As women bare their fangs…

Blueprint Whatsapp

Women in Nigeria generally are furious at this time. They are angry that Nigeria’s law making body, the National Assembly, turned down all women-related march, at a time when the world is celebrating women and their achievements via the International Women’s Day that is marked on March 8, every year.

The International Women’s Day, celebrated last week, is aimed at ending gender bias, discrimination against women, giving them equal opportunities in all spheres of human endeavour.

However, the concept of equality has been taken to ridiculous lengths by some feminists who seek to cross all natural barriers between both sexes in terms of roles/activities assigned/ordained to each gender by nature. Some are even pushing for use of a neutral term for objects/things that are exclusively addressed as ‘he’…

The ‘equality’ lies in the fact that each gender complements the other. Both feminine and masculine genders are split specie with each part specialising in its ordained/natural activity (positive activities for the male and negative activies for the female); and it is only in their joint working (positive and negative) are they able to form a whole that can then be said to be perfect. In other words, the strength of the female, negative kinds of activities should be equal to those of the male (positive kinds), otherwise disharmony shall ensue. Both activities are equally important and no gender should consider his/her kind of activitiy as being more important.

Of all the rejected women related bills, the one that appears to have irked my fellow womenfolk the most is affirmative action as adopted in the United Nations Beijing (China) conference on women decades ago which affirmed that one third (33 per cent) of available places in all political fields be reserved for women – in parliaments, cabinets, political parties, etc.

Men that object to this say that the percentage is rather high, they suggest a much reduced number.The counter argument is that Rwanda and South Africa already have equal numbers of men and women in their parliaments. That is two out of 50 countries in Africa. Bishop Mattew Hassan Kukah of the Sokoto Catholic Diocese reportedly avers that reserving such proportion of seats in parliament for women may be abused by politicians who would fill them with their spouses, mistresses and relations. Still, proponents of affirmative action argue that as the ‘giant’ of Africa, Nigeria should be seen to be setting the pace.

Nonetheless, there are Nigerian women holding high profile international posts than many other African countries. Among them, Amina Mohammed, the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, boss of the World Trade Organisation, WTO, Aruma Otey. Many others are working in middle level cadre of international agencies. In all of these the women have to do their jobs the feminine way, with a ‘soft’ touch. Indeed, wherever we women find ourselves with an assignment, whether in the public or private space, we have to undertake that task in a womanly way rather than imitating men on the job.

Nevertheless, in a parliament as in all democratic gatherings it is important that all shades of opinion be represented, not least in a diverse country as ours and especially for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups/persons. Therefore, the 15 state houses of assembly, including Nasarawa state, that do not have a female lawmaker yet, have to find a way of accommodating them because Nigeria is running a representative government. But it has to be a gradual process with building blocks.

Many years ago, former First Lady, Maryam Babangida (now late) initiated and got her husband, then military president Ibrahim Babangida to mandate establishment of a Ministry of Women Affairs. It became the norm and the law to have ministry of women affairs in each state of the federation and at federal level. That set the stage for increased women awareness and participation in governance.

Apparently, she used her feminine charm to get her husband do what is right and good. All the male legislators that voted on that fateful day have wives, sisters, aunts,female cousins. How many of the aforementioned lobbied those national assembly members on the merits of those bills. If all the wives of the senators, honourable House members had lobbied their husbands the feminine way, in a low, charming voice, the outcome would have been different.

Now we are storming the National Assembly to protest the unfair treatment’to women when we did not all do our homework. We women should imbibe silent working which is our calling (including silent lobbying). We are not cut out for boisterous combativeness. The feminine, soft touch is the way to go.

Ikeano writes via [email protected], 08033077519

Related content you may like