Intellectual Property, Gender & Traditional Cultural Expressions – Nigeria Rural Women’s Narrative

Intellectual Property (IP) is a crucial concept in the modern world in protecting the rights of creators and innovators. However, protecting IP can be complicated regarding traditional knowledge (TK) and traditional cultural expressions (TCEs) and the contribution of women. The rather “undefined” nature of TK and TCEs and the near absence of protective legislative framework, render them susceptible to exploitation.  This problem is particularly pronounced in developing countries like Nigeria, especially within the rural women fold.

It has been established that many rural women particularly in Nigeria are unaware that their TCEs can be protected under IP laws, making them vulnerable to exploitation and misuse of their creations.  This lack of awareness amongst other factors has prevented Nigerian rural women from fully reaping the fruits of the innovative ways of doing things.

As a commemoration of 2023 World IP Day with the theme “Women and IP: Accelerating Innovation and Creativity”, this paper attempts to beam a searchlight on this issue. This paper aims to explore the issues surrounding IP, gender and TCEs in Nigeria, focusing on rural women and providing suggestions on how their creative innovations can be better protected.

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