Thursday, April 21, 2016

Re-post from Daks In The City: Women are from Venus, Men are from...I Don't Really Know Where - On Nigeria's Gender Equality Bill

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I've never been more aware of the differences between men and women than in the past couple of years or so. Feminism, gender equality/inequality, women's rights, violence against women...and all such other clarion calls, have always been present in various forms throughout time but recently, propelled by social media have accelerated at an amazing velocity.

The battles being fought by women back when Emily Davison was killed by the Kings Horse at Derby in 1913, have transcended beyond the right to vote and receive an education to simply the right to be recognized as a human being.

Battle after battle being fought and the status quo never seems to change, sure every few years we'll be thrown some bone, a minor concession to make us seem like we're equal players, yet women in Saudi Arabia are still fighting for something as ridiculous as the right to drive a car, women in the West are requesting equal pay and the right to make a choice as to what they do with their bodies, women all over the world are being slut-shamed for being sexual beings, and here in Nigeria, the "Giant of Africa" a Gender Equality Bill is being opposed for a number of amazing reasons.

The Nigerian Gender Equality Bill seeks to undo years of patriarchy, mysogyny, discrimination and sexism by focusing on eliminating discrimination based on gender in the fields of politics, education and employment. It also prohibits violence, domestic and sexual, against women. It also hopes to achieve “the elimination of gender stereotyping, prejudices, and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes, or the roles for men and women.”

Now why, why for the love of God would any reasonable person not want that? Why would something that benefits over half of the population, at no cost whatsoever to the other half be rejected? What are you men so afraid of? What do you really think would happen if...God forbid... a woman had the backing of Law to do exactly what men have been able to do for centuries?

Well, let me tell you what some of our Nigerian men are afraid of.

One of the most ludicrous reasons being bandied about for opposing the Bill was that "it was in conflict with the Nigerian Constitution and negates the principles of the Sharia law, which the Constitution recognizes", this nonsense was spouted by Sani Yerima, a senator from Zamfara State who at the grand old age of 49 allegedly married a 13 year old girl. Yup, THIRTEEN. To put that in perspective, a girl who's in JSS2 or JSS3...a CHILD. This was not his first foray into the rarefied annals of paedophilia, our Nigerian Constitution and Sharia Law upholding Senator also previously married a 15 year old girl.

A key provision of this bill was to introduce 18 a the minimum legal age for marriage though...so we get why our righteous lawmaker was antsy.

Now this conflict has been raging for a while, so you may wonder why I am just getting het up about it. I've been SEETHING for weeks, but the final straw was when someone called Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe representing Abia State, said...oh my God...somebody's son, husband, father...said that the Bill was rejected out of fear that it would turn women into prostitutes, lesbians and make them abdicate their responsibilities.

It boggles the mind that a human being born of a woman (#NoMacduff) would spout such drivel.

This opinion goes beyond the the walls of the Senate and extends its tentacles all over the world, there are several men, and women even, who truly believe women should have no say over their own bodies, lives or choices. Who believe that it is best a man makes all the important decisions for them. That we are lesser beings as a result of our gender. That we are incapable of thinking for ourselves. That we cannot handle freedom. That no amount of achievements, successes...anything, can make up for not being born a man.

Nigeria is pretty much THE most hypocritical society I have ever seen. People constantly seek to police other peoples bodies, choices, lives...while flagrantly engaged in similar or even worse acts. Is this Senator trying to say since men are considered superior and have all this freedom, they are also prostitutes and homosexuals just prancing around abdicating their responsibilities?

A man who grew up in a household watching his mother take care of the whole family, provide financially, deny herself pleasures to ensure her children are taken care of, turn a blind eye to her husbands infidelities and focus on her children, turn to God every day standing in the gap for her family...it is unbelievable to see such a man truly believe he is superior because he's a man.

Not to say all women are model parents but more often than not, this is the case.

This issue may have been over flogged, but thankfully there are millions of women out there who are ready to beat this dead horse to life.

Women who stay ready to protest, to write, to talk to their women, talk to their ignorant sisters, to use whatever pedestal or advantage they have to push the issue of gender inequality. This fight is not only for ourselves, it is for our daughters, grand daughters because it is our mothers and grandmothers...all the amazing women who came before us who ensured that today we can get into a car and drive wherever we want, we can go to university, own businesses, own property, leave our houses without our fathers permission, marry who we want, live alone, travel alone.

The memory of the scores of women who literally gave their lives for our cause ensures that we stay strong and united and never stop fighting to be recognized as human beings in our own right.

The Gender Equality Bill was thrown out at the 2nd Reading but it will surface again. In preparation for when it does, we Nigerian women have to get in formation (yaaasss Bey).

We need to organize, break down the false information surrounding feminism and women's rights and show people that it is to a society's advantage that women are empowered. Engage young girls actively to ensure they understand the kind of world they're growing up in and arm them with the tools to survive. Raise your sons to know and do better. Shame your men into joining the struggle. Vote out enemies of progress like Senator Yerima and Senator Abaribe, so those that come after them will know their constituents are watching them. Become active ourselves and hopefully one day be elected to such positions from where we can influence decisions concerning women.

Your mothers, sisters, daughters, the ones that will come after you will thank you for putting yourselves on the line for them.

Remain vigilant, remain ready to fight. Complacency gets us killed, beaten, raped, abandoned.....

