Feminism and Women’s Rights in Nigeria

In Morning Crossfire 2019-06-19 10:25:07
Feminism and Women’s Rights in Nigeria
Feminism and Women’s Rights in Nigeria

People hear the word ‘feminism’ but don’t really know what the story is really all about. They do not know how promoters of feminism go about their chores. Yet, some of these people go crazy on the social networks and spread the issues in the wrong way.


The question of equal rights always comes up whether people look at it from the home-front; the boy-child or the girl-child or even from the standpoint of the workplace, between the male employee and the female employee; or even in government service between male and female senior directors. These thoughts, put forward by Sherif Quadri on 99.3 Nigeria Info show – Morning Crossfire – was taken up by Coordinator, Feminism Forum of Nigeria, Iheoma Obibi when she said that people have taken parts in defining issues regarding gender through religion and tradition.  



“There’s been a lot of conservative interpretation of the text and its role with gender. In my lifetime, from 2001 when I came into this country till now, I have seen a shift in more conservative views on gender dynamics and issues. We have regressed from the 1995 Beijing Platform of Action on women. We literally have gone back. We have lost quite a lot of things that we were successful with in the early 2000s.


“Religion is used as a platform to make money. You gather people and urge them to pay their tithes. Some pastors tell their female Church members that God wants them to marry if they must be successful. We have watched it eat into the very fabric of gender relations in a way that has taken us back from all the gains we have made since 1995 at the Beijing World Conference on Women,” Obibi said.



Anchor of the program, Wemimo, emphasized that this issue is one that has always resurfaced and is one that has to be discussed over and over again. But the main issue is; what can be done to make things better as far as feminism and women’s rights are concerned? That is a question that lingers in the hearts of many.


A Facebook comment directed at the radio program offers some insight:


Chike Onu30:27 Is is clear that man and woman a created with distinct qualities which makes them complimentary. 

There are specific area where women excel while men excel in other areas. 

It should not be about gender equality. It should be about human rights enforcement. 

We talk of how many women in leadership. But have we talked about how many women are drivers, artisans, bricklayers etc. 

I also think the Nigerian laws are not gender discriminating too.



Contributing on this issue, Margaret Olele clarified that she doesn’t really believe that anyone should “carry placards on this issue. Rather, there must be focus and that must be about focusing on what you need to do, what you want to achieve and then you plan ahead. So it’s not about the screaming and shouting, it’s about the doing. Identify what the critical issues are, identify the theme you need to work with in order to get things done, and at the end of the year, ask yourself what your achievements are.”


In-House guest, Rotimi Sankore said that not recognizing women’s rights is one reason why conflicts are unending in some parts of the world.


“Look at every global hotspot where there have been conflicts that are unending; Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, North-East Nigeria – What is the main indicator that is seen in these places? Exclusion of women, and massive inequality. So, on the contrary, it is this supremacy pushed to its extreme that is the cause of problems everywhere.


“Once you exclude women from everything; from education, politics, and others, you create a situation in which women can be forced into sexual slavery from the ages of 11 – 15. That lack of protection puts these women in the position where they are forced to have many children. Once that happens, the governance and economic process will not keep up. Consequently, all those young men are organized into groups of bandits or extremists and they attack the rest of society.


“It is not for nothing that the most peaceful, the most developed countries give women the same opportunities and aspirations as men. It is easy for one to want to maintain fiefdom in one’s house and say he wants to put his leg on top of the women. When the whole economy and society starts collapsing on such person’s head, he would want to escape to Canada, where the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau is a feminist.”


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Morning Crossfire with Wemimo(@wemimospot) & Sheriff (@SheriffQuadry), alongside Rotimi Sankore (@RotimiSankore)

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Coordinator, Feminism Forum of Nigeria, Iheoma Obibi

CEO, American Business Council, Margaret Olele