Over the past number of years, there has been a dramatic change in the role of the woman. Most adult women today will remember their grandmothers as being homeworkers. She was responsible for the cooking, the cleaning, and looking after the children. A job and a half in and of itself! Of course, things have changed tremendously. The women’s suffrage movement, the invention and ready availability of the contraceptive pill, and the necessity for women to enter the workplace during times of war, have ensured women will no longer be silenced into accepting the role of homemaker – unless they so choose.
Nowhere is this clearer than in Nigeria. The country is incredibly traditional and, to this day, women continue to have fewer opportunities than men. They have less access to education and health care, and almost no opportunities to achieve financial independence. The economic and financial power of Nigeria, meanwhile, relies heavily on the work that women do, particularly in the agricultural sector, work that is often unpaid.
Nigeria is home to the state of Kaduna and, in southern Kaduna, you will find the birthplace of Nenadi. Nenadi, full name now Esther Nenadi Usman is a woman that broke all molds. She is the former finance minister for the country, for instance. Senator Nenadi Esther made huge contributions to the furthering of women’s equality in the country. As a minister, she had the opportunity to change policies, and that is precisely what she did.
Powerful Women in Modern History
Nenadi Esther Usman is not unique. Many strong and powerful women have shaped history since mankind first started to walk the earth. But Nenadi Esther Usman does join the ranks of those women that will be recognized by the history books as making real and positive change. Esther Usman no longer works in government, but she continues to have strong involvement in furthering the education and empowerment of women, particularly young women, in her country. For that, everybody owes Nenadi Esther a great debt.
She is joined in this by other powerful women from early history to modern times. From the Virgin Mary to Oprah Winfrey, the sacred feminine has always had power, even if the media silences it. Few know, for instance, that some 600 women in Nigeria, aged between 20 and 90 staged a sit-in protest in 2002, closing down a Chevron Texaco Terminal. They wanted to ensure that the tremendous revenues earned by this company were returned to the village, so the entire community could benefit from it.
This is just one example and there are many more. Women are no longer just the homemakers, although many continue to do that as well. They now realize that they have equal rights and demand equal opportunities to achieve the same greatness as their male counterparts. Women like Nenadi have facilitated this and continue to work on achieving this. Eventually, there will be full equality in which people are respected for their abilities, not their gender.