Different Times In History Nigerian Women Have Protested For Change

October 14, 2020

When they said train a woman and you train a nation, they forgot to add that when you fight a woman, you fight a community. Throughout history, women have fought for their right to vote, own properties, and be included in government together as a force.

In light of everything happening in Nigeria with #EndSARS, we decided to curate different times in Nigerian history where women have led protest for change.

1. Agbaja women protest of 1910s

When the women in Agbaja area saw a decrease in domestic animals and observed an increase in female mortality, they stayed away from home for a month in protest. These women left their husbands’ villages and went to either Umunumu or to Orie Ekpa (market) with their mats so they could sleep wherever night met them. When their husbands went to ask the reason for their withdrawal, they said too many women were dying.

The men were forced to cook for themselves and even prepared food in large quantities to be taken to the place the women were encamped. To resolve the issue, every man had to swear on Ala – the earth – that they had not stolen the women’s animals nor killed any woman. Refusal to swear had a death penalty.

You have to stan these pre-colonial queens.

2. Calabar women protest of 1924

In the year of our lord, 3,000 women in Calabar went out to protest a market toll that was required by the government. Imagine mobilising a crowd of 3,000 without the help of social media. Back then, the presence of women associations and market women networks helped the protest movement.

3. Aba women riot of 1929

The Aba Women’s riot is also known as the Women’s war of 1929. Nigerian history is incomplete without the story of these women who fought against the injustice of the colonial administration. Before the colonisers took over, women in Igboland had a place in government. They were represented in all meetings and recognised as an important part of the political movement. The colonisers in trying to set things up in their own way completely shut the women out of power, choosing only Igbo men as representatives.

They tried to establish a “moral order” with patriarchal tactics that backfired when the women revolted against the increase in school fees, corrupt officials, forced labour and the final straw; taxing of women. These women were already burdened with supporting their families and helping their husbands pay tax. Faced with hyperinflation and low output of agricultural produce, the women settled that they would not pay taxes nor have their property appraised. 

The protest succeeded in giving women representation in government. 

4. Abeokuta’s women revolt of the 1940s

These women spent several years protesting the tax increase and the lack of women representation in government. The Abeokuta women believed that until they were granted representation in local government, they shouldn’t pay taxes differently from men. This revolt lead to the creation of Abeokuta Women’s Union (AWU) under the leadership of Fumilayo Ransome-Kuti. This political organisaton, united market women and middle class women. It challenged the colonial rule and patriarchal structure. 

During the protest, the government promised and failed them. Each time, they regrouped and hit harder with their protest. They continued to advocate for women’s rights in Nigeria and were recognised for the role they played in the Nigerian nationalist movement. The group emerged as one of the first proto-nationalist feminist activist groups in Nigeria. 

5. Bring Back Our Girls movement of 2014

After over 200 girls were abducted from the school in Borno state by Boko Haram, all eyes were on the Nigerian government to do something. When it seemed like the government wasn’t making progress, Nigerian women mobilised themselves in Kaduna, Abuja, Lagos and across the country to protest for the rescue of these girls. The #BringBackOurGIrls and #SaveOurGirls went viral and piqued the interest of the international community. Women from all over the world joined the protest and over a million people signed the petition to mobilise world leaders to help rescue the girls. 

6. Market march “stop touching us” movement of 2018

Women are fed up with being groped and harassed in market spaces. In 2018, Damilola Marcus started the Market March Movement to bring an end to sexual harassment at Yaba and other markets across the country. The traders who did the touching tried to justify their actions as a business strategy to get customers and in some cases, the women were “indecently” dressed. The march had young women in market spaces demanding not to be touched. Although some people tried to make a joke of the movement, it was effective in raising awareness. They are active on twitter as @MarketMarch.

Watch Zikoko exclusive interview with Dami on this movement: 

7. Nigerian women protest against rape and sexual violence

In June 2020, Nigerian women took to the streets after a series of high-profile rape cases caught the interest of the people. Following the story of 22-year-old Uwa Vera who was raped and murdered in a Church, more stories of women getting raped and killed surfaced online and this led to a protest organised by women. Women mobilised themselves and held a protest in Abuja and Lagos. The hashtag #NOmeansNo trended online as more victims of rape shared their story. There was a movement to stop victim-blaming and to discourage people from enabling rape with their silence. 


