International Women’s Day: UN Recognises Aba Women’s Riot
In 1929, women from the Bende District, Umuahia and other places in eastern Nigeria travelled to the town of Oloko to protest against the Warrant Chiefs, whom they accused of restricting the role of women in the government.
After that incident, the British named it the Aba Women's Riots of 1929, and today March 8, the International Women’s Day, the United Nations' Women have recognised the Aba women’s riot as a noteworthy women-led demonstration.
They said it ignited the revolution in the defence of women’s rights in Nigeria.
"Incensed by their social standing under colonial rule, the Igbo women send palm leaves, similar to today’s Facebook invite , to their fellow sisters across Southeastern Nigeria.
"Together they descend in the thousands to ‘sit on’ or make ‘war on’ undemocratically appointed chiefs by publicly shaming them through singing, dancing, banging on their walls and even tearing down roofs.
"Although the backlash against protests turn deadly, it eventually forces the chiefs to resign and market tax impositions on women to be dropped," the UN Women said.
Marked annually on March 8, and under 2018 theme, "Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives”, events around the world capture the vibrant work of women activists and their mobilisation for change.
The first International Women’s Day in 1911 amassed more than one million people across Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland for women’s suffrage and labour rights.
According to the UN Women, in its early years, the Day became a mechanism to protest World War I.
Most notably, in Russia, a large women-led demonstration breaks out demanding "bread and peace!" and four days later, the Czar abdicated.
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Now a Russian national holiday, the Day is what some historians believe ignited the Russian Revolution.
“Today, the UN, grassroots women’s movements, civil society and others are working together to put an end to the practice, the UN women’s agency said.
In northeast Nigeria, however, the struggle has continued for women who are major victims of the attacks of terrorists.
Many have been made widows while some others have been made childless in the over eight years of insurgency.