Personality Differences by Gender

From the perspective of non-Igbos, Igbo people, both men and women, have outgoing, even boisterous, personalities. Compared with many other ethnic groups in Nigeria, Igbos appear to be aggressive and outspoken, but also welcoming and gregarious. To a first-time observer, Igbo conversations often sound like arguments, and both men and women are quick to defend themselves against perceived slights. While it is certainly the case that children are supposed to be deferential to adults, and juniors respectful to elders throughout the life-course (regardless of gender), Igbo adults of any age are usually prepared to do verbal battle with someone they believe has failed to accord them appropriate respect or recognition. Within Igbo society, women are expected to be more deferential to men than vice versa, but the extent of this deference is variable and often minimal. It is not uncommon for Igbo women to verbally chastise Igbo men, and men often joke about what a mistake it is to vex women. Perhaps the most striking personality differences by gender are related to the importance of motherhood as the primary locus of family nurturance and affection. Though great variation characterizes men's and women's personalities, it is probably fair to say that women are generally more nurturing and affectionate, especially in relations with children.

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