Women activists who have fought for decades side-by-side with men for eliminating the oil and gas pollution in the Niger Delta, often feel painfully unsupported by their male peers when it comes to overthrowing traditional practices that undermine women’s human rights. “Let us resolve the big issues first, then we’ll come to women’s problems”, is an often-heard response.
Rather than setting aside gender as a matter of secondary importance, Daughters of the Niger Delta shows that gender is intrinsically interwoven with the mainstream current affairs in the Niger Delta. Women are hit hardest by the environmental pollution in their backyard. They suffer most directly from the inadequate public service delivery in their communities. Moreover, they could be powerful catalysers for development – if only they were empowered to thrive.
Daughters of the Niger Delta illustrates how the human rights of women in the Niger Delta are undermined by the accumulating effects of corporate irresponsibility, failing public service delivery, and traditional gender practices. The film shows how these seemingly distinct issues come together in women's lives and undermine their capacity to be healthy, educated, and economically secure.
Strengthening women’s voices in the public arena might help to draw public attention to issues that currently are not prioritised in the public policy discourse - including water supply, health care, and economic development. The fragile peace in the region may not be sustained if these issues continue to be ignored.