I have noticed something refreshing about the Nigerian woman of today and through my observations, I see hope for the future of our daughters. What I have observed is ‘Feminism.’
Feminism is a ‘bad’ word in many places; not the least Nigeria, yet feminism it appears, is beginning to emerge in unlikely places – prof. Ify Amadiume would be proud though. Feminism is no longer confined to the conference rooms or the board rooms of Nigerian women’s NGOs. It is not necessarily emerging from the hallowed walls of universities and lecture halls. It’s not necessarily the preserve of highly educated, professional women.
Feminism is the lives of everyday women who refuse to tow the line that has served them so unjustly for far too long so they resist it; and they hold their heads high in the face of condemnation by those still held bound. The feminism I see is Nigerian women’s demands to be recognized as equally human.
I see Nigerian women live their lives with purpose: striving to get an education, get a job or start a business; use their God-given talents and live life on their own terms.
I see young Nigeria women reaching for the stars; young women who will not be denied in their quest for success and who will not hold back because they may be adjudged ‘unfit’ for marriage
I see Nigerian women who understand marriage as a pleasing accompaniment to make life’s journey sweeter; not something to put the rest of that journey on hold for. And so they approach marriage with a clear head, a keen understanding of their role in the union and high expectations from the other party to meet them half way.
I see women who understand marriage as something to be enjoyed and not to be endured. I also see women who know when to walk away from a bad situation; knowing that a ‘failed’ marriage is not a failed life.
I see Nigerian women making no excuses for the bad behaviours of men; calling out patriarchy and injustice and refusing to keep silent any longer.
I see Nigerian women owning their sexuality. I see Nigerian women embracing the mutual enjoyment of sex as a choice they have the birthright to make and something they are ready to be justly accountable for.
I see Nigerian women questioning the norm, refusing to be browbeat or shut down, shamed and silenced. In fact, in silence they do what needs to be done and refuse to allow the distractions of ignorant critiques.
I also see Nigerian men standing up to be counted in subtle and in overt ways; men stepping up and bearing their share of the burden; men urging their women on to greatness and rejecting the narrative that they will be diminished in anyway by a woman’s success. I see Nigerian men holding their fellow men to account on their patriarchal entitlement.
There’s still a long way to go because these feminists are not yet in the majority but there is hope.