8 Nigerian Women Talk About Why They Became Feminists

June 10, 2021

Feminism is a diverse movement that aims to liberate women and other oppressed groups. Each feminist’s path is different from the next. In this article, I asked eight Nigerian women why they became feminists, and here’s what they had to say: 

Kay, 26

I was a feminist even before I knew what the word meant. Growing up, I used to question societal norms because I wasn’t okay with “That’s how things are done” or “It’s a man’s world”. After I got married, I started having issues with my husband because I wanted him to treat me the way he would want to be treated. He couldn’t take what he gave me. He was the one that helped me realize that I am a feminist. We were fighting one day and he blurted out, “You are just a fucking feminist!” I had been hearing and seeing the word around but I didn’t know the meaning. 

After that fight, I started reading feminist materials and I was so happy to find a word for everything I had been feeling. 

Tomi, 24

I have always been a feminist.I grew up in Northern Nigeria and I watched small girls get married off to grown men and I hated everything about it. I didn’t realize I was a feminist till 2018 when I read an article from Chimamanda. Since I have been carrying women’s issues on my head like gala. 

Bisola, 22

I was 15 and in secondary school when I found Chimamanda’s Purple Hibiscus in my school’s library. I loved the book so much that I turned to the back cover to read about the author. There, it was stated that she’s a feminist. I checked the meaning of the word and thought “Who doesn’t believe that men and women are equal? That means I am also a feminist!” From that day, I started identifying as one and made it a duty to advocate for women’s rights like Chimamanda.

Amaka, 21

I think it dawned on me that I am a feminist when we travelled home to my father’s family. Every single thing those people said was unfair to women and they called it tradition. My mum had a minor surgery just before we travelled so the brunt of the work fell on me as the first child. I would refuse to do the things I didn’t want to do. I hated that they would listen to my brother, who I am older than with three years before listening to me. I didn’t want to be pounding yam while men drank. I told my parents I didn’t want any of it. They call me an ogbanje because of how outspoken I am. I don’t care as long as I am choosing myself. 

I started reading about women’s rights and I found the word feminism. Initially I didn’t want to call myself a  feminist because of the stigma attached to it. But I eventually did and became an ally to other marginalized groups. 

Aisha, 31

I have always been a feminist but I didn’t know the word for it until I became an adult. As a child, I found gender roles ridiculous and always campaigned for equality. I watched women shrink themselves and tolerate rubbish from their husbands and husbands’ brothers. ven as a child, I knew it was unfair. I swore it would never be my portion, not realizing the struggles I would face rebelling against that as an adult.

Women are and do so much — the continuity of humanity literally depends on women, yet they’re given second-class treatment? How could that ever sit well with me? Or anyone? I had to be a feminist. Anything less is unimaginable. We die here.

Uche, 25

Identifying as a feminist was inevitable for me because I was a rebellious child. I always did C when everyone else was doing A, and it was always different from what was expected of me as a woman. I heard things like “As a woman you need to learn how to cook for your family” when I was only 6. Those expectations felt like confinement. I first saw the word feminism in university. It was the first day of orientation and a girl, who later became my best friend, was upset at a school policy that involved expelling students that got pregnant while in school. I couldn’t understand why she was angry. She explained to me what a woman decides to do with her body is her choice and what they are really punishing is the audacity of a single woman to be pregnant. It blew my mind. I started to think about the other ways the African society oppresses women. I became a feminist after that. I embraced my rebellion, and I found a community of feminists that didn’t make me look odd for not wanting to conform.

Ivie, 24

I became a feminist because the misogyny in my family was too much. Men are allowed to do what they want but when women want to do their own, it’s a disgrace to the family. First time I got my period, I had menstrual cramps. My uncle told me to stop acting like a baby because I was crying. Before my mum died, she would tell me that I’m supposed to be better than my brother at chores because I am a woman. It used to annoy me. I became a feminist in my first year of university. My feminism was birthed out of the frustration of Igbo women. Igbo culture suffocates women. If not for civilization, e for don be. I call myself a Christian Feminist. There is misogyny in the church but people try to justify it as the word of God. God can never treat you less because you are a woman. I know He loves us all equally.

Tos, 19

I have been misogynistic in the past. There was this girl I knew who was vocally feminist and I used to insult her for it. Now, I cringe when I think about it. My journey to feminism started when I joined Twitter. I would see tweets pointing out the injustices against women and it made sense to me. Now, I am a radical feminist and my views surprise many people, including other feminists.

Subscribe here.

Mariam Sule

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

Zikoko What She Said
March 3, 2021

The subject of this week’s What She Said is a 31-year-old Nigerian Muslim woman who got married at 23. She talks about realising she should have waited, getting a job years later and finally settling into her marriage. How did it start? I’d just finished my master’s, and I’d met a guy. We had been […]

August 28, 2020

In the hierarchy of achievements, the Nigerian society deems important for women relationships that mature into marriage reign supreme. And in accordance women have to pass certain ridiculous relationship tests to improve the quality of their “wife materialness“. 1. The food tests: This test always comes in the form of “How many pieces of meat […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

black girl leaning on the wall with curly hair
September 21, 2021

“Everyone from his fraternity ran away except him, and that was how he went down. He died on school grounds. Omo, I wasn’t myself for days. That was when I realized everything everyone said was true.”

8 Nigerian Women Talk About Their Experience With Cultists

Read here:

Recommended Quizzes

April 3, 2020

While the rest of the world loves to treat our continent like a country, there are actually 54 African countries. So, in a bid to test your knowledge (and educate you), we’ve created a quiz to see how many of their capitals you can correctly name. Go ahead:

November 25, 2019

We already guessed how many people you’ve slept with, and y’all were out here denying the truth. Anyway, we won’t hold that against you. This time, however, we’ve created a quiz that predicts who you’ll sleep with next — so you can either prepare or try (unsuccessfully) to prevent it. So, take and see:

November 27, 2019

Do you have a face that could make angels jealous, or should you really be walking around with a nylon bag over your head so you don’t scare children? Well, this quiz is here to answer that by telling you exactly how good-looking you are. Take and find out: 11 Quizzes For People Who Aren’t […]

More from Her

black girl leaning on the wall with curly hair
September 21, 2021

“Everyone from his fraternity ran away except him, and that was how he went down. He died on school grounds. Omo, I wasn’t myself for days. That was when I realized everything everyone said was true.”

8 Nigerian Women Talk About Their Experience With Cultists

Read here:

black woman with afro smiling
September 20, 2021

Hair lice are tiny, wingless insects that live in the hair of humans. They feed on tiny amounts of blood they get from the scalp. They spread easily from comb to comb. It is especially rampant among kids.  It’s not easy to get rid of hair lice but here are a few tips that have […]

woman lying down on bed
September 15, 2021

“He said a lot of things. He cried too. This continued till 5 am. Eventually, I gave in because I wanted to sleep. He is currently a gospel musician in Kaduna.”

11 Nigerian Women Talk About Being Coerced

Read here:

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X