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Research in the north indicated that many women opposed the practice, and tried to keep bearing children to stave off a second wife's entry into the household.
Although women's status would undoubtedly rise, for the foreseeable future Nigerian women lacked the opportunities of men. This process meant, generally, less formal education; early teenage marriages, especially in rural areas; and confinement to the household, which was often polygynous, except for visits to family, ceremonies, and the workplace, if employment were available and permitted by a girl's family or husband.
In the south, women traditionally had economically important positions in interregional trade and the markets, worked on farms as major labor sources, and had influential positions in traditional systems of local organization.
The south, like the north, had been polygynous; in 1990 it still was for many households, including those professing Christianity.
Research indicated that this practice was one of the main reasons city women gave for opposing schooling for their daughters.