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The Nigerian Woman: Modern, Empowered and Unequal

Every once in a while I read a very insightful or inspiring article in the Nigerian media.

In his column last week - Modern, empowered and unequal - Babatunde Ahonsi puzzled over the fact that although Nigerian women have come a long way in terms of education, exposure and career, they do not all seem to be aware of the power that this brings them and thus encouraging the idea of female inferiority. He writes:

Conscious of her failure to provide leadership to the womenfolk as a whole, she often blames her tolerance of men’s unjust and irresponsible behaviours towards her on tradition, religion, and the need to protect her children’s welfare.

But how else is social change initiated if not through positive deviance? It is when a determined few among the oppressed stake all their privileges within the status quo by working actively to undermine it, that the group as a whole eventually enjoys a better life.

Ahonsi urges educated and economically empowered women to make a stronger push for the rights of all women, especially on behalf of her less empowered female counterpart.

I thoroughly agree with this and this does not mean carrying placards and marching to Alausa. We can find alternative methods to keep these issues at the forefront of people's minds like discussing them in our personal networks, identifying ways to challenge cases of discrimination against women, blogging about it, calling in to relevant radio programs, writing to newspapers and joining advocacy groups.

(Also published on


LauraB's picture

Hi Oreoluwa, I was

Hi Oreoluwa,

I was interested to read your thoughts on the article Modern, Empowered, Unequal-

Babatunde Ahonsi recognizes it is no longer a man’s world. So I ask myself, true? It's a woman's world then.
I think we need a human world-a balance between female and male. A true leader claims empowerment for the group, the whole. I think this is one of the changes that women are bringing about.

He also states, "Such efforts must also involve sustained education of women on the roots of their social disadvantages. And this must start from childhood to be effective in eradicating the social conditioning that fosters their subservience to men." And I think those women who are achieving greatness need to be highlighted as well.

Then he states, "Finally, men must be stridently enlightened on why it is in their ultimate interest to work for gender justice. Without raising the ideological consciousness of men and women, and girls and boys on the intrinsic value of justice, progress towards gender equality will be very slow." Intrinsic value of justice- this is something I think Barak Obama embodies. In justice there is a boldness and clarity- I see that here on PulseWire.

Thanks for sharing the article. Very thoughtful.



JaniceW's picture

Spreading the word

I agree Ore, that there are many ways for women to further the women's empowerment agenda without necessarily marching with placards. Just spreading the word by talking to your peer group, your extended family, your work colleagues etc... will go far in educating women on their rights, and giving them the support and confidence to speak out. Often women do not speak out as although they feel a situation is wrong, they do not have solutions or alternatives at hand that give them the confidence to break from tradition. And for some, they fear the "cure" more than the "disease".

As Ahonsi urges, it falls upon the "educated and economically empowered women to make a stronger push for the rights of all women, especially on behalf of her less empowered female counterpart".

olutosin's picture

Yes Ooooo

Thanks for this piece sister, It is up to us to fight for all, because women are sincerelt maginalised in Nigeria, and I believe that we can do it.

Yes Ooo we can.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town


oreoluwa's picture

Thanks for your feedback

Many Nigerian women definitely do not feel confident in claiming an equal space and right to opportunities. Cultural and religious factors have many women thinking that they need to be one step behind men, but I am glad that some realise that this is not right. We are starting to acknowledge that we can can have a deep abiding love for our culture and a strong relationship with God without relegating ourselves to less that we deserve.

nyarie's picture

My sister ooooo!

Hie Oreoulwa

My name is Nyaradzo and I work for an NGO called Young Women African Leaders Movement in Zimbabwe.We mainly focus on young women issues, we realised that young womens' voices are not being heard and they are always sidelined and there issues are summarised within those of the older women and the children.But they have their specific needs.
Young women are also not participating that much in politics if they are at all.So we are there to equip and train them in these fields so that they become influencial LEADERS.

I got your link from Janice through this network and i was so happy. I am interested in getting professional trainig in Leadership skills and ethics. So if you are holding seminars and workshops in this feild please consider me also.


oreoluwa's picture


Hi Nyaradzo,
It's a pleasure to meet you. Please accept my apologies for my late response.

Your work sounds very interesting and I will find out more about your organisation on the internet. Our trainings are primarily in Nigeria, though last week we organised a technology program for girls in Nairobi. I will keep you informed of all our future programs.

With warm regards,


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