Minutes of the exploratory lecture given by Dr. Hanatu Alahira, at the maiden meeting of Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) Nigeria chapter, on September 23, 2017.
The lecture started by giving the historical background of women’s liberation movement culminating in radical feminism and their struggle for gender equality within the context of Western capitalist development. It was observed that even though women have made appreciable achievements in reducing the gender gap in gender inequality in the West, gender inequality was still prevalent as manifested in still high numbers of sexism in almost all sectors of society.
The lecture surveyed the historical context of the introduction of Christianity into Africa by missionaries and mission societies which coincided with the introduction of colonialism. This created a paradoxical dilemma for the church in Africa because the African church has been associated with both the good news of the gospel as well as the evils of colonialism as a foreign ‘domineering’ and ‘exploitative’ power.
The association of Christianity with colonialism has made some Africans skeptical of Western philosophies and ideologies that are contrary to African beliefs and practices especially, gender equality as practiced in the West. This led to the resistance of most African churches to female ordination, except a few denominations like the Lutheran church and the Assemblies of God Church.
As a result of these paradoxes, the lecture advocated for the need for the redefinition and re-conceptualization of the concept of gender equality from both biblical and African perspectives.
Whereas pre-colonial African gender perspective was primarily complementary, biblical gender perspective is symmetrical and symbiotic. Such a distinction will open-up new analytical perspectives and research areas that will break the resistance of Africans to gender equality as a foreign Western concept and enable Africans re-conceptualize gender equality based on biblical doctrines and truth.
In conclusion, the Nigerian chapter is grateful for the platform that CBE International provides the CBE-Nigeria chapter to contribute to the conversation of gender equality that uphold the tenets of biblical truths and universal human virtues in constructive and beneficial ways to people of every gender, class, ethnicity, etc.. We believe our participation in this conversation will contribute to the creation of a conducive environment for justice, harmony, spiritual growth and economic development in Nigeria and in other parts of Africa.
–Dr. Hanatu Alahira
Dr. Hanatu Alahira is an Associate Professor of African History with specialization in Gender History in the Department of History and International Studies, Federal University Wukari, Nigeria. She graduated from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria in 1979 with BA (Hon) History and obtained her MA (History) and PhD (History) from the same University in 1988 and 2002 respectively. She has published extensively in peer-review academic journals and books publications. Dr. Hanatu is currently working on the university’s project of establishing a Center for Gender Studies. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Chapel of Peace (Non-denominational church) of the Federal University Wukari. She is a very strong mother and mentor in the church and provides leadership support for the Christian community on campus.