Over the past century, there has been spectacular women who have dedicated their lives to support certain issues. These activists have made it possible for our generation to have a voice and to have fair treatment in our work place and equal voting rights.
There’s a ton of them but today I want to tell you about 5 women rights activists that have and are still inspiring me.
1. Funmilayo Ransome Kuti (25 October 1900 – 13 April 1978)
Ransome Kuti was a teacher, political campaigner, women’s rights activist and traditional aristocrat of Nigeria. She served with distinction as one of the most prominent leaders of her generation. She was also the first woman in the country to drive a car. Ransome-Kuti’s political activism led to her being described as the doyen of female rights in Nigeria, as well as to her being regarded as “The Mother of Africa.” Early on, she was a very powerful force advocating for the Nigerian woman’s right to vote.
Throughout her career, she was known as an educator and activist. She and Elizabeth Adekogbe provided dynamic leadership for women’s rights in the 1950s. She founded an organisation for women in Abeokuta, with a membership tally of more than 20,000 individuals, spanning both literate and illiterate women.
Her achievements in summary
- One of the women elected to the native House of Chiefs, serving as an Oloye of the Yoruba people.
- Ranking member of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons.
- Treasurer and President Western Women Association of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons.
- Leader of Abeokuta Women’s Union.
- Leader of Commoners Peoples Party.
- Leader of Nigeria Women’s Union.
- First woman to drive a car in Nigeria
- Winner of the Lenin Peace Prize.
In 1978 Funmilayo was thrown from a third-floor window of her son Fela’s compound. She lapsed into a coma in February of that year, and died on 13 April 1978, as a result of her injuries.
2. Laila St. Matthew-Daniel
Born February 14, 1953 in Lagos, Nigeria. executive coach, leadership trainer, speaker, author, women’s rights activist and writer. Laila is the founder and President of ACTS Generation GBV, a non-governmental organization which combats domestic violence and child abuse in Nigeria. She has organized various protests for the rights of women and the girl-child, some of which are the Buni Yadi Massacre of February 2014 and part of initiating group who organized first protest against the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping by the Boko Haram. She has organized various sensitization seminars and workshops to empower women on the issues of self-mastery, self-awareness, and self-actualization.
3. Margaret Ekpo (June 27, 1914 – September 21, 2006)
Ekpo was a Nigerian women’s rights activist and social mobiliser who was a pioneering female politician in the country’s First Republic and a leading member of a class of traditional Nigerian women activists, many of whom rallied women beyond notions of ethnic solidarity. She played major roles as a grass root and nationalist politician in the Eastern Nigerian city of Aba, in the era of an hierarchical and male-dominated movement towards independence, with her rise not the least helped by the socialisation of women’s role into that of helpmates or appendages to the careers of males.
Margaret Ekpo’s awareness of growing movements for civil rights for women around the world prodded her into demanding the same for the women in her country and to fight the discriminatory and oppressive political and civil role colonialism played in the subjugation of women. She felt that women abroad including those in Britain, were already fighting for civil rights and had more voice in political and civil matters than their counterparts in Nigeria. She later joined the decolonisation-leading National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NGNC), as a platform to represent a marginalised group. In the 1950s, she also teamed up with Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti to protest killings at an Enugu coal mine; the victims were leaders protesting colonial practices at the mine. In 1953, Ekpo was nominated by the NGNC to the regional House of Chiefs, and in 1954 she established the Aba Township Women’s Association. As leader of the new market group, she was able to garner the trust of a large number of women in the township and turn it into a political pressure group. By 1955, women in Aba had outnumbered men voters in a citywide election.
She won a seat to the Eastern Regional House of Assembly in 1961 and in 2001, Calabar Airport was named after her.
4. Funmi Falana
Falana is a Nigerian legal practitioner and women’s rights activist She is the wife of Femi Falana, a renowned Nigerian activist and lawyer.
Funmi Falana currently serves as the National Director of Women Empowerment and Legal Aid (WELA), a non-governmental organization that defends the right of women and children.
5. Betty Abah (born March 6, 1974)
is a Nigerian journalist, author and a women and children’s rights activist. She is the founder and Executive Director of CEE HOPE, a girl-child rights and development non-profit organization based in Lagos State.
Abah has been involved in several cases, defending cases of human rights violations. Some of them include campaigns for the release of the Chibok girls abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist in North East Nigeria, campaigns for the environmental rights of Niger Delta women, the case of the torture involving three women in Ejigbo, Lagos by members of a vigilante group, the case of the kidnapping of Ese Oruru, among others.