Male privilege is evident in Nigerian society right from the start of Adah's story, when the fact that she is a girl means she must fight to be sent to school and get an education. For her brother, on the other hand, attending an expensive private institution is something that comes his way without his needing to fight for it. After her father's death, the only reason that Adah is allowed to finish her education is the hope of her fetching a higher bride price.
Male privilege continues to prevail when Adah's husband's parents permit him, but not her, to relocate to London, despite it having been her dream—and not his—to make this move. When Adah eventually arrives in the UK, she submits to Francis's desire for sex because she knows this is what is expected of her as a woman. Male privilege means that Francis can criticize her for her "frigidity," and she knows that he will get his way.
Even in London, Adah and Francis continue to live a life in which Francis's gender makes him superior to Adah. When they move into Pa Noble's house, Adah is accepting of her realization that Francis will have an affair with Noble's wife at some point, because she knows she is powerless to stop it. Male privilege rears its ugly head again later in the story, when Adah is required to get Francis's signature to go onto birth control.
The story ends on an empowering note, with Adah taking control of her life, leaving Francis and taking her children with her.