Mum Can Do It!

From the #HistoryOfUs series: Memorial Head Of A Queen Mother (Iyoba), Kingdom of Benin (Nigeria), 16th c.

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Memorial Head of a Queen Mother (Iyoba) (Early 16th century)Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Men continue to dominate positions of power. They make up the majority of CEOs, directors, politicians, and more. To combat gender gaps, it's important for women to have role models.

You can find these role models throughout the world, and you can also find them throughout history, like Idia, Queen Mother of the 16th century Kingdom of Benin (today in Nigeria).

Idia was mother to King Esigie of Benin, and she was already famed for her political nous, mystical power and command of medicine.

In 1515, the capital of Benin was attacked by neighboring cities and the young and inexperienced king, was beginning to panic. Idia calmed him down and then swiftly took over.

She drafted emergency legislation, negotiated treaty terms with foreign diplomats and raised an army which she accompanied to war herself. And she won.

Her son, being a good son, was in no doubt how much he owed his mum, and created a new title for her: Iyoba, meaning Queen Mother, a political position that would live on for generations.

She was given her own palace with a full-time staff of servants and power equal to any other chieftain at court.

The intricate bust shows Idia, the first Iyoba, with coral war crown, or one of her early successors.
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Credits: Story

#HistoryOfUs series

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz

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