Shirley Chisholm, the
first African-American congresswoman in the United States has been a passionate campaigner against gender inequality.
She once said that: “the emotional, sexual and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says it is a girl.’’
Sociologists, therefore, note that Chisholm view point is a reflection of the current society that is characterised by historic unequal power relations between women and men.
They observe that with unequal power relations between women and men, otherwise known as patriarchy, women are systematically disadvantaged and oppressed.
They opine that it has become a common knowledge that certain domestic chores, particularly in Africa, are perceived to be the exclusive duties of the female folk.
According to a social critic, Godiya Makama, womanhood is reduced to a mere second-class position with the general belief that the best place for women is in the kitchen.
He opined that this had brought about tremendous misrepresentation of women right from the level of the family to the entire society.
“The Nigerian society is patriarchal in nature which is a major feature of a traditional society; it is a structure of a set of social relations with material base which enables men to dominate women.
“Women are therefore, discriminated upon, mistreated and perpetually kept as house-help. The average Nigerian woman is seen as an available object for forced marriage, street hawking, instrument of wide-range trafficking and a misfit in the society.
“Thus, the purported irrelevance associated with the status of women in society has merely reduced an average woman to an inferior commodity,’’ he observed.
Alluding to this sentiment, Mrs Olasunbo Odebode, a gender and development specialist in the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said that women were the victims of social structures.
She, nonetheless, observed that with sensitisation and proper parenting, the stereotyped idea of giving more attention to male children was becoming unpopular.
Odebode said that parents should train their male children in handling domestic chores the same way the females would do.
She insisted that no law conferred an advantage on the male children over females in handling domestic chores and other roles in society erroneously believed to be exclusive to females.
Sharing similar sentiments, Ms Onyeka Onwenu, the Director General of the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), called on parents to emphasise the need for gender equality in parenting.
She said that although women were naturally caretakers, they should be conscious of their rights and work hard against those barriers that limit them.
In her opinion, Mrs Jummai Idonije, the Director, Training and Development, NCWD, insisted that gender inequality began from childhood, reinforced by parents, peers, teachers, the media and the society.
“In the family, men assume or are assumed to be the primary bread winners with women’s income being seen as supplementary to that of men,’’ she said.
She said that although UN Charter in 1945 and its declaration of Human rights in 1948 recognised the principle of equality of men and women, women’s positions and concerns in the development process had not been fully addressed.
Corroborating this view point, Mrs Ngozi Okorie, an official of NCWD, said that gender equality under the law should mean equality of opportunity.
According to her, gender equality includes equal rewards for work and equality in access to human capital and other productive resources.
Okorie insisted that a repetitive use of gender stereotypes such as showing women only as careers of the family or as sexual objects should be stopped.
For total eradication of gender inequality, sociologists opine that it is important for gender education to begin in the family unit, schools and the wider community.
They insist that this will create awareness in the grassroots before moving the advocacy to national level for a better understanding of gender issues and gender equality.
They also note that if communities erase cultural superstitions, they will be able to see reasons why both sexes need to have access to quality education.
In their opinions, teaching about gender inequality should not be only in the schools in urban cities but also in the villages.
“Educating a female is like educating a family and the whole society, greater literacy rate among women would definitely boost the progress of any country.
“Providing moral education and protection against sex abuse will help to reduce gender inequalities in education sector,’’ they observed.
In all, observers believe that apart from tackling issues on gender inequality from parenting, governments at all levels should take appropriate measures to raise public awareness to discourage it.
Ogunshola is of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
Woman Sells Two Daughters For N300,000 In Ogun
A 35-year-old housewife, Blessing Agoro, has been arrested by men of Ogun State Police Command for allegedly selling her two daughters, Semilore Agoro (four), and Deborah Agoro (two).
The suspect was arrested, following a report lodged at Redeemed Camp Divisional Police Headquarters by her husband, Oluwaseyi Agoro.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi disclosed this in a statement, yesterday.
Oyeyemi said the husband reported that when he returned from travelling last Tuesday he couldn’t find his two daughters.
The PPRO said, “The man stated further that all efforts to make his wife tell him the whereabouts of the children proved abortive, hence his report.
“Upon the report, the DPO Redeemed Camp division, CSP Alabi Akinjide, detailed his detectives to apprehend the suspect, who had already been with the camp’s code of conduct department.
“On interrogation, the suspect explained to the police that her husband left home for the past two years, and while he was away, she found it difficult to cater for the two children with her other two children she had for another man.
“She stated further that while she was contemplating on what to do, one Kolawole Imoleayo introduced her to a couple in Port Harcourt who was in need of children. She sold the two daughters to the couple at the rate of N300,000.
