Source: Naija gist.com
In the past, Women were considered the weakest. They were victims of pre-existing socio-cultural chauvinism and violence to the highest degree. The rights of women and girls were not protected by law or any formal institution. For instance, the freedom of expression. Women and girls could not express themselves on any issue. They were considered irrelevant to the society while all nobilities were directed to the masculine gender. The freedom of association of women was also denied. They could not relate to anyone other than their husbands and children. In addition, female illiteracy rate was rampant—more than 90 percent Nigerian women were illiterate.
But now, reverse is the case: Women have gracefully unveiled the vile of demeaning cultures and punitive traditions of the society. Women now assume reputable roles in various economic sector—medical, educational, financial, oil and gas, entrepreneurship, et.al. At least five banks in Nigeria are headed by women. Example: Mrs. Sola David-Borha—CEO of Stanbic IBTC; Mrs. Bola Adesola, MD/CEO of Standard Chattered; Mrs. Ibukun Awosika—Chairman of First Bank Plc; Mrs. Osareti Afusat Demure—Chairman of Guarantee Trust Bank. Even the country’s finance minister is a woman—Kemi Adeosun.
Likewise in every sector of the Nigerian economy, women are ruling, they are beginning to dominate in a planet once considered as “the men’s world.” Based on this, one would be prompted to ask: why the sudden change?
Well, in Michelle Obama’s words—America’s incumbent first lady—“As women, we must stand up for ourselves. As women, we must stand up for each other. As women, we must stand up for justice for all.” That is what the 21st Century women held on to. They stood up for their own right—the rights to education, expression, and association. Above all, Women fought their way out of the living room into the board room. They said “no” to isolation, no to discrimination and no to violence against womanhood.
The immeasurable power in women drives them to challenge the status quo. During the colonial rule, the rights of the people were generally oppressed by warrant chiefs—local tax collectors assigned by the government of Lord Lugard, Nigeria’s first colonial president. When they could not stomach it anymore, the women took to the street, challenged the colonial masters. Eventually, they won! Can a weak breed dare to take such risk?
Likewise since the 1929 revolt, through the era of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Margaret Ekpo, Grace Soyinka, Florence Nwapa, to the present women’s power has remained undaunted, indomitable and insurmountable. These women fought their way through the biased society; they pulled the bull by its horn to take the right accrued to them, and then, fought endlessly to empower and inspire others. With all these, shall we still call women the weak breeds?
Not anymore! Women are powerfully equipped and potentially enriched; they are not weak. Thus, when they raise their voices against any unfavorable circumstance, it will definitely normalize and consequently beget change. So, treat them like the