This is a continuation from GENDER EQUALITY |The Way Forward -2 |…read from the first part of this article to have a better grasp of the context.
…Before now, ladies are shamed on their sexual decisions. A decision men were exalted for. As Atoke wrote in +234,”As a Nigerian woman, you’re raised to be a certain way. Be independent, but not so much that you scare a potential suitor away. Buy a car, but not a big intimidating one – a Kia Picanto would do nicely. No, don’t go thinking it’s okay to buy a monster truck like Infinity QX 56. Don’t say I did not warn you. Also be good in bed but don’t be that sexual goddess channeling all your Karma Sutra moves. Remember to turn off the lights, because intimacy is more acceptable when you’re doing it in the dark. A Nigerian woman is ideally to be prim and ready only for her husband. And when she is of age and about to be thrown into the abyss of Marriage, missionary is the only position she knows. Anything else raises suspicions and confirms that she is a woman of loose morals. Reverse cowgirl? Who taught her that? Where has she been? What has she been reading? And don’t you say Songs of Solomon.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaking to graduates of Wellesley College said “My mother and I do not agree on many things regarding gender. There are certain things my mother believes a person should do, for the simple reason that said person ‘is a woman.’ Such as nod occasionally and smile even when smiling is the last thing one wants to do. Such as strategically give in to certain arguments, especially when arguing with a non-female. Such as get married and have children. I can think of fairly good reasons for doing any of these. But ‘because you are a woman’ is not one of them”.
As of 2017, gender equality is the fifth of seventeen sustainable development goals of the United Nations.
Success has been recorded in the fight for gender equality. In the United States, a wife’s legal subordination to her husband was fully ended by the case of Kirchberg v. Feenstra, 450 U.S.455 (1981), a United States Supreme Courtcase in which the Court held a Louisiana Head and Master law, which gave sole control of marital property to the husband, unconstitutional. In Namibia the marital power of the husband was abolished in 1996 by the Married Persons Equality Act; in Botswana it was abolished in 2004 by the Abolition of Marital Power Act; and in Lesotho it was abolished in 2006 by the Married Persons Equality Act.
However, the war is not won yet as violence against a wife continues to be seen as legally acceptable in some countries; for instance in 2010, the United Arab Emirates Supreme Court ruled that a man has the right to physically discipline his wife and children as long as he does not leave physical marks. In Iraq husbands have a legal right to “punish” their wives.
These are familial examples but on a large scale, Saudi Arabia has finally legalize the right for women to drive cars, women are now allowed to votes in some Muslim countries, they are allowed to contest for political positions and education for the girl child is gathering pace. We are still a long way off but we are getting there.
We must understand that men are not inherently bad or evil. They are merely privileged. And privilege blinds because it is the nature of privilege to blind.
We already know that the world does not extend to women the many small courtesies that it extends to men. However, it isn’t perfect for the male gender too. Women are accustomed to thinking that men are comfortable in their position. Gender equality raises questions on the basis of equality such as;
1) why are women paid alimony?
2) why do men have to do proposals?
3)why do men pay the bride price (not counting India)?
4)why are men allowed polygamy and women aren’t allowed polyandry?
5)why are there comfortable housewives but women aren’t okay with stay at home husbands?
6)why do divorce settlement favour Women?
7)why are women entitled to maternal leave but men aren’t (few countries like Sweden do it)?
8)why is financially responsibility solely at the feet of men?
9)will anarchy not be the order of the day over clash of superiority?
10) what will be the position of Androgynous (person with qualities of both male and female gender)?
11) what happens to ladies who choose to act like men (Tom boy), men who act like ladies (effeminate) and cross dressers?
Many questions are bound to exist and arise as the world evolve. If opportunities are equal and both genders are equal, why do these segregation still exist? Afterall they are gender roles created by society. Asking for equality and expecting men to do the same things they were doing before gender equality gained ground smacks of eating your cake and having it. It is the highest form of hypocrisy. Having attained the highest educational qualification and job like men, it is only right that everyone share in financial and domestic responsibilities – that is equality.
Michael Jackson succinctly sang in his song “Will You Be There”
But They Told Me
A Man Should Be Faithful
And Walk When Not Able
And Fight Till The End
But I’m Only Human
Women should understand that men are raised to live under unrealistic pressure. Gender equality is meant to bridge the gap between the neck choaking societal expections from men and the unprivileged position of women. Now with equal chances, both gender can strive together to work towards personal and collective excellence confidence.
I doubt if the fight for gender equality would ever be won seeing that men won’t drop their ego and women are willingly succumbing themselves to the whims of men. When you allow your self to be used as room compliment for male hotel guests or carry on bedwarmer for men during conference trips, getting married in a jobless state just to be under the financial umbrella of a man, seeing sex as something men take from you rather than what you do for personal and mutual satisfaction, or remain content with under privileged positions because you are a woman, allow men determine your career and personal fate or expect men to still make decision and cater for your financial needs despite having equal opportunities, then all hope is lost.
How you present yourself and how you are seen, will always affect decisions in the grand scheme of things. Perception is stronger than the truth.
The tomorrow we want can only happen when we begin to question norms, think independently and not be afraid to swim against the tide. In closing, I’ll leave you with an excerpt of Chimamanda Adichie’s speech.
“We can not always bend the world into the shapes we want but we can try, we can make a concerted and real and true effort.
Minister to the world in a way that can change it. Minister radically in a real, active, practical, get your hands dirty way.
Write television shows in which female strength is not depicted as remarkable but merely normal.
Teach your students to see that vulnerability is a HUMAN rather than a FEMALE trait.
Commission magazine articles that teach men HOW TO KEEP A WOMAN HAPPY. Because there are already too many articles that tell women how to keep a man happy. And in media interviews make sure fathers are asked how they balance family and work. In this age of ‘parenting as guilt,’ please spread the guilt equally. Make fathers feel as bad as mothers. Make fathers share in the glory of guilt.
Hire more women where there are few. But remember that a woman you hire doesn’t have to be exceptionally good. Like a majority of the men who get hired, she just needs to be good enough”.
What is your perception of gender equality? To what extent should it be practiced? Are men being discriminated against too? What does feminism mean to you? Is gender role a blessing or a curse? Please feel free to express your thoughts in the comment section.
Peace, Love and Spaghetti ✌
Featured Writer: Wisdom Dickson
Dickson is a lawyer and voracious reader who blows off steam by reading and watching movies when he is not screaming and rooting for Liverpool’s every match day. Don’t mind him if he sound light-hearted sometimes. Having lived in every part of the Nigeria, you begin to realize that life is not that serious. In his thinking room, he decides to sit behind his keyboard and a cup of coffee to dissect prevailing social issues. In his words “My mind is pressed. Allow me ease my pen.”
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