Lola had finally decided to accept her fate. She stayed home to crack palm kernels for sale in the big market while her brothers went to school. She had gotten tired of complaining to several family members and crying her eyes out each time. Nobody seemed to be doing anything about her condition.
“It is the tradition”, they told her.
“Girl children are a waste of resources”.
Lola’s only offence was that she was born a girl.
Women are targets of repression and hostility, leading a life of aloofness— silenced, subdued and restricted. Their rights are trampled upon by the masculine gender. Not that these women committed some grievous offences but it’s all because they are ‘women’.
In the years past and even in some parts of the world presently, women are restricted from speaking in meetings. They are restricted from scholarly education and treated like they have no value.
Girl children are raised with the only aim and mindset of marrying them out in the near future. A couple who have female children are not counted as part of the society unless they have a son. The women are left to make babies, care for the home and meet all the husband’s needs. The only place a woman is allowed to exercise any right is in her kitchen.
Some time ago, a group of children argued about the full meaning of W. E. E. K. One of them proposing that the acronym above meant Women’s Education Ends in the Kitchen and the other opposing the idea.
I wasn’t very surprised to see the proposing child taking the lead in the semi – debate the kids were having among themselves. Why? The proposing child gave valid points to support his idea. He even threw in some rhetorical questions which left the opposing child perplexed.
It took me some great efforts not to get swept away by the little boy’s words. That is the kind of exposure and social conditioning these kids have and if not corrected early enough, they tend to grow with it and even begin to oppress the female folks in the future.
What about the widows?
They are the subjugated people of the world. They are rejected, accused and denied of even their own property. Why? Because they are women.
Have you read or heard about couples who ended up splitting up because the wife did a better job than the husband, or because they both worked for the same company but the wife’s rank and pay were higher than that of the husband?
I’ve stumbled on such story umpteen times. Because the woman receives a higher pay or is the boss in the same office where the husband works, she is asked to quit the job or risk the marriage. Have you ever wondered or bothered to ask why?
It’s simply because she’s a woman. She is the “weaker” sex. She is made to be under the leadership of the man. Now, what if their positions in the office were swapped? Would anyone ask the man to quit the job? What’s your answer and why so?
The women are tagged the weaker sex yet they are always over laboured. They are left to do all the work in the home and are still expected to show up in the bedroom afterwards. They experience discomfort when they are with child. This goes on for nine full months. These women go through labour pains which neither the husband nor any family member shares in and wherein their survival isn’t certain. They are still the ones who shoulder the responsibility of nursing the baby to maturity. Yet, they are called the weaker sex. Is being the weaker sex not supposed to be enough reason why they should be given all the attention, care and support? Are they not supposed to be relieved or at least assisted with work in the home?
Female Genital Mutilation is still a prevalent issue in Africa. Traditionally, it is believed that women who are mutilated have very little libido and will not lust after men, despite countless scientific and medical research stating the otherwise of the claim.
In almost every organization, women are treated with contempt. Our school system is not left out. When choosing Prefects to lead the school, the girls are automatically rewarded with the Deputy Prefects. For the position of a Senior Prefect or “Head boy”, a boy is always chosen, whether he is competent enough or not. The girl is chosen to assist him. Why not make the most competent the head and let the other assist despite their gender differences? The reason is glaring enough.
The height of it is the joke made about the full meaning of the term, “WOMEN”. A random person spelt the meaning out as – Woe of Men. What other insult could be done unto women? They have received all the insults and reproof that exists.
Hence, the need and reason for the Feminist movement in Africa.
Feminism is a social or political movement which argues that restriction on women and girls should be removed in order to bring equality of both sexes. Feminists are people who believe in bringing equality in both sexes.
With all that are meted out to women, I believe we should all be feminists. It is not an offence to be a women. Women didn’t ask to be women. There is need for them to be respected and treated well. This above all, is the primary objective of the feminist movement and feminism, as an ideology.
Feminism has effected some changes in the world’s principles. Most of these changes if not all are positive changes which have improved the value and status of our women.
In fact, the theory and practice of feminism has had significant and longstanding impacts on society, transforming and benefiting the lives of women and girls in the world, with emphasis on Africa. Feminism has challenged and confronted social injustices; addressed the intersecting impacts of gender, race, class, culture, nation, religion, sexual orientation, and disability; and drawn attention to countless other compelling instances of inequity and oppression.
Every day, news headlines direct our attention to crucial feminist concerns: rape, marriage equity; reproductive rights; equal pay for equal work; hate crimes; sex for grades on campuses— the list goes on. For centuries feminists all over the world have worked to identify, interrogate, and address the real and complex problems that have undermined and threatened women’s and girls’ right.
It’s been a tough road. Women seeking the most basic civil rights — the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to work, the right to control one’s own body — have been derided, assaulted, imprisoned, and even killed. In the 1890s, journalist Ida B. Wells’ business office was vandalized, and she was forced to flee the South when she challenged the racist myths behind lynching. The British suffragist Sylvia Pankhurst was force-fed in prison. Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old Pakistani girl, was shot for promoting girls’ education.
We owe these feminists a great debt. For Joseph Dobrian to dismiss and belittle the courage, intelligence, altruism, and impact of feminism by reducing centuries of progress to a crude Internet meme demonstrates an alarming level of ignorance, misogyny, and faulty logic.
The work of feminism continues to sustain and change our local communities. For example, faculty and students in the University of Iowa’s Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies program provide workshops about sexual assault, relationships, and domestic violence for incarcerated women at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville.
The feminist research GWSS students do reveals the struggles of single mothers; the economic contributions of women’s at-home day care; the unique health care practices of midwives; the value of online communities for gay and lesbian teens; and the challenges of rural poverty.
The UI Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) sponsor programs that foster women’s advancement, including the N.E.W. Leadership Conference for young women seeking greater involvement in the public sphere. Volunteers with the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) counsel rape survivors and spearhead rape prevention efforts; volunteers at the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) provide shelter and support for women and children brutalized in unsafe home environments.
For decades, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Emma Goldman Clinic have been empowering women to take charge of their own reproductive health by providing comprehensive health and sexual health education programs, family planning counseling, access to contraception and proactive, affordable health care. They have stood up for women all across this state to continue to demand access to health care, equality, and protection from domestic violence and sexual assault. These feminist activists recognize sexual assault and intimate partner violence as serious crimes, rather than as women getting “blotto so they can have conscience-free sex,” as Joseph Dobrian gibed in his Press-Citizen column on Feb. 11.
Feminists aim at empowering women, educating and enlightening them of their rights and as well fighting for the recognition of women in the society. This is also evident in Chimamanda Adichie’s letter to her friend titled, “Dear Ijeawele”.
With all the changes feminism has brought in some parts of the world, it is very glaring that feminism still has a future. Feminists are bound to keep pushing on until their message is spread to all parts of the world for equality between both sexes.
About the writer
Ubani Favour wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org