Interrogating the nexus of gender inequality, sexuality and survival: Reflections on the sociology of Mbọmchi

Akachi C. Odoemene, University of Ibadan
Chinwe M Agamegwa, Igoloafrika Youth Foundation

This paper examines the socio-cultural contexts of Mbọmchi – casual, high-risk liaisons between young female students (ages c.16 – c.28) of tertiary institutions and non-student male collaborators (“Ndị-Ọgọ”) in South-eastern Nigeria. It presents the result of a study conducted among female students of four tertiary institutions in South-eastern Nigeria and their male collaborators involved in this ‘transactional sex’ liaison. This paper interrogates the reasons for these liaisons, the modus operandi and the diverse consequences. It shows Mbọmchi is an urban-setting social factor involving complex and multiple sexual networking and is perceived among students as a coping mechanism. It also exposes its consequences for both parties, especially female adolescence reproductive sexuality. The paper argues why Mbọmchi is unmistakably distinct from the ‘sugar-daddy’ scenarios plaguing sub-Sahara Africa, and demonstrates why it should not be conflated with the wider global prostitution phenomenon. An eclectic framework was employed in its data collection.

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Presented in Poster Session 3