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Child Marriage: An Undying Culture?

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The plight of the girlchild in Northern Nigeria is very pathetic.  The ideal age for marriage, for ladies though it varies, is usually between 20 to 26 and 25 to 30 for men, but it is an entirely different issue when it has to do with Northern Nigeria.

In the North, little girls who have started menstruating are considered mature for marriage and the case of menstruation varies as a girl of twelve can be given out for marriage based on the fact that she has started menstruating.

Early marriage or child marriage is a pre-dominant phenomenon especially in interior villages of northern Nigeria.

Infact, it is virtually their way of life and it is seen as normal.

Parents derive pleasure in the practice of giving out their young daughters to older men in marriage.  This practice thrives, due to a number of factors to some parents, it is a way of raising their economic and social status. They give out their girl-child to a man whose family is wealthy and who they feel can cater for the girl as well as her parents not considering what she wants thereby relegating the significance of love to the background.

Gender-bias is another factor that has facilitated the ugly monster called early marriage of the girl-child in Northern Nigeria.  Parents of these children due to their mind-set, see the girl-child as a weak sex, they place little or no value on her and as such perceive her as one not worth the stress of upbringing.

Lack of education has also been fingered as a major propeller of this tradition of a sect.

Because these girls have no educational background, their parents see them as burden worth getting rid of by marrying them off.

Pressures from older members of the family and community also contribute immensely in this direction.  Moreso, the notion that early pregnancy leads to larger families and hence providing heirs to the throne has beclouded the sense of reasoning of those concerned.

As enticing as this practice seems, it has its harmful effects on these little girls which the parents are ignorant of, but it is high time they changed their mentality for the better because early marriage has inflicted dangerous and devastating effects on young children who are compelled to tie the knot.  Some of these effects are;

Psychological and emotional stress like forced sexual relationship, denial of freedom and personal development as taking care of household chores now becomes a priority for the girl-child.  She is faced with the responsibility of raising children when in most cases her system is not yet prepared and mature enough for such function of preparing food for her husband and keeping the house neat at all times.  This of course is a tedious task for a girl of fourteen.

Severe health problems during pregnancy and child birth is the fallout of this phenomenon.  This is because, these girls were not well developed  before they conceived, which of course make delivery difficult, and this resulting to high mortality rate.  There is also the threat of sexually transmitted diseases which she is exposed to in such an environment.

These men who marry these young victims are no mates of theirs.  They are such that are already mature and developed.  Some of them take undue advantage of the immature age of their so called wives to frolic with free ladies outside their marriage.

The result is that diseases are contracted along the line and passed on to these innocent ones who eventually bear the brunt of such ailments.

Ailments such as Visco Vaginal Fistula (VVF) and other unpopular reproductive track diseases have become common among these young ones because they were forced into early sexual and reproductive activities.

Aside the health risks involved in this matter, the girl child remains perpetually enslaved and undeveloped.  Woe betides her if she had not seen or finished her secondary education before she is forced into marriage because she will never think in that direction again except a fortunate few.

These master-husbands so cage these young wives so much that their freedom of movement and interaction are infringed upon.  They fear that the wives if let out could become exposed and hence wiser to the detriment of the husbands.

The Nigerian constitution recognisers any child under the age of 18 years as minor, and so such can not decide for him/herself but depend wholly on the parents.

The parents on their part must not betray the confidence reposed on them by these young ones by way of exchanging them for purpose of cushioning the effect of harsh economy.

The rights and privileges of theses young ones must be protected.

 

Ephraim Elizabeth

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Looking Trendy In African Prints

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Fashion is dynamic as it changes with time. It can be St Michaels today and changes to Zara tomorrow. The next two or more years another guru can come up to take over the trending world.
Those who are in love with fashion always follow the trend. They want to appear trendy always. They are normally interested in every new design. Sometimes other necessities of life may matter to them as fashion will keep them going.
Fashion covers a wide range of fabrics. It just depends on the kind of fabrics anyone would love to go for.
It is important you know what kind of fashion you go for. Are you a jeans lover. Handbags and jewelries to match your dressing matte a lot. Colours of jackets and shoes that will go with ones personality also matter when it concerns fashion.
If you like being trendy, you need to know your brands. Each fashion designer will like to make sure they release new items once in a while to keep her customers abreast of the newest in town.
It may be difficult to keep track of all the fashion you see in the market of shop. It is better to make your selection and forgo other that may not suit you at that time.
It is necessary to follow fashion shows. All over the world today, various fashion shows take place in many cities at different time annually. Both fashion designers and their clients can see how to mix and match their outfits when they visit fashion homes.
In the years past, Ankara or African print was used as only wrappers by women. But nowadays, print can be used by ladies for shirts/blouses and even gowns. It is used for trousers and tops depending on the style in vogue.

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Women And Equal Representation In Society

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Women’s full and equal participation in all facets of society is a fundamental human right. Yet, within our communities, states and Nigeria at large and in fact the world over from politics to entertainment to the workplace, women and girls are largely under-represented.
When we take a closer look at this gender sensitivity over time, it clearly shows it has been imbalance.
Perhaps due to culture, norms and traditions, the consequences are far-reaching with detrimental and negative consequences on the personal, economic and future well-being of women and girls, their families and the community at large.
Building a sustainable future for all, means leaving no one behind. Women and girls are critical to finding solutions to the biggest challenges we face today and must be heard, valued and celebrated throughout society to reflect their perspectives and choices for their future and that of their families and society at large.
How many more generations are needed for women and girls to realise their rights? Women must begin to demand equal rights and opportunities for all folks.
Politically, women’s representation globally has doubled in the last 25 years. But, this only amounts to around one in four parliamentary seats held by women today.
Women continue to be significantly under-represented in the highest political positions. In October 2019, there were only 10 women Heads of State and 13 women Heads of Government across 22 countries, compared with four Heads of State and eight Prime Ministers across 12 countries in 1995.
At workplace, about two years ago, out of the 500 chief executives leading the highest-grossing firms, just under 7 per cent are women. Thank goodness, our own Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the current Director-General of the World Trade Organisation {WTO).
When looking at the workforce as a whole, the gender gap in labour force participation among prime working age adults (25 to 54) has stagnated over the past 20 years. Improved education among women has done little to shift deeply entrenched occupational segregation in developed and developing countries. Women continue to carry out a disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work. Women and girls are responsible in 80 per cent of households that do not have access to gender-sensitivity. Women and girls have little time for rest and sleep. If you allow them, they will work for 24 hours non-stop.
Annually, recognition of intellectual achievements and academic, cultural and scientific advances, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to more than 900 individuals in the course of its history from 1901 to 2019. Only 53 of the winners have been women, 19 in the categories of Physics, Chemistry, and Physiology or Medicine. Marie Curie became the first female laureate in 1903, when she and her husband won a joint Prize for Physics. Eight years later, she was solely awarded the Chemistry Prize, making her the only woman in history to win the Nobel Prize twice. Although women have been behind a number of scientific discoveries throughout history, just 30 per cent of researchers worldwide and 35 per cent of all students enrolled in STEM-related fields of study are women.
When it comes to equality of men and women in news media, progress has not been encouraging. According to reports,  participation and representation of women in the news media for about two decades in many countries, only 24 per cent of the persons heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news are women. A lot of improvement has been recorded for women news reporters in newspaper bylines and newscast reports, with 37 per cent of stories reported by women as of 2015, showing little difference over a decade. Despite the democratising promise of digital media, women’s poor representation in traditional news media is also reflected in digital news, with women making up only 26 per cent of the people in Internet news stories and media news tweets. Only 4 per cent of traditional news and digital news stories clearly challenge gender stereotypes. Among other factors, stereotypes and the significant under-representation of women in the media play a significant role in shaping harmful attitudes of disrespect and violence towards women.
If you talk about entertainment industry, like other forms of media, film and television have a powerful influence in shaping cultural perceptions and attitudes towards gender and are key to shifting the narrative for the gender equality agenda. Yet, an analysis of popular films across 11 countries found, for example, that 31 per cent of all speaking characters were women and that only 23 per cent featured a female protagonist, a number that closely mirrored the percentage of women filmmakers.
The gross under-representation of women in the film industry is also glaringly evident in critically acclaimed film awards: In the 92-year history of the Oscars, only five women have ever been nominated for the Best Director Award category; and one woman, Kathryn Bigelow has ever won.
A lot of women in Nigeria, like Liz Benson, Eucharia Anunobi, Patience Ozokwo, Joke Silva, Monalisa Chinda, to mention but a few, have done well in the entertainment industry. But we need more women in film, on-screen and off-screen.
In sports, the power to inspire change and break gender stereotypes is possible and women have been doing just that decade after decade, showing that they are just as capable, resilient and strong as men physically.
Today, women are far more visible in sports than ever before: The Tokyo 2020 Olympics is projected to have close to equal representation of women and men competing for the first time in its history. For comparison, only 22 women (2.2 per cent) out of a total of 997 athletes competed in the modern Olympics for the first time in 1900. Women and men will compete in almost all sports categories.
Chioma Ajunwo and Mary Onyeali are some of the sportswomen in Nigeria we can talk about when it comes to excellence.
Despite progress, women still continue to be excluded in certain sports in parts of the world and are paid far less than men in wages and prize money globally. Women need to be encouraged more in sports like the men.
Despite women being prescribed stereotypical roles in the kitchen at home, the upper echelons of the restaurant industry have remained relatively closed to female chefs Women must often overcome active discrimination and move away from a culture that both glorifies masculinity and tacitly condones harassment. Paired with long, unpredictable and inflexible working hours, unfriendly family and childcare policies and lower salaries, women face enormous challenges when entering the restaurant business. Women need to be in control of hospitality business as chefs..

By: Eunice Choko-Kayode

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Women

Ondo Women Protest Half-Naked Over Insecurity

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Hundreds of women across four local government areas in Ondo State on Saturday protested against worsening security challenges in the area.
The women, who took to the streets of Oka Akoko, Akungba Akoko and some other Akoko towns, demanded improved security from the state and federal government.
Recent spate of insecurity in the area include abduction of teachers by gunmen in Auga Akoko, the killing of a police officer at Oka Akoko last week, and the attack on 17 travellers on Ifira Akoko-Isua Akoko road by armed robbers among others.
Some of the protesters, who held brooms, were half-naked and chanting various solidarity songs along the streets.
Recall that Amotekun Corps also arrested no fewer than 17 suspected bandits from the North-West of Nigeria when they stormed Okitipupa area of the state.
The suspected criminals were found with dogs, cutlasses and charms as they wandered in the area without purpose.
It was the distress call by residents of the community to Amotekun operatives that led to their arrest.

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