chapter  12
28 Pages

The Dynamics of WINning: An Analysis of Women in Nigeria (WIN)

This essay is an assessment of the organization Women in Nigeria (WIN). One Nigerian newspaper distinguished WIN from other organizations in the women's movement for its "radicalism, uncompromising objectives, fearlessness in the face of the dreaded 'feminist' tag, identification with rural and illiterate women and a socialist perspective" (Bryce 1987). Yet Ifi Amadiume argues that all national women's organizations in Nigeria wittingly or unwittingly articulate the interests of Western imperialism and are "irrelevant" for "grass-roots and working-class women." She states that while WIN's posture is radical and politically committed, a "lack of ideological self-definition by WIN has left room for elite opportunism" (Amadiume 1990, 56). Bolanle Awe and Nina Mba of the Women's Research and Documentation Centre at the University of lbadan provide a different assessment. They point out that "WWN has articulated a powerful socialist/feminist posture on a number of events and issues since 1982." However, they go on to say that while WIN has "represented itself as the voice of the oppressed masses of women, its primary achievement has been the sponsorship of research and teaching about women and the elaboration of a socialist/feminist ideology underpinning its research and other activities" (Awe and Mba 1991, 860). Elsewhere, Awe has also said that "unlike in other post-independence [women's] societies, [WIN] has worked closely at mobilizing women at the grassroots and with other organizations which seek to change the structure of society" (Awe 1988, 10}. More than a decade after the first WIN seminar in 1982, it seems crucial to consider WIN's principles and mode of organization, its work and activities, its achievements and failures, its potential, and possible directions for the future.