Nigeria ranks one of the countries with lowest in index global gender equality and with the highest number of domestic violence record; female genital mutilations and other harmful practices which have many over-bearing influences on female gender because of factors such as; religious doctrines, dogmas, legal restraint, cultural ideologies and low level of education of female gender in some parts of the country, to non-inclusive political practices and traditions within the context of Nigeria’s political system among others.⁣

The concept of feminism is not alien to Africa as some people would want to argue. It has always existed in Africa though it might not have been documented and earned itself the ideological appellation known as ’Feminism’. Certainly, the constructive opposition against patriarchy is not foreign.⁣

African feminist scholars, artists, and politicians such as; Leymah Gbowee, Joyce Hilda Banda, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as well as feminists organizations are at the forefront, using activism, knowledge, and creativity to influence situations that affect women negatively within the Africa context.⁣

However, It appears to be an assumption that the proposition of the meaning of ’Feminism’ is obvious. Such a costly assumption poses as an obstacle to understanding feminism in⁣
its wider scope and dynamics which has made the word “feminism” to continue to generate endless controversies and stimulate a splanchnic response to many people. As such, some have even made the ideology to evoke fear among a sizable portion of the general public because the Ideology is believed to convey and represent dangerous concepts.⁣

The fragmentation, departmentalization and, division of feminism also bear ample testimony to the difficulty if not the impossibility of arriving at a clear-cut and all-inclusive definition of such ‘dangerous’ concept in a straight sentence. African feminism stems from liberation struggles especially those in Algeria, Mozambique, Guinea, and Kenya where women fighters fought alongside their male counterparts for state autonomy and enforcement of women’s rights in a pre-colonial era as well as during the struggle for their respective countries. African feminist leaders from this period are (were) women like the Mau Mau rebel, Wambui Otieno, the freedom-fighters Lilian Ngoyi, Queen Amina of Zazzau, Hajia Gambo Sawaba, Albertina Sisulu, Magaret Ekpo, and Funmilayo Ransome Kuti among many others who fought against colonialism as well as patriarchy through protest.⁣

Modern African feminism was solidified during the landmark ‘United Nation’ decade for women which resulted in the feminist movement that expanded in policy, legislation, scholarship, and also in the cultural realm which affected issues like; poverty reduction, violence prevention, and reproductive rights. etc.⁣

It is my humble submission as contributory to the body of knowledge to this end that feminism goes beyond the theory of finding problems with gender and the theory of political, economic, and social equality of all sexes in an attempt to eradicate or reduce sexism. But rather, it includes a proactive response to women’s lives and experiences encapsulating the varieties of changes and varied nature of women’s experiences; it is an intellectual and practical movement concerned to end all forms of discrimination, exploitation, and oppression of people due to their gender, race, class, but supports people in being free to determine their own choices for themselves.⁣

A Feminist is, therefore a person, be it a male or a female, who believes in the full equal access to social opportunities of women and men on one hand, and recognizing the changing and the varied nature of women.⁣

Feminist activists have campaigned for women’s legal rights (right of contract, right to own properties, voting rights), for more equitable pay with men, right to initiate divorce proceedings, protection of women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and rape; for workplace rights, against misogyny, and other forms of gender-specific discrimination against women.⁣

Feminism is one of the basic movements for human rights liberty. Feminism involves a political force, liberation movements, sociological theories, and philosophies concerned with issues of gender difference. Feminism is a noble cause though broad; it is not about hatred to men.⁣

Though pinning feminism to a single definition is complex if not impossible. It can be defined as a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, defending the political, economic, social rights for women. It also seeks an extension to the liberation of men, especially in the patriarchal system.⁣

We advocate for the awareness of the rights of girls and women and we opine that the biological differences between both genders should not translate to different rights and opportunities for them. We advocate that there should not be discrimination based on gender. We speak against cultural vices such as Female Genital Mutilation and Women trafficking. We want women to dream and pursue their goals without restraint, we are concerned with the overall empowerment of the female gender and challenge gender stereotypes and constraints posing as barriers to the realization of the potentials of the female gender.⁣

We imagine living in a world where females and males are not alike or even but equal in the face of law and opportunities granted to them. Imagine a world where the vision of mutuality is the ethos shaping our interaction and existence. Imagine living in a world where we all can be together realizing our dreams of freedom and justice accepting the truth that our differences should not translate to inequalities.⁣

Adebola Tolulope Adeoti is a Gender and Development Lawyer, and Executive Director of Ladies Connect Initiative.

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2 Responses
  1. Adeyinka Adepoyigi

    Beautiful read Tolu, I like the fact that your definition of Feminism is not particular with one gender. Do you think men has a vital role in attaining an environment where we have no gender imbalance.

  2. Men certainly have a strong role to play in attaining gender balance. The system most times favour men, so men also have the responsibility to enlighten other men on gender equality and see that the tenets of gender equality are adhered to, towards a gender balance society.