In Nigeria, as with many other places in the world, the Church is growing at a phenomenal rate, consisting of numerous Christian denominations both old and new. This spread of religious institutions holds both positive and negative promise; on the one hand, multiple denominations provide new forms of leadership, as well as checks and balances to orthodox churches, while on the other, harmful doctrines and misinterpretation of scripture can hinder women’s emancipation. It is in this context that this paper explores the need, status, and relevance of feminist thinking and leadership in Christian theological education in Nigeria. Through literature review, the paper highlights the historical neglect of feminism and feminist values exhibited by the Church, and argues that such a position is unnecessary given the values shared by both Christian theology and feminism.
The paper begins by expanding upon the concepts of feminism, feminist leadership, and theology, before outlining some theological reasons for concern, including the spread of misogynistic interpretations of the Adam and Eve story contributing to negative gender attitudes. The relevance of feminist leadership is then discussed, with a mention given to the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians who target the gospel from African perspectives that are more inclined to view men and women equally. The author concludes that there is a great need for more feminist leaders and Christian theological schools in contemporary Nigerian society to shed more light on the issues affecting women. Christian values of justice, compassion, and honesty should be utilised to tackle negative gender norms and reshape public opinion about women, something that will require feminist values and leadership to be included through theological education, and into the Church itself.