Inspiration Feminism

Everyday sexism: What’s it really like #BeingFemaleinNigeria?

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The Hashtag #BeingFemaleInNigeria is causing quite a stirr on Twitter. The tweets are coming in from women all over the world, not only Nigerians but from all those who have similar experiences to share. Some hashtags are outright funny while others are thought-provoking and alarming. It all started with a TEDx talk by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozie Adichi.

In her famed TEDx talk, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie tells the story of the first time she was called a feminist, at age 14, by a male friend. She explains:

“It was not a compliment. I could tell from his tone. The same tone you would use to say something like: you’re a supporter of terrorism.”

Adichie has used her pen and her platform to talk about the struggles of Nigeria’s women and on Tuesday, 30 June, young Nigerians began doing the same… in 140 characters.

It all started when Florence Warmate’s book club read Adichie’s ‘We Should All Be Feminists‘, the published version of her TEDx talk.

“We were discussing the book, started talking about our own experiences and thought we should take this to a larger audience.”

Eschewing their Whatsapp group, they decided to post a tweet using the hashtag#BeingfemaleinNigeria during their lunch break.

The hashtag came under some early criticism for focusing too heavily on negative experiences, but Warmate and her fellow book club members are adamant that campaign is about raising awareness, not perpetuating negative stereotypes. Warmate says:

“We realized even among our friends and male counterparts that they were not aware of our struggle. This is why we just thought to put it out there”.

But what can a hashtag do to change views and values that are centuries-old? Not much, admits Warmate.

Culture may not change overnight but what is certain is that by the time the Abuja-based book club meets next month, there are likely to be a whole lot more members.

You can share your own experiences of being female in Nigeria or read about other women’s experiences on Twitter @BeingFemaleInNigeria.