Posts Tagged ‘Women’

Opinion ED: Does The Nigeria Society Hate Women?

Posted on: June 20th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

This article was written BY WILFRED OKICHE 

Misogyny unlimited…

When president Muhammadu Buhari’s visited Germany in October 2016, like many Nigerians who voted for Buhari in 2015, wife of the President, Aisha Buhari about a year into his presidency, found herself unimpressed. The Buhari presidency had admittedly arrived with lofty expectations but the man at the centre made it his business to dash every single one of them. Unlike most Nigerians, Aisha Buhari was in a position to speak out and when she did, she was unsparing.

The presidency must have been embarrassed by Aisha Buhari’s public approach to criticism and Buhari chose a moment when he was on the world stage to put his wife in her place. Responding to a query by a foreign journalist, Buhari offered a thorough dismissal of his wife, who was constantly at his side while he was on the campaign trail.

According to President Buhari, the first lady isn’t a card-carrying member of the political party, and thus had no reason to meddle in the very masculine world of hardcore politics. He then went on to utter the ugly words that would forever define him in terms of gender relations. “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room,” Buhari threw up while sitting next to the all-powerful and very female German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

There are many Nigerians who were embarrassed by Buhari’s outburst, and they should be. Not simply because it happened on foreign soil. Even though that was bad enough, it should worry Nigerians more that instead of choosing to engage with his life partner mentally and politically as an equal, instead of granting her the respect she deserves by virtue of her being a human person, the President chose to sink into the sewer of assuming that on account of her gender, Aisha has no right to weigh in such manly matters as politics.

In Buhari’s world, Aisha is merely a nuisance to be tolerated during election period as she smiles for the cameras and poses merrily with Akara sellers. Having an opinion of her own, let alone one contrary to the party line, decided upon by a roomful of men must be considered radical and retribution handed swiftly. In simple terms, women must never be encouraged to speak out of turn.

In March 2017, Nollywood actress and producer, Rita Dominic, a veteran of over fifteen years, a majority of them spent as a top-flight movie star, took the occasion of the release of her latest film, Bound, to advice that not all films should be screened in cinemas. The statement, put out via an innocuous enough Instagram post, was at once, rebuke and indictment. Her comments didn’t go down well, especially among those who considered themselves ‘’movers and shakers’’ of the industry.

The reactions to Ms Dominic’s post were not surprising. Nollywood, after all, is an industry not known to take well to criticism. But the response of film producer, Don Pedro Obaseki who made Igodo back in 1999 and hasn’t mattered in a long, long, time took the misogyny to another level. Brandishing his PhD, Obaseki thought it fitting to put Dominic in a place he considered hers. Obaseki reminded Dominic of her days as a struggling artiste ‘’roaming from one set to the other’’ and advised her to take a lesson in humility.

The irony was stark and reflective of a larger problem that even successful women are forced to contend with. That a filmmaker who hasn’t scored a hit in years considers himself superior to an in-demand actress just because they crossed paths at the early stages of her career. It didn’t matter that the actress has since gone on to co-star and produce her own film, the critically acclaimed The Meeting in the years since both last made contact.

It also didn’t occur to Obaseki in his rush to shame, and with his intent to punish, that Dominic like most contributors to a functional society, could actually take pride in her humble beginnings. A woman could be beautiful, wealthy, successful, and the average man still considers himself superior just because he is a man.

God help us all. Clearly, a lot needs to be done to redress all the assault that constantly targets women in Nigeria, what are the actionable steps we think can be done?

Do you agree with Wilfred’s points? Do you agree that the Nigeria society hates women?

Kindly share your opinions in the comments.

The Gender Equality Question

Posted on: August 1st, 2016 by The Moderator 3 Comments

Welcome to The Octagon

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation

The Octagon: Let’s begin with introductions. Please let us know who you are and what you do. After that we will go into the conversation.

Wakeji: My name is Wakeji, officially known as Mary W. Gani. I’m a lawyer/academic/creative writer who is currently on a foray into communications. I manage the communications desk for an international charity.

Titilope: My name is Titilope Sonuga. I’m a performance poet, writer & actor. I’m Intel’s She Will Connect ambassador for Nigeria.

Jibril: Hello all my name is Jibril a civil servant and academic.

