Breaking the Bias
I know many of you reading this would probably be thinking “Women have started again this new year, how many days do they even have? When do we celebrate men?” Well, I am here to tell you that you’re right and not only are you right, but also to remind you that mothers day is coming and we have about three to four mothers day in a year if I am not mistaken. So get ready to cry again just incase you’re crying.
I’m a woman, women need to be celebrated everyday. Men need to be celebrated everyday, you need to celebrate yourself everyday. So this shouldn’t be positioned as some of agenda in your mind, it’s only an issue of perspective. The world feels the need to celebrate women multiple times and if you feel the world should give the same energy to men, by all means, champion the cause and people would support you including women you can be rest assured. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk bias.
Last year, the International Women’s day was themed, “choose to challenge” Women came out in their numbers on social media to challenge stereotypes, bias and a lot of things that act as stumbling blocks to their career path and domestic life amongst other things. This year, the International Women’s Day has been themed “Breaking the Bias”
Speaking in Nigerian Vernacular, “Oyibo grammar too big sometimes, so let’s just say “partia” as in for “partiality” Breaking the Partiality against women. All the things wey dem don do to women wey if you look am with your clean mind, you sef know say this life women dey leave, dem dey cheat them, na wetin we dey come out to speak against.
Globally, women are speaking against the theme in the most ways that it affects them not from a general feminine stand point alone but domestically and locally to the degree of cultural, religious and traditional influence that has held many women down, killed their potentials and reduced them to just humans existing that never truly find the power to live for themselves but others. So let’s bring it home.
In our country Nigeria, what exactly is this Bias done to women that we unconsciously join in. Let’s see some familiar examples.
The road side engagements:
“Na woman dey drive that car, I dey 100 percent sure because man no fit drive this rubbish.”
“Na woman you be, you see any man for here?”
“This one no be woman work, na man work”
“During an interview: Do you plan on getting married soon or giving birth?”
“Would you be available to travel on the go?”
“Will your husband be comfortable with these working hours?”
“Is it just because of cramps that you can’t come to work?”
“We don’t allow children in the building.”
“Your own is just to marry a man that can take care of you and you’re set up for life.”
“I married at a very young age and you can too, it is tradition.”
“Once you have his surname, you’re set up for life.”
“Don’t even think about divorce, you want to bring disgrace to this family?”
“What will people say?”
“Nobody will marry you with this child, your life is finished.”
“How can you be watching tv when your mother is in the kitchen? Leave Junior alone, this is not how you will be acting in your husband’s house.”
“You cannot study this course, it’s only men that read it. Have you seen women study the course? Pick another one.”
The list is long. These are conversations that take place in our Nigerian Society almost every single day across different homes. They may look small but tiny drops of water they say, make a mighty ocean. These conversations have created stereotypes across different niches.
These stereotypes have frustrated women in Nigeria, have fueled their trauma, have increased their anger at life, have made them feel less because most of these questions if the tables were turned will not be asked to the male gender.
With a child out of wedlock, a man will still be able to marry without society condemning him a quarter of what they will do to the woman. Driving? Yes, most men are good drivers and some women are great drivers too. Just maybe, it’s the stereotype that fuels the fear even before they get behind a wheel. Marriage? The world is fast evolving, what makes you think a woman wants to be satisfied with that small shop you will open for her in front of the house, saddled with the responsibility of taking care of the domestic needs of the family while you struggle with a salary not enough to pay the bills and her knowledge that can fetch millions wastes away?
Why should only the girl child be made to be in the kitchen while junior is watching football with daddy? Can’t daddy be in the kitchen gisting with mummy and helping out while junior and his sister are fighting over who will cut the leaves or select the beans? Who says Daddy cannot also show Mary how to wash a car as she will drive hers someday and how to change the light bulb, alongside starting the generator?
The key is BALANCE. Yes, the fight for equality across different spaces in the society continues but if we are intentional about balance right from our homes and start thinking about the future prospects of our children, mentally positioning them in our minds for a great future, one that will speak volumes internationally, just may be we will not be meager in our thinking and raise our female children with such a mentality that if they actually grow up to live, without intervention from education, society and good company may just be disastrous to their future.
So today, the fight continues. Yes, it doesn’t always look feasible, it doesn’t look like much progress has been made but from afar when we look through the lenses of history and measure progress along side, indeed we would be forced to path ourselves on the back.
It is in this light I say that to all the women who have made our progress thus far possible, whose shoulders we continue to stand on and whose pain we make reference to as our currency of liberty; we have not forgotten and we will not forget. We will continue fighting to raise the standards even higher, to make women believe that they can experience a beautiful lifetime of existing in themselves and getting everything they grow up to want. It is not a false cause and we will experience more than a glimpse of it in our lifetime.
Let’s continue striving to BREAK THE BIAS.
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY.