In patriarchal societies, such as Yoruba, women often had to depend on the institution of marriage to enable them to consolidate or expand their business, it was largely during the colonization years when a lot of black entrepreneur women, especially from the port towns, used marriage as a vehicle of social mobility.Despite the social reaction to these associations, which ranged from a state of ambivalence to that of disapproval, these women entered into a marital relationship with European men in order to make sure that not only does their business survive in the dramatically changing business environment, but that they are able to further expand and consolidate their activities with the help of their newly acquired status of local wives to their influential European husbands. (Sudarkasa, 1973) (Brooks Jr., 1997).
A lot of these women associated themselves with slave trade, often a joint venture with their European husbands, which allowed them to benefit from both their local background as well as their association by marriage with the colonizing population that was now controlling and directing the bulk of African slave trade. (Ashcraft-Eason, 1995) (Inikori, 2004) (Jones, 1995)
In general, colonization resulted in the marginalization of the pre-colonial business class. It especially affected the female traders, who could no longer command the same social position that they had once commanded in view of their almost nonexistent economic clout under the new colonial dispensation. The tax regimes introduced by the colonial administrators further weakened their economic independence, reducing them to mere bystanders in the new economic infrastructure being erected henceforth.
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