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#GirlontheStreet: Have you ever been Stigmatized because of your Marital Status?

Updated: May 13, 2020

This week, we are exploring the glorification of marriage in society, and its impact on women. It is no news that many women are pressured into marriages they are unhappy in, marriages where they experience domestic violence, discrimination, and oppression. More young girls are still being married away in their teenage years because of this same culture of glorification of marriage as the ultimate accomplishment for women. Mature and more qualified single women have less chances of being appointed into leadership positions solely because of their marital status. In the average African society, a mature single woman faces a lot stigma from family, friends, and colleagues because of her marital status than a single man. The popular narrative for unmarried women is that they are sad, lonely and possibly cursed. The normalization of the stigma and negative narrative for unmarried women in society continues to steal opportunities, permit violence, and create unhealthy environments for this demographic. This stigma needs to be eliminated from our culture, and we need to promote more narratives of self-sufficiency and independence, encouraging more women to aspire to more in life outside of marriage, to find happiness in themselves first, before anyone else.

We hit the streets to find out some real-life cases of stigma or discrimination faced by single women because of their marital status. Here are a few of the most interesting answers we gathered:

Chidera, 34

Every time I see my mum, she looks at me with a lot of sadness in her eyes and asks if I am happy. When I assure her that I am, she follows my response with “Don’t worry God has assured me that ‘he’ is coming”. Who is coming please? Jesus?

Francesca, 39

“That is why she is not married” … If I had a dollar for every time someone has used that line against me in an argument, I’d be living in a luxurious penthouse in Paris.

Olamide, 41

I have been denied a promotion twice now because of my marital status. The HR Manager says “We just want a ‘family person’ for this position”. I still do not understand what that means.

Abike, 37

As soon as my youngest kid sister got married (at 26), my mother started pressuring me to leave the country. She says “At least people will not care if you are married or not over there”. I feel like the family shame she is trying to hide.

Have you ever been stigmatized because of your marital status? Let us know in the comments section.


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