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Not Just Beauty: Women's Role in History

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History as we know it was mostly documented by men, as a result, the roles played by women in the events leading to the Independence of our nation Nigeria in 1960 have been largely overlooked and forgotten. For hundreds of years, women have made notable achievements in various fields and industries, but these achievements were ignored because women were considered to be inferior to men in terms of policy and decision-making, education, and many other fields. However, over the past decades, more women have ventured into these fields and succeeded beyond all expectations.

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The first and perhaps most notable example was the Aba women’s riots in November, 1929. Thousands of Igbo women in Eastern Nigeria travelled to Oloko town to protest against the restriction of the role of women in the government and the introduction of new taxes. The protest went on for three months, ending in January 1930. It was the first major revolt by women in West Africa and went a long way in paving the path for women in politics. The reforms done on the system afterwards have been seen as a prelude to the emergence of mass African nationalism. Some of the major figures were Mary of Ogu Ndem and Ihejilemebi Ibe of Umuokirika village. Similar to this, is the Abeokuta women’s revolt or the Egba women’s tax riots. It was a peaceful protest led by the Abeokuta Women’s Union in the late 1940s. It was a protest against the unfair taxation by the colonial Masters. The women believed that if they were not granted representation in the local government, they should not be taxed separately from the men. The protest lasted about three years and finally on the third of January 1949, the sole native authority system was changed and four women were admitted into the new administrative system. The woman continued to advocate for the rights of women in Nigeria and played a major role in the nationalist movement. The group of women were one of the first proto-nationalist feminist activist groups in Nigeria. Some of the leaders of this group were Funmilayo Ransom Kutie and Grace Eniola Soyinka.

Nigeria won her first and only individual gold Olympic medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta USA. She was represented by Chioma Ajunwa-opara, a female athlete and an officer of the Nigerian police force who specialised in long jump. She was also the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in a field events and the first and only woman to compete in the FIFA women’s world cup as a footballer and the Olympic games as a track and field athletes.

Lucy Ejike, a Nigerian paralympic powerlifter broke the paralympic powerlifting world cup twice at the Athens games in 2004. In the 2008 Beijing games,she broke the world record twice again. Some other women who made waves in the sports industry are Mary Onyali, Falilat Ogunkoya, Bose Kaffor and Mercy Okide Udo. The achievements of these women helped Nigeria gain recognition in the industry and facilitated the independence of the nation by fostering a sense of national identity and providing a way for the people to come together as one irrespective of culture or religion. Also the Nigerian female national team, the falcons, have won the Africa’s top tournament a record of 11 times.

Grace Alele Williams is a Nigerian professor of mathematics education who was the first Nigerian female vice-chancellor at the University of Benin. She was the first Nigerian woman to receive a doctorate. She made many notable contributions in the education industry and has overturned publications. The flying Doctors is the first air ambulance service established by Doctor Ola Orekunrin, a Nigerian female doctor and pilot. These achievements in the academic field have brought fame and glory to Nigeria and gone a long way to improve the educational and economic state of the country which has facilitated the ability of the country to remain independent.

In conclusion, I wood like to say that women’s role in history is a huge. Women played an integral part in the fight for independence and have made many breakthroughs and achievements and will make many more in the years to come.

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