My pastor, Bishop Maxwell C. Korie has a unique way of describing women. While men were refined once from the dust, women were double refined by a perfect God. Going by the Biblical point of view, the pastor’s point is true but going by the tales of the plight of the African women, one doubts if they are actually God’s handiwork. Let me explain.
African ancient cultural beliefs set men well above women as most responsibilities they are saddled with are majorly to support and cater for the head of the house, the man. The 21st century woman is however a product of extensive mutation of the normal female gene.
There is virtually almost no area that women are not challenging men. From medicine, music to mortuary, males are daily having their God- given egos challenged by the Biblical ribs. Gender equality is now an issue most employers contend with as the undue preference of male gender over female is a long gone issue. In sectors like banking and financial institutions, female employees are fast out numbering the male contemporaries.
The cases described earlier are of developed countries. In the third world nations however, women, especially those in the rural areas, are still languishing under the heavy impacts of ancestral gender bias, intimidation, compelled surbordination and barbaric cultural practices like genital mutilation and forced marriages.
It is a clear truth that the limited roles of women in Nigerian affairs could be traced to our inertia which makes certain illogical practices vital determinants in our affairs. Let’s make some instances.
The National Assembly could not pass into law a bill prohibiting child marriages because they believed the tradition is a core part of the cultural practice of some tribes! How can these young, forced wives ideate and create to elevate the state?
In spite of all peculiar gender challenges and impeding cultural traditions, some Nigerian women are distinguished as amazons in their fields and worthy mentors for young girls, and boys alike.
They include Kudirat Abiola, Fela’s mum, Dora Akuniyili, Oby Ezekwesili, and several others. They’ve shown that womanhood is not all about cooking, fashion and gossips. Like their male counterparts, some women had warmed their ways into our history’s bad books.
People like Patricia Etteh, Iyabo Obasanjo, Prof. Adenike Granje (disgraced minister of health), and with due respect, madam first lady, Turai, are no longer epitomes of womanhood based on ridiculous accusations and allegations, just like their male counterparts.
Nigeria’s recent events, and those on the international arena are showing all the differences between males and females are not reasons for good acts or bad attitudes, they are a factor of choices made.
In this regard, it is expedient for this year’s International World Women Day ceremonies to recognize women daily making good choices in the daily chores and corporate duties, cultures making choices to respect women more, and governments and institutions who have chosen to work tirelessly towards the enforcement of gender equality and fairer treatment of women at all levels.
They are the reason for 8th March of every year. Their choices made the world a better place for all, let’s thank them. To them I say Happy 2010 International Women day.