Kindly reply this with other notable protests that were led by women. This list will be updated as you do.

Eris Ekanem

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

November 3, 2020

We know you have been eyeing that bone straight wig on your timeline for about a month now. You have sent it to all your men and women and they are all airing you. In fact, even anon is suddenly quiet. All of this shame and disgrace for what? Ordinary bone straight? That is why […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

December 4, 2020

Lawal Adijat Opeyemi of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) will be contesting in the Lagos East Senatorial by-elections which is scheduled to hold this Saturday, December 5, 2020. The by-election became a necessity after the death of Senator Bayo Osinowo earlier this year, who represented Lagos East Senatorial district, following a brief illness. A […]

December 4, 2020

If your friends are bugging you to join them for outings this month, we have the perfect harmattan excuses to help you stay indoors. You’re welcome. 1. “The sun is too hot” This one isn’t even an excuse. It’s a fact. The sun these days can make somebody run mad. Just stay inside your house. […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 15, 2019

There are two types of people in Nigeria right now: those who are proud Marlians, and those who are still in denial about stanning the divisive star. So, for those who proudly wear the Marlian tag, we made a quiz to test how well you really know Naira Marley. If you get more than 6 […]

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

November 19, 2019

Regardless of what society has tried to tell us, enjoying sex is not something to be ashamed of. So, in a bid to celebrate our generation’s sexual agency, we’ve created a quiz that will accurately (again, keep your complaints to yourself) infer how many people you’ve spelt with. Try it out: 11 Quizzes For The […]

November 22, 2019

It can be very stressful when you’re trying to find the love of your life, but you only keep meeting people that are exactly like your yeye ex. To help you be more aware of that problem, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know the kind of people you are attracting. Take it to […]

More from Her

December 2, 2020

This week’s What She Said is Olusayo Ajet, an artist, academic, engineer, biochemist and researcher. She talks about how art was her tool of escape, her relationship with her family and how she experiences the world one day at a time. Tell me about how you started making art. I don’t necessarily have a moment […]

zikoko- worst dates
November 30, 2020

From her date trying to steal laptop to another being sexually harassed, here are six women with their worst date experiences. Susan, 31 It was with Dayo in Enugu, 2008 or 2009. We decided to split a cab, spring rolls, and Smirnoff ice because, feminist. He “forgot” his wallet, so he promised to transfer me […]

coronavirus essentials
November 30, 2020

When periods come, there are a large variety of period products you could choose from. There are pads, cups, tampons etc. If you have ever used a tampon before, then this is for you. 1) Variety Pads are easy when it comes to variety. Apart from the different brands, they are usually grouped into medium […]

November 30, 2020

In life, there are very few things that are worse than being aired by someone you like. It’s the kind of betrayal that would have you sitting, years later with your grandkids when you suddenly remember that one Femi aired your text 50 years ago. These Nigerian women share their worst experience of getting aired.

November 27, 2020

Women are often overlooked in conversations about marital infidelity, thanks to the notion that women aren’t very inclined to cheat on their spouses. I spoke to six married women who have had relationships without their husbands’ knowledge. They had some pretty interesting stories. Editorial note: This article was updated to include Chidinma’s entry which was […]

November 23, 2020

As a woman, you need to hinge your existence on a man. You need to be his ribs, neck and more importantly, his backbone. If you are a woman who struggles with being a bone, don’t worry. Zikoko has curated a guide with illustrations on how you can become a backbone.

November 20, 2020

Have you ever seen some memes that immediately remind you of something or someone? Well, these memes were basically made for Nigerian women. 1) Expressing love Imagine thinking Nigerian woman will be caught expressing love. What next? Flying pigs??? 2) Enjoying evil Nigerian women enjoy wickedness, especially when they are the cause. If a Nigerian […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

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.
February 6, 2020
Who doesn't want to find love? In our bid to help, we paired up a bunch of single Nigerians, sending them on an all-expense paid date, and interviewing them before and after they met.

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