Tuesday, April 30, 2013

100 Years of Nigerian Women: Nigeria’s Centenary Celebration

Women attend community workshop in Nigeria

April 25: As Nigeria celebrates 100 years as a nation, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation held a two day conference honoring Nigerian women. The conference focused on issues concerning women, including gender imbalance, violence against women, and girls’ education. Famous Nigerian women of past and present were also celebrated, including queens Amina of Zazzau and Moremi of Ile Ife; social, political and human rights activists Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Gambo Sawaba, and Margaret Ekpo; internationally renowned writers and artists Chimamanda Adichie and Omotola Jalade Ekeinde; and the country’s first female chief justice, Justice Aloma Mukhtar.
While Nigerian women are faced with numerous challenges—fueled by culture, religion, and tradition—on a daily basis, celebrating Nigerian women and their astounding accomplishment is the first step in empowering future generations to fight for their rights and seek their dreams.
“Celebrating 100 Years of the Nigerian Woman: Achieving 50/50 by 2020,” the theme of the conference, is a reminder of the efforts being made to ensure that women are represented equally in Nigerian politics. While some call for a percentage of elective seats and board membership positions to be reserved for women, others argue that efforts should go beyond affirmative action. An editorial in AllAfrica argues that, “The Nigerian woman has contributed her quota to national development within the reach of her resources and ability. We salute her and reiterate that she deserves much more than she presently gets. Nonetheless, she must make more efforts beyond clamoring for positions and offices.” Indeed, securing equal rights and opportunities for women cannot be achieved solely through gaining political seats; once in office, progress must be made in ensuring institutional and structural elements and legislation are universally applicable. 
Friends of Humanity supports women’s rights in Nigeria through funding programs that educate and empower women at the community level. To learn more about our partner project, Rosy Touch, in Nigeria, or to donate to the cause, click here.

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