Ihotu: I’m Ihotu Amuta, I am an idea strategist and enterprise educator. I run a company called The Scratch Board focused on business strategy, startup incubation and organisational design. I also run Jewels Network aimed at women’s enhancement. I write, I speak and I mentor kids in Secondary school

Nimah: Hiya, I’m Nimah Arigbabu currently Studying politics and security. I worked as a project manager with an NGO prior to my current study.

Venya: Hey everyone, Im Ven Lannap, a passionate individual that hates any form of injustice. Lead at Bo SITA MADE, a youth developmental ngo that is active in the fight against sex trafficking and the Director of Before and After School Academy, Jos

Jake: Jake Okechukwu Effoduh, I Have Been A Human Rights Lawyer For 6 Years And A National Radio Presenter For A Decade Now.

Blessing: My name is Blessing Oyeleye. I am a Chemical Engineer and Global Energy Consultant. I am a working mother and try to find balance at home and at work.

The Octagon: The lines between what is feminine and what is masculine are drawn from birth. Little girls are wrapped in pink blankets and little boys in blue. Treating men and women as different is so intrinsic to Global Culture that most of us think nothing of it. While in developed countries it often takes the form of unequal pay, glass ceilings and lack of childcare provisions, in developing countries it’s evident in the tradition of child marriage, female infanticide, female genital mutilation and barriers to education for girls.

The Ooni of Ife’s wife recently said “The modern pattern of feminism has succeeded in limiting women of the heights they could reach; gender equality is unrealistic. We can never be equal with men, we are here for a great purpose, we have our roles to play we are powerful and we are a force of nature. Relationships are suffering today, because women want to be men”

To what extent do you think that the educational system tries to push (or unconsciously pushes) people into traditionally “female” and “male” roles?  Do you think women really get the ‘short end of the stick’ in Society, or is this a Myth ? Finally, Is Gender Equality Possible ?

Jake: Gender equality is feasible. It has happened; is happening; and will happen if we make it happen. Women will soon stop demanding quotas and will dictate what they want. They will not matter if they are 10% or 40% but will ensure that whoever is representing them In every level is mindful of their interest 100%. The Ooni’s wife spoke for herself. She can’t speak for women. So I need not reply her, or comment on her statement.

Ihotu: I think the concept of gender equality has been misrepresented in societal discuss. I do not completely agree with the Ooni’s wife but I understand her perspective. Women can do what men can but should they? Every society will evolve into gender equity or equality at different times based on its exposure.

Titilope: I don’t think it’s so simple. If it were happening we wouldn’t still be having this conversation. Being a feminist or demanding gender equality does not equate a woman wanting to be a man. The comment from the Ooni’s wife (who we should actually be calling by her own name) illustrates that people don’t actually understand the importance of gender equality and do not see the subtle ways we consistently relegate women in our society.

Wakeji: I’ve heard it said that equity and equality are different concepts. This may be just semantics, but the different words may be useful for the purpose of context. The comments by the Ooni’s wife may have been made on the basis of her concern for certain societal norms that she considers to have been eroded. The question, in my mind, is whether some of those norms are incompatible with gender equality. Some of these norms may be childcare and home making. The way I see it, gender equality, and these norms that people feel are being eroded are certainly not incompatible.

Venya: Hmm…interesting, each of the gender has a unique role to play, respecting that is what would give balance to the society. God created man and woman to give that balance undertaking that is what ‘equality’ in gender should be. And, most people’s opinions are mostly contextual, so I can understand with Ooni’s wife.

Nimah: You see the problem with people like ooni’s wife is they are too ignorant to pick up a book. A lot of us have forgotten what roles feminism has played in our lives and how it has shaped our society. I don’t think she knows people like Efunsetan, Moremi, Oya, F. Ransom Kuti etc. Without these women we won’t be able to do the things other women see as ” basic things” if she wants to see what gender inequality is I suggest she sees what happens with the women in Saudi.

Ihotu: Even today I go for some management level meetings and there are less women in the room than men and some of the men try to shut you down or are condescending. Is that society’s fault or should every man take responsibility for his actions? Or are there women refusing to go past a level in their careers because of the assumed “gender” issues posed by society

The Octagon: For clarification purposes. Gender inequality swings both ways – affects men and women . So, for the men in the group – Society tells you that you can’t be “too emotional”, you need to achieve status by earning lots of money, resolve conflict with violence, choose mechanical and analytical jobs, etc. When a man decides he wants to be a Make up artist, he’s often viewed as Effeminate. This being said, the focus when Gender equality is being discussed is women (not so much men). Why do you think this is?


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