and customs.   

Thus ethics of gender mutual supplementation in social relations gives us a general guidance concerning what to do, what to seek and how to treat others, by bringing to light the normative import, judgement and goal of social ethics in determining principles by which all free, rational being necessarily should be morally to be guided.  In this context gender mutual supplementation remains the most influential attempt to vindicate universal ethical principles that respect the dignity and equality of human beings  (Nielsen, 1962: 117.) Infusing gender mutuality into the framework of principles and rules guide everyone without regard to their personal goals and interests. (Lamer, 1996: 30:) As Kant puts it the employ of rationality in human and legal relations makes the distinction between "acting for the sake of duty" and acting according to duty" very explicit.  According to him acting for the sake of duty is not motivated by biological determinism nor because one has a natural inclination to do such things, but purely out of reverence for the moral law; while acting according to duty on the other hand, is purely for the sake of the consequence. (Kant, 1994. :78, Omoregbe 1993: 220 ) Hence because there is a categorical imperative underlying the rule of law, which elicits an unconditional command, it makes allowance for no category of exceptions and as such lays siege on absolutism for its effectiveness. (Shaw, 1992: 25). It follows from the Kantain theoretical framework that universality of the rule of law shows its moral justification and its non-universality shows that it is immoral. (Kant, 1994: 80). 

An another implication from Kantian ethical construct is social corruption emanating from treating human being mechantilistic. They assume that law is a means to an end and that its existence is to be justified in terms of the goals men seek to realise by its use. Life is not something that exist for a purpose in that ambiguous and corrupt sense; living being may have purposes in the sense that they may make use of other living beings for their purposes. But purposes exist only in the context of life itself and make nonsense to ask what may be the purpose of life as such. Law is the life of a society. Religion, morality and tradition all presuppose the existence of a social structure, and law is the process by which an orderly society exists. Lawless society is a contradiction in terms if there are no ways by which conflicts can be resolved so that the way is cleared for action, if there are no definite procedures for carrying out the essential activities of the group, then there is no society. Men living in proximity to each other under such conditions do not constitute a society and they do not live in proximity under such conditions for long (Thompson, 1964:16-17, Shaw, 1992:26). This buttresses the belief that to treat persons merely as means an object and a material entity, is to disregard their person hood, put differently, by exploiting or otherwise using them without regard to their own thoughts, interest, and needs, is a failure to acknowledge that every person has a legal worth and dignity equal to every other person.



The interjection of legal existential ethics of revolution in gender philosophy will end debates about the improper and corrupt distribution of power and rights between the sexes and more also will curb the situation where rights are misconceived as having moral justification for limiting and determining the freedom of another person (Hart 1955:183). In other words, no legal existential rights exist or can exist where there are no identifiable people exercising or practicing these rights. (Fasoro 1994: 83). The essay also clarified the contention about the proper role of law in the national and state governments within the Nigerian federal system. It is not easy for instance to distinguish between the functions of courts and the governments, because the 1999 constitution tends to blend responsibilities and blur distinctions in response to complex social, political and economic gender civil rights. It cannot be overstatement to reiterate that the basis of women's oppression in Nigeria consists in their lack of political, legal or civil rights and these constitute roadblocks to their access to justice and rule of law. In view of this, the essay argues that gender equality will require a legal revolution and liberation from the fundamental inequality and perversions resulting from the degrading influence of constitutional default. Perhaps in eradicating weakness in the enactment of positive laws, it is imperative to apply its rule to the cogent force of morality, in order to enhance efficacy in its application. Inadvertently its non-anchorage on the tenets of morality is what has largely contributed to its multifarious debility. The most intriguing aspect of these is the bad logic of masculinity and the irrationality embodied in its presumptuous premise as the sole criteria of legally validating human legal action and reason. The legal exaggeration of the power of the male species above their female counterpart was the bases of the reactionary struggle of the age of reason particularly against the dogmatic premise of blind dependency. Based on this, legal existentialism argues for recognition of the subjective or individual nature of human existence along with a conscious awareness of the need for inter-subjective relations. However the incapacitating traits of traditions and stereotypical norms and values of the society breeds social deviation that restricts the existential realism of gender freedom in social and legal ordering. In effect this engenders what existentialist refers to as facticity of human existence and human anguish. Buttressing this point, anguish becomes the defective legal apprehension of freedom towards redeeming the subjective from the defective superimposition of the other sex, or on the propagation of the ideals of "inter-subjectivism" without proper distinction of the ‘self'. In these regards, the rule of law should be posited without ambiguity that "all persons are equal before and under the law and in every ether respect and shall enjoy protection of the law". ( CFCR, 2001:13)



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Information about this Article
Peer-review ratings (from 2 reviews, where a score of 100 represents the ‘average’ level):
Originality = 112.50, importance = 100.00, overall quality = 112.50
This Article was published on 22nd March, 2011 at 12:03:08 and has been viewed 6535 times.

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1 Peer review [reviewer #50699unconfirmed user] added 31st March, 2011 at 14:24:51

Dr Irene Adadevoh’s article on the propsects and problems bedevilling women from legal perspective is compact and resoundingly interesting. I find the theorectical interjections very exhilirating and also pivotal to the advocacy for legal empowerment of our women folk especially under African auspices of patriarchal laws. The irony of female symbolic depiction of law and allegory of the justice it ought to entail is a far cry from the reality of women’s brutality and maltreatment under the facde of the seemingly legal systems that they symbolize. Once again I find Irene Adadevoh’s paper educative, philosophically dense and academically enlightening.

Originality: 2, Importance: 1, Overall quality: 2

2 Peer review [reviewer #45483unconfirmed user] added 31st March, 2011 at 14:47:25

I think the whole campaign and clamour for women’s empowerment is a farce if the core basis for such empowerment as evident in Adadevoh’s legal agitation for women’s legal inclusion is not addressed. This is why I think the paper is timely as well as focused and deserves a very good rating, more so because legal backings must preceed any form of empowerment debate for women if such empowerment is to be postively ratified and sustained.

Originality: 7, Importance: 7, Overall quality: 7

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