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'''Pre-colonialism in Igboland'''
The Igbo political system was built on collectivism. They did not distribute power by force amongst one another. In the Igbo community, they did not believe in authority or power being specialized within their political institution. Because of their scattered community, it was easier for them to work as a union on political matters they faced within the village. Igbo tradition was to have village assemblies where they would discuss concerns and mutually agree on decisions for solutions. Factors that played into choosing leaders within their political system were candidates who lived in good faith, generous, and intellectual speakers (persuasive and influential speech). Men and women were both able to be leaders, however, women were at a disadvantage to men because of their patrilineage. Women could achieve status through her own accomplishments even though men were able to gain resources easily. Also, they were able to advance in their rankings amongst other women, whereas men instantly developed status from birth. Even though it was rare for most women to obtain prestige, there was no official limitation of power on women.[1]
There were multiple reasons a man could be subjected to the practice of "sitting on a man". If a man was found mistreating his wife, allowing his cows to eat the women's crops, breaking the rules of the market, or causing marital disputes, women would collectively consult with the mikiri (a forum which gave women the opportunity to gather for political, kinship, and market regulation issues) and if it gave support to the woman making the grievance, and they would employ the practice.<ref name="CJAS">{{cite journal|date=1972|title="Sitting on a Man": Colonialism and the Lost Political Institutions of Igbo Women|url=http://www.artsrn.ualberta.ca/amcdouga/Hist247/winter%202010/additional%20rdgs/sitting_on_man.pdf|journal=Canadian Journal of African Studies|volume=6|issue=2|pages=165–181|last1=Van Allen|first1=Judith}}</ref> Women would wear ferns on their heads and don loincloths. They would paint their faces with charcoal and carry sticks wreathed with palm fronds.<ref>{{cite book|last1=French|first1=Marilyn|title=From Eve to Dawn: Revolutions and the struggles for justice in the 20th century|date=2008|publisher=Feminist Press at CUNY|location=New York|isbn=978-1-55861-628-8|page=287|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=Hyr9pwbqeqoC&lpg=PA287&dq=%22sitting%20on%20a%20man%22&pg=PA287#v=onepage&q&f=false}}</ref> Such a display of solidarity among women reinforced their influential role in society, offered access to autonomy throughout pre-colonial times, and lent itself as an effective measure to enact change.<ref name=":0">{{Cite book|title="Sitting On A Man":Colonialism and the Lost Political Institutions of Igbo Women|last=Judith|first=Allen|publisher=Canadian Association of African Studies|year=|isbn=|location=|pages=171|quote=|via=}}</ref>
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