Former University of Ibadan Vice Chancellor and emeritus professor of English Language, Professor Ayo Banjo, and Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Matters, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, have decried what they called ancient systems and structures that limit the Nigerian woman.
They, however, admitted that going by the array of women in history who have distinguished themselves as icons, the Nigerian history cannot be effectively written without giving women a prime place.
They both said this in the foreword to a book written by the retired Director of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, and former Commissioner in the Western Region, Professor (Mrs) Bolanle Awe, entitled Nigerian Women Pioneers and Icons.
The book is a historical assessment of the contributions of 34 women pioneers from pre-colonial era till date that showcases their uncommon contributions to the historical development of Nigeria.
Some of the women recognised in the book include Nana Asmau, Hajiya Fatima Lolo, Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti; Wuraola Adepeju-Esan; Margaret John Ekpo, Irene Thomas; Ladi Kwali, Adetowun Ogunsheye; Mabel Segun; Flora Nwapa; Folake Solanke; Grace Alele Williams; Gambo Sawaba; Hansine Napwanijo Donli, Onyeka Onwenu; Zaynab Alkali; Batule Alake; Joy Ogwu, among others.
According to Professor Banjo, prejudice and discrimination, which he likened to the racial prejudice of apartheid South Africa, had been the bane of the assessment of the contributions of women to the Nigerian history, which he said suggested that a gender was superior to the other.
In her own contribution, Hon. Dabiri-Erewa called for an understanding of the difference between the modern woman and her foremothers.
“The most significant difference is that the modern woman works and earns a living most of her adult life, whereas her forerunner, once married, stays at home and takes care of domestic affairs,” she said, asking for the striking of balance by the modern woman in her different roles.