The mobilization efforts of the population in Nigeria allowed the feminist transformation of Equal Opportunity to stem in a country divided through many aspects of society. The United Nations Decade for Women instigated a demand for change on behalf of women. The final conference for the movement, in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985, served to develop plans for the future. The conference achieved the “…ability to cooperate across national, racial, and economic boundaries.”("The United Nations Decade for Women" p.23)The ideals of feminism were incorporated by actors around the world to pertain to specific community needs. An overlying message was to ratify the conditions of women. In fact, the formation of many Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Nigeria throughout the 1990s focused on “…emancipation and empowerment…women’s livelihoods and welfare.”( “Women as Emergent Actors...” p.153) Clearly, the modern structure of society in Nigeria was not in favor of equality among gender. Strategies such as the UN Decade for Women empowered women to believe such radical change was possible. The following organizations have demonstrated improvements for women’s rights in Nigeria.
Women in Nigeria (WIN), the first feminist organization of Nigeria, was founded on “…the liberation of women cannot be fully achieved outside the context of the liberation of the oppressed and poor majority of the people of Nigeria."( “WIN: A Militant Approach to the Mobilisation of Women” p.103) WIN exposed social constructs unique to Nigeria, which needed to be addressed by the nation regardless of one’s stance on feminism. By incorporating poverty into their mission, WIN was able to gain support of a larger constituency. WIN also hosts conferences on a variety of issues, such as “Women and the Family in Nigeria” and “Women in the Rural Areas of Nigeria.” ( “Women as Emergent Actors...” p.104)These conferences were aimed to create communication within the domestic state. The spread of feminist ideals could be accredited to WIN, which empowered marginalized actors and communities of Nigeria.
The Country Women’s Association of Nigeria (COWAN) is an NGO aimed towards economic development. The organization “…empower(s) rural and urban poor women by utilizing their traditional rotating savings cooperative structures and organizes training in productive activities and managerial skills…” ( “Women as Emergent Actors...” p.160) By training women in a market they already participate in, women are able to attain influence within the structure of the cooperatives. Education, a necessity usually not available to the poor, allows women to make effective decisions in order to improve the production process and output generated. The organization does not create a system of dependency, but instead encourages independence. Microcredit is a movement occurring throughout the developing world. With a small amount of capital, women are able to invest for the future. Sustainability in agriculture also occurs when cooperatives do not have to rely on slash-and-burn, or other harmful practices to the environment, to create a profit.
Zinsser, Judith P. "The United Nations Decade for Women: a Quiet Revolution." The History Teacher 24 (1990): 19-29.
Abdullah, Hussaina J. "Women as Emergent Actors: a Survey of New Women’S Organizations in Nigeria Since the 1990s."
Mohammed, Altine, and Bene Madunagu. "WIN: a Militant Approach to the Mobilisation of Women." Review of African Political Economy 37 (1986): 103-105.