In Nigeria today, women don’t have equal rights as men do. This is because they are seen as the weaker sex and therefore considered not important. Rather, men are seen as ones who would help the society more. Following this position, women are often denied the rights to participate in some activities in our traditional societies. They have been relegated to the position of mere home keepers and bearers of children.
The way women are treated in our society has caused some parents to send only their male children to school. They are doing this because they think it is a huge waste to send a girl or a woman to school. Some of our parents believe that women would always get married and move away from their parents, and therefore don’t deserve to be educated.
Unfortunately, what many parents have failed to realize is the fact that when a woman is educated, it’s as good as educating the entire nation. Now if this is correct, how can anyone regard the education of an entire nation to be a waste?
This primitive thinking about girls often makes some parents to give out their daughters (sometimes underage) in marriage to men who are old enough to be their fathers. I don’t understand how this kind of scenario will make a father or mother happy.
Given the wide gap in age between the girls and their husbands, they are often molested by the aged husbands. Some of the women are maltreated by being raped or beaten while others receive all forms of tortures. In the process some of the women are deformed or even die outrightly.
The pitiable aspect of it all is that some of the girls are so young and immature that they are ill prepared for child births or pregnancy. Because of this, they develop complications in the process, of child birth. I am not even concerned yet with the diseases some of them contract from their so-called husbands.
The discrimination against women in Nigeria has become so much that it deserves the attention of everyone including the government and our institutions. Take, for instance, the way appointments are made in this country; everyone knows it doesn’t favor women.
Women are not given key positions to handle. Why is it so? I think the authorities believe firmly that they are unable to perform well when given such positions. This view is erroneous and deserves to be jettisoned. It is retrogressive and anti-development.
It’s indeed sad that this thinking has permeated various careers where women compete favorably with their male counterparts. I have heard about situations where men are preferred to women particularly in professions like law or medicine. This also determines the patronage each of them enjoys.
The reason for this so is because society has condemned the woman to mediocrity. The average Nigerian has been made to see women to symbolize incompetence. Every female child is regarded as potentially incompetent person.
The same thing is seen in the church. Women are discriminated against in all ways. Some churches even go as far as denying women the right to preach or even hold important positions in the church, citing all manner of Scriptures.
Who says that women are unqualified to be pastors or hold positions in the church? Isn’t it found in the Bible where Jesus Christ himself talked more with women than their male counterparts? When Jesus resurrected, the first person to see him was a woman, not a man.
Also, there were many women in Jesus’ ministry on earth. The only person who anointed Jesus and wiped him with her hair was a woman. She was commended and mentioned everywhere by the Lord himself. Why wasn’t it a man that got that commendation?
Back to our own society here in Nigeria; a woman, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, headed both the Federal Finance Ministry and the economic team and succeeded. Where were the men when she was picked and performed the feat?
Women have achieved so much in Nigeria and globally. Most industries and houses we see today were built by them. Women are found in every profession and have been proved to be doing well tremendously. They are in the construction industry, legal and medical professions, the military and several others. No one can stem their progress.
Therefore, women should be given their proper place in society. There are countries today that have more women in their productive sector than men. That is because they recognize their importance and invest in them. Take Russia, for instance; there are more women in the medical profession than their male counterpart.
It has been proved that women are better and more trustworthy when it has to do with managing resources. They are less corrupt and more dependable than men. That is why there is progress at wherever women manage. This holds true even in countries where women are elected president. Give a position to a woman and she wouldn’t fail.
It is, therefore, the responsibility of government, NGOs, faith-based organizations etc to rise to the challenge of giving women equal opportunities with men. They have to be given good education to enable them contribute effectively to society. It is in our own interest and benefit to see women actualize their highest potential. This will facilitate development in our country.
Ogubuike is a student of Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Port Harcourt.