Our in-depth study titled “Cinema and Society: The Impact of Gender Representation in Nigerian Films” scrutinizes the portrayal of gender in Nigerian cinema and its profound influence on societal attitudes and individual aspirations. This research illuminates how media representations in Nollywood not only reflect societal norms but also shape them, particularly through the lens of gender.

Utilizing focus groups drawn from a diverse demographic in Lagos, Nigeria, our study explores public perceptions regarding gender portrayal in films and its effects on societal norms. The findings offer a rich perspective on how Nollywood influences viewers’ perceptions of gender roles, aspirations, and behaviors, and highlights the urgent need for more balanced gender representation in Nigerian media.

Key Findings

  • Participants of all ages say they prefer foreign films to Nigerian films because of the relatively lower quality of Nollywood movies. Focus group participants also think that the plotlines of Nigerian films are often too predictable, so they prefer the suspense found in foreign films.
  • Participants in the father and mother focus groups believe that Nigerian media has a great deal of influence in the lives of children and adults that is both positive and negative. Notably, mothers say that the bad influence of Nigerian media is increasing because new social media makes it more difficult for parents to monitor their children’s media consumption.
  • Participants agree that Nigerian society is changing in terms of gender roles and expectations, and some attribute this to the influence of media. For instance, some participants think girls’ education is less important than boys’ education.
  • Participants across age groups say that women in Nigerian films are portrayed as second-class citizens compared to male movie characters.
  • Many participants think that domestic violence should be shown in Nigerian entertainment media to raise awareness of this pressing issue.


  • Increase Diverse Representations: Filmmakers should strive to portray women in a variety of roles that reflect their actual societal contributions and complexities.
  • Educational Content: Encourage the production of films that educate the audience on gender equality and the harmful effects of stereotyping.
  • Engage with Audiences: Filmmakers should engage with their audiences to understand and reflect their views on gender representation, which can lead to more culturally relevant and impactful cinema.