"Do not go gentle into that good night, rage against the dying of the light."

Love and Light x
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11 comments

  1. Thank you for writing this. I've learned that the misconception around feminism is often a willful ignorance. Most people have the right information but choose to ignore it so they can push their own agenda. They go about making ridiculous statements like "Feminists are ugly, frustrated women" or "Feminists are angry lesbians" and so on. I've met women who are clearly feminists but say they aren't because they're afraid no man (Nigerian man, to be specific) will like them or "marry" them. To each their own.

    I can't imagine not being a feminist. I can't imagine pretending to be who I'm not simply because I want to be liked or accepted. I'm going to do all I can to make sure The Gender Equality Bill gets passed when it resurfaces. All those who are frightened of a society where women enjoy the same rights that men have enjoyed for years, and who are intimidated by successful, smart, liberated women better buckle up.

    Thanks again, and well done. Women like you make me proud.

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  2. Noticed you reposted from the Daks in the city articles on Genevieve. Are you sure your allowed to do that? Because you dont even credit the writer or even link back to the original article. Just a warning.

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    1. She is Daks in the city!

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  3. @Layo , Adaku (Daks) is the content owner and writer of the article she reposted. x



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  4. I loved this post, it is important for us as women to continue to take a stand to fight against oppression and to speak up for those who have no voice, this is what I believe you have done with your article. Well done dear, you inspire me!

    www.wurassecrethair.blogspot.com

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  5. I completely agree with. However, what is shocking to me is that the women you'd expect to be up in arms over this issue have tacitly acquiesced to the disrespect and oppression. Many women (of all ages and stations) are of the mindset that we don't need, nay, deserve equality because we are women and should be under a man. The way they interact with men, shame other women for being single, defer to men and raise their sons is evidence of this. It's scary when I hear the conversations around this bill, and a small handful of voices are against it while the overwhelming majority just shrugs off the issue. I worry for this country.

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  6. first good write. second men are very insecure and have done everything over centuries to hide those insecurities and will go to any length to achieve this including doing the most atrocious things. third it is shameful that the world in 2016 is still at this point and as for Nigeria...

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  7. I think that the major problems here are ignorance and religion (not spirituality). People don't really understand what feminism is, either because they haven't been properly educated in a way that they can understand, or with a tone and in details that they can be receptive and relate to.

    Religion because people have not taken the time to search their spirits about what God's heart and love for ALL humanity is about. Our religious 'sources' have been taken at wrong value and have been twisted and abused, as with most things handled by humans..
    My disappointment over this bill rejection was indeed bone melting, i couldn't believe it.

    For real, aside from legislation, i believe a lot needs to be done starting from the home front. Mothers and fathers should instill and practise this basic principle from the onset. When these kids grow up and populate the society, they'll already have the right ideals.

    I fight this battle in my everyday life. When i jam any idiotic person (male or female) who threatens my basic human rights because i'm female, i take great pleasure and care to disabuse them of their madness..


    SkyNotFancy

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  8. Re: "Is this Senator trying to say since men are considered superior and have all this freedom, they are also prostitutes and homosexuals just prancing around abdicating their responsibilities?"

    In fairness, a lot of them actually are...so I kinda sorta see where he's coming from. He clearly would like to protect the monopoly they are currently enjoying on being useless. *rme to the back of my head*

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  9. yes dear. actually a lot of men are homosexuals acting like they are not and aren't many men just prancing about abdicating their duties when the whole of society is built on the patience, resilience and love of our mothers?

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  10. by the way Im male just so you do not think only females comment on profashional. I am anonymous because it helps to stay neutral. since there are more than one anonymous here my posts April 22, 2016 at 5:11 PM and May 12, 2016 at 6:03 PM. So maybe I should be Anonymous with the posts that end with *****. yes five stars. quite a number of men are rethinking the role playing that the world has imposed on them but it is a difficult prison to get out of that is why the women have to help too. and some have been helping just like Daks. be feminine, be proud (positive pride now - the negative one will only make you male - they are the ones who have been told its ok to be egotistic), own it, pass it on just like Sky wrote because it is energy that has kept the earth going and functioning. the tenderness, the intuition, the aestheticism or appreciation for the more beautiful-subtler-finer things of life, the nurturing, the amazing power to heal and forgive and bring forth life and connect to source, the big heart etc. and somehow being feminine has gone beyond gender and sexuality. It is the universe's way of balancing things. the world is changing. things are changing. it will not happen now and will take years just like it took Afro Americans to get to the white house and for gay rights to be accepted and for Sirleaf and Merkel and Lagarde. but it is definitely going to happen. it has been burgeoning for a long time. the next frontier is the emancipation of our women because that is the future. it is probably the last thing to happen before our earth becomes a much better place and I really want it to happen in my lifetime because then a lot of things will be put into perspective. the world will realize how foolish it had been and how unnecessary a lot of things have been. and the women need to be proactive about it, smart about it, wise about it, take risks about it and try to take their power back, also realize that there are some men who will even help and those should be valued and not thought of as the "other gender", and also stop seeing other women as competition but as co partners. It is going to happen. the time when women also call the shots and do their thing without feeling like or having to play second fiddle. over all femininity is a gift and a calling more like and it can be bestowed upon anyone regardless of whether they are male or female. *****

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