Monday, June 21,
2021 / 10:00 AM / Ayomide Oguntoye for WebTV / Header Image Credit: BBC
Despite vigorous campaign and efforts aimed at achieving equal representation of women in governance, they are still treated as unequal to men. age-old traditional beliefs, women's weaknesses, and men's ego have been identified as some of the reasons for this discrimination. Aisha Yesufu, a socio-political activist and the co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) Movements, recently expressed this view as regards the expectations, threats and opportunities for the Nigerian women in politics.
Speaking on fundamental rights and gender equality, she stated that the government had not yielded to the demands of women, an example of which was when the Nigerian Senate voted down the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill in 2016, aimed at giving women rights equal to those of men, not just in politics but in various spheres of life. She emphasized the fact that a woman's right is also human rights and as such deserved to be treated with equity.
Yesufu, speaking on societal expectations of women, described as unhealthy the expectation of society of women leading to female abuse and the lowering of the opportunities available to women. An example is women's lack of access to property on being married, thereby limiting their chances of marriage.
In politics, Yesufu noted that inequality in politics was an age-long problem that could be traced to the home, considering how the girl-child and the boy-child are raised. The boy-child, according to her, is allowed to play with his peers, while the girl child is expected to stay back at home to do the home chores, excluding the girl-child from societal participation and inclusion.
She added that loss of identity and name-calling within society has prevented woman from participating in politics. Citing herself as an example, she observed that women should see themselves first as human beings and live by their own standards as opposed to societal standards.
According to her, one way to ending patriarchal dominance is for women to find a creative way to project themselves in the society, regardless of the prevailing social standards. Women should also ensure that their voices are heard. She also advised women to be responsible and financially independent
Speaking further, the BBOG co-convener noted that a woman should be allowed to be who she wants to be even at home. She added that the business of the home should be based on partnership between the man and the woman and as such, jointly managed. The boy-child should be trained to understand that a man is not superior to a woman, as they are both equal.
"It is important that, as a society, we do away with gender-based rules and embrace strength-based rules" Yesufu suggested.
She added that a nation can only be considered developed when it runs an inclusive government. She therefore called on the Nigerian government to operate a strength-based and an inclusive government that can drive development.
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