“Her confession led to the arrest of the said intermediary, Kolawole Imoleayo. They are both assisting the police in their investigation.”
The Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, has ordered the transfer of the suspects to the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCID) for discreet investigation.
Oyeyemi added that Ajogun directed that the children must be rescued and brought back to their parents as soon as possible.
World Bank Trains 54,000 Women, Youths On Economy
The Kebbi State Government has disclosed that over 54,000 women and youths have been trained by the World Bank to be economically active.
The government also revealed its readiness to reciprocate its achievement recorded in rice production in other products such as onions, sheer-butter and soya beans for exportation purposes.
The Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who stated this while launching women and youth export development facility, in partnership with Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), said, the state has comparative advantage in agriculture over other states.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Umar Babale Yauri, Bagudu said, “As you know, Kebbi State is blessed with a population of women who are engaging in rice production and it is now a top talk across the nation due to efforts and support of state governor.
“The state government is trying to reciprocate the achievement recorded in the rice production into sheer butter, onions and soya beans.”
He added that with the partnership with NEXIM, Kebbi State would start the export of soya beans, shea butter and onions.
The Special Adviser to State Governor on Women Development, Hajia Zarau Wali, disclosed that through partnership with the World Bank, over 54,000 women have been trained to be economically active.
According to her, “It is also worthy of note, that the state government in partnership with the World Bank empowered 54,000 women to be economically active through the formation of Women Initiative Group in Maiyama, Ngaski and Argungu local government areas.”
She explained that more women and youths, especially in the rural areas, are actively involved in the production of rice, sheer butter, onions and water melon stressed that they are capable of feeding the nation and exporting the products if they were properly guided.
Wali urged NEXIM to include in their programmes mode of processing and packages of perishable products during their training session for women and youths.
Earlier, the Managing Director and Chief Executive, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr Abba Bello, had commended the state government over it investment on rice production in the state which has increased the IGR of the state.
“Let me commend the investment drive in the state by your administration, particularly the Rice Revolution, which recently led to the unveiling of the rice pyramid as well as the cassava-based ethanol project with huge prospects for production of biofuel and renewable energy.
“Your efforts in this direction have not only contributed to the significant increase in the Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) but have also positively impacted the socio-economic indices particularly in the areas of jobs creation and sustainable development”.
Eve Afrique Red Ball Takes Centre Stage In PH, Sunday
This year’s Eve Afrique Red Ball event with theme: “Together, Ensuring Peace and Development Across the Niger Delta”, is set to take place on Sunday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
In an interview, the Editor in Chief of Eve Afrique Magazine, Mrs Ivy Davis Etokakpan, said, this year’s Red Ball event is the 10th and will focus on the socio-economic wealth of the Niger Delta region.
She stated that, over the years, Eve Afrique had worked on eight health related issues, but this time, because of times and seasons, “we are focusing on peace and development across the Niger Delta.
According to her, “we hope to achieve this with the cooperation of leaders of corporate organisations in the Niger Delta. We believe that with the cause action on the Red Ball, we hope to do that with our Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Eve Afrique Empowerment Initiative”.
Etokakpan added that this year will focus basically on internship programme for young people by asking partners of the NGO to accept and train secondary school students during holidays in their companies.
She said, “in the past, we used to do vacation jobs in the oil companies, even in our parents’ companies. We hope that our partners would teach our children workable skills. If this is done, the Niger Delta child would know his or her skill and work on it.
“We want these young ones to learn management and accountancy skills through these internship programmes. Our dream is that, in five years’ time, we would have raised a group of’ equipped and empowered Niger Delta youths who in turn will mentor those coming after them. We need to prepare these ones for the future.
At the Red Ball event this weekend, we expect Elsphon Nigeria Alabo (Dr) Emi Membrane-Otaji, Managing Director, to present a keynote address on “Economic Development across the Niger Delta. Also, former MD of NDDC, Mr Timi Alaibe will present a paper on Peace Across the Niger Delta at the event”, she said.
It would be recalled that over the years, Eve Afrique Red Ball has achieved levels of successes over the previous Red Ball events in raising awareness on general health matters, empowerment programmes as a way of giving back to the state and society at large.
Eve Afrique had hosted programmes which include the sickle cell awareness programme, cervical cancer awareness and prevention programme, diabetic management awareness and prevention programme, prostate cancer awareness programme and colon cancer awareness programmes.
Eve Afrique had the mandate of changing the narrative concerning the Niger Delta.
They are on a mission to highlight and showcase the beauty of the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole, she added.
By: Ibinabo Ogolo
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