Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nigerian Feminism

The Mumspiums has a link to an excellent post on Nigerian feminists, Women and the Nation, by Sokari, that i highly recommend. Sokari prefaces her essay on 50 years of Nigerian Feminism with a discussion of the difficulty of defining "Nigerian feminism."
My understanding of African / Nigerian feminism lies somewhere between indigeious feminisms which have always existed in the sense that Nigerian women have always fought against local oppressive conditions as well as more recently colonialism; and contemporary feminism which is relatively new and although it has its foundations in Europe, Africa / Nigeria has developed it’s own contemporary indigenous feminisms which struggle against fundamentalist and oppressive conditions such as female genital mutilation, forced marriages, widowhood rites, same sex relationships and so on. The point is that feminism is not just about women, its about creating a new form of social relationships based on equality, mutual respect and justice.

So instead I am going to focus on some of the Nigerian women (some may identify as feminists, some may not) who have taken action towards achieving justice and social, economic, environmental and political change. Women who I consider to be progressive and who have challenged and resisted oppressive conditions and or laws by taking action either individually or collectively. The women mentioned largely remain nameless but their actions have not been forgotten. They have much to teach us with their courage and tenacity. I hope that those who read the piece can add to it and possibly we can begin the discussion around what we mean by ‘Nigerian FeminismS”. The list of women is not definitive – it is my list and I invite readers to share the names of their role models and heroines.
Sokari includes not only activists, but also journalists, bloggers, and artists on her list.

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