How Adichie’s feminist pamphlet started a trending Twitter hashtag, #BeingFemaleInNigeria | Brittle Paper
In the summer of 2015, a small book club in Abuja, Nigeria, met to discuss their latest book. It was an essay by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie entitled ‘We Should All Be Feminists’. Conversation between the ten women and half a dozen men of the book club turned to sharing stories about how the women had been discriminated against. Keen to share these experiences with a wider audience, the group agreed to use twitter in coordination, using the hashtag #BeingFemaleInNigeria.
The response was phenomenal, generating over 17,000 tweets from men and women across Nigeria. News of the hashtag even reached a global audience, with international media reporting the online discussion. In Britain, the Guardian newspaper drew from examples highlighted in this blog by Ainehi Edoro on Brittle Paper, a website that explores the African literary experience. The peice quotes Buzzfeed, who interviewed the woman who led the book group meeting, Florence Warmate. Thanks to Florence and the other members of the book group, the everyday examples of gender discrimination were brought before the public in a high profile manner.
Examples of gender-based discrimination shared by Nigerian women under the hashtag included: accusations of provocation in the face of domestic abuse; women’s struggle to rent property unless accompanied by a man that “owns you”; negative judgements should a woman’s husband choose to cook; the pressure from families to get married and have children; and the barriers women face in pursuing careers, and being recognised for academic achievements and expertise.