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Feminism: A Worthwhile Fight for Women's Emancipation! Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Henry Ekwuruke, Nigeria Jun 20, 2005
Education , Human Rights , Culture   Opinions


Feminism is an ideology advocating for women’s rights and sexual-equality with their male counterparts. Feminism arises from the fact that women have to be emancipated from traditional patriarchal society. Before World War II in 1938, women were seen as “worthless”; no one believed they could play any role except the one nature had delegated them -reproduction and procreation.

But during World War II, when men had gone to the battle field, factories were forced to close down and finding means of livelihood become harder and harder. Even though factory works are mainly masculine jobs, which they may not have been able to withstand, it reached a time when women had to open the gates of the factories to start the production of goods for immediate survival. Surprisingly, the output recorded at the time out - weighed that of when men were working in the factories. Since that period, women have been increasingly seen as real instruments and not just supporters any more.

Feminism took on a different dimension. Women all over the world began to work against gender inequalities and discarded the earlier belief that they are inferior to men.

Today, some men believe in the emancipation and liberation of women and say, “well, give to the women all they are agitating for, especially in the art of governance of a country, because they are equally brilliant and clever as men; they can talk, raise issues, argue it and also arrive at genuine conclusions no matter the degree of victimization and intimidation that they might receive.”

But others are of the opinion that women would always be subordinate to men no matter how strong and agile they seem. They can not equal men in any ramification of life since they are made weak by nature and are a product of the rib of man. God himself has madethis basic fact clear; women were created as helpers not as superiors, one argued. Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, sees women as no more than a scare - a means to achieving the highest level of a man’s happiness.

Plato also bought Aristotle’s view that women should rely on nature, rather than advocating for competition as a determinant factor of the capacity of both sexes.

In Nigeria, women have participated in various struggles of emancipation. For example, in the colonial era, they were bold enough to challenge the injustice of the colonial masters. One of the famous struggles of that period was the “Aba Women Riot” of 1929, when women threw themselves into the street half-naked as a result of a hard imposition of tax on their meager income. In 1953, Chief (Mrs.) Fumilayo Kuti, mother of the late Afro Fuji master, Fela, led Nigerian women to take part in the political, social, cultural and economic life of Nigeria. The campaign has been hard and successful in Nigeria, as well as other countries of the world.

The tireless efforts of these women were not in vain. Today, women can vote and be voted for. Many have even won various posts in the past and many are still winning. In our world today, a very large number have distinguished themselves in their respective areas of profession; be it in Medicine, Law, Banking, Journalism, Academics, Insurance and so on.

The challenge before the women of this generation is to continue to let the candle lit by their predecessors burn by preventing any form of gender discrimination from either the opposite sex or the government; through campaigns for female child education and involvement of women in politics from the grassroots!!!
The women emancipation fight is a fight for life- an encouraging thing; make it real! You can do it, but do it the right way!



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Henry Ekwuruke

Henry Ekwuruke is Executive Director of the Development Generation Africa International.
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