Arts & Academia

Prof Aishatu Madawaki: The Academic-Politician Who Advocates for Gender Equality

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Aishatu Madawaki is a Nigerian academician and politician. She is the first woman professor from the old Sokoto caliphate states (made of the present-day Sokoto State, Zamfara State, and Kebbi State), an Islamic-dominated region in Northern Nigeria.

Born and raised in Gusau, Madawaki finished her primary education at Sarkin Kudu Primary School. She moved on to Government Girls Secondary School, Kotarkoshi, for her secondary education. Not relenting, Aishatu proceeded to the College of Education, Sokoto (renamed Shehu Shagari College of Education), where she got her National Certificate in Education.

She began lecturing on Educational Psychology in the institution shortly after her degree program. Having a burning desire to accomplish more remarkable feats in education, she obtained her master’s degree from Danfodio University, and her Doctorate from Bayero University; all located in Nigeria.

 “I saw the area to be an interesting field, most especially as a woman, and as a mother. I thought the course would be useful to me, my children, and the community itself. Psychology is all about the study of human behaviour, the how, what and, when. By the time you meet with people, and you are able to draw insights from observing them, then half of the problem is solved.”

With the influence Aishatu had garnered over time, she was made commissioner for women’s affairs and social development to the government of Attahiru Bafarawa between 1999-03. During her time as a commissioner, she catered for the less privileged, orphans and disabled within the 23 local governments in the state.

Also, in 2014, she was appointed as a delegate to represent Sokoto State in the sovereign national conference, an initiative of former President Goodluck Jonathan on finding permanent solutions to problems that arise in the cohabitation of Nigerians.

Seeing how relegated women are in politics, In 2017, Aishatu spearheaded a peaceful protest in Sokoto State that called for a woman president in Nigeria and made drastic moves for more representation of women within the state. This moved government officials to reiterate their commitment to gender equity in the state.

Being a firsthand beneficiary of her access to education, she advocates for the need for women to become educated in the northern state and she continually speaks against underage marriage among Nothern women.

“I am more concerned about the orientation of the family, especially for the girlchild. I was also married quite early, but my parents knew the value of education, and it didn’t deter me from furthering it,” she said. “Marginalization of women in any form should be eradicated from the human space.”

She further stated that even though the demands of a person’s religion supersede gender unification, women should not be seen as inferiors to men. They may perform better than their male counterparts if provided with equal opportunities in certain aspects of life. She condemned tribalism and favouritism in the Nigerian political and societal space as being partly responsible for gender segmentation in Nigeria.

Aishatu Madawaki is not only relevant in the academic world but also passionate about enlightening other women and prioritizing the value of female education. She remains a true inspiration to women in Africa with a strong message that anyone can rise above the status quo.

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