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The construct feminism as a movement for African development aims at establishing the fact that feminism is a movement that aims at a comprehensive development of the human person. Since its emphasis is on meritocracy, egalitarianism, justice, equality and general human empowerment. Viewing feminism as a movement for African development is an attempt to show that giving both men and women equal opportunity to develop their talents and enhance their potentials should be the panacea for African development. This goes a long way to show that such notions as “women are second Class citizens,” “women are weaker sex” are born out of anachronistic and obsolete      traditions    and    believes.



1.1      Background Of The Study:

Feminism is among the numerous ideologies that aims at the development of our societies. Like every other ideology, feminism aims at a sustainable development of the society. Feminism is a sort of a reactionary ideology against the inequity, in balance, discrimination and exploitation that used to be the fulcrum of men-women relationship in almost every human society. It is in this sense that feminism can be regarded as a philosophy.

It tries to question the mundane belief that and always made the development of the society to be based on gender consideration. Even from  antiquity, it is believed that,  female or women are not really  necessary to the development of the society owing to the kind of treatment they are being given, especially in the areas of decision making and participation in the day- to- day administration  of the society.

This situation may have its origin traceable to the period of creation as it was recorded in the Bible   book of Genesis. It is believed that a women was created out of the ribs of a man, since, then, it now become a general idea in all men, that women are weaker sex and as such cannot contribute to the development of the society. This belief gradually diffused into Hebrew belief system and most other societies, even in Africa.

And the situation was made worst in Africa when the Europeans came with their bureaucracy, and response to this, most African parents deemed it necessary to send their male child to school as to learn the white man’s way. This is necessitated by their belief that, the male child is the only heir to the families. Given this ugly situation that permeated the entire aspects of the society, it became necessary to correct some notions that are very derogatory and detrimental to the development of women Vis-a- vis the society.

Hence, comes the origin of feminist thinking. And “the movement dates  back to Ancient China, following a publication by Mary Wollstone Craft; A Vindication of rights of women (1792), it started as the agitation of the half emancipated women of the educated classes” (Nweke 98). When it is said that feminism is an ideology for African development. What is meant here is that, feminism aims at a comprehensive development of human personality, it tries to bridge the gap between men and women.

However, it does not aim at changing the fact that women are women but, to correct such in balance and inequity that the society has created in dealing with men and women. And these Word “Human” is a universal concept that refers to both men and women. Hence, feminism notices that, there is an inevitable difference between men and women, but only aims at justice, equality and fairness in the distribution of the benefits and burdens of the society.

Feminism, as a developmental ideology aims at empowering women to make them face the challenges of national development. Feminism aims at correcting such obnoxious laws that prevents women from advancing their potentials and talents.


1.2   Statement Of The Problem:

The position of most women both in the past and the present has always posed a reflecting puzzle in the mind of an unbiased thinker. This is necessitated by the fact that, in most societies, it used to be very difficult to fairly share the benefits and burdens of the society among men and women. The men always relish the impression that women are weaker sex and should always be under the men.

This might  be because of women’s creation predicament or their social, natural and psychological dispositions. But, in a society where, there is a good orientation in thought that, changes some of these mundane believes people used to have about women, there would be a comprehensive and sustainable development in such a society. This is why, in Nigeria, the feminist trend is gradually having an effect, as at least the speaker of the house of representative is a women. And there are many other women who occupy Ministerial positions.

The political situation of Nigeria especially as it concerns women is gradually improving. This goes to show that, feminism is really an ideology for development. Because, development should cuts across every gender. But, where the situation of the country is only concerned with the male, the question will be, are women not human being? Does women lack the rationality for development? Is this disparity between men and women created by the society or naturally ordained?

  • Objective Purpose Of The Study:

This research study aims at the following: To show that, development is the development of human person and as such should gear towards the development of both men and women.

To show that women like their male counterparts, are human beings and as such are agents of national development.

To shown that, most of the impediments to women development are societal created factors and not the natural features of women.

To show that development is a joint effort of both men and women.

1.4   Method Of The Study:

        This research study employs the critical analytic and the evaluative methods of philosophy. It also uses the library as its source of data and information. It equally employs the new MLA style of documentation in its citations.

1.5   Scope Of The Study:

This research study covers such areas as, the meaning of feminism, its nature and scope, the goals of feminism, the role of the philosophers in achieving the feminist objectives.  The research study also examine in detail the position of women in the social economic and political development of Nigeria and most other African countries.  It also make attempts to advocate for women emancipation, liberation and empowerment as meaningful agents of national development.  

1.6   Significance Of The Study:

        This research study will be significant or beneficial in the following ways:

        It might serve as a source of reference for further research by other students.

        It will also serve as a guide for feminist thinkers who are always concerned with the development and empowerment of the female gender.

        It will help to correct some wrong notions people used to have about women, especially using some phrases as “weaker sex” and “second class citizens” to qualify women.

        It will help to consciencetise the male citizens to understand that development is a joint effort of men and women and as such give their   wives, daughter and sisters the opportunity to improve and empower themselves.

        It will help to show that there is a need to empower women, as the growth of women is invariably the growth of a nation.

1.7   Definition Of Terms:

        It is important to define some of the concepts used in this work as they are being used in the work.

  • Feminism: In this work, the word feminism is used to mean, an intellectual commitment and a political movement that seeks justice for women and the end of sexism in all forms. It is in this connection that Eugene .N. Nweke sees feminism as “a movement that advocates for the right of women” (98).
  • Movement: In this work, the word movement is used to mean a trend, a group of thinkers who ,maintains a particular view, philosophy or line of thought.

Development: In this work, development is strictly used to mean the improvement on human personality. It is used to mean the development of the human person; it is not used to mean the growth of infrastructural facilities. This is why, J.O. Nweke defined development as “the use of human resources to change qualitatively the people’s physical, social, cultural, economic, political and biological environments to the benefit of man” (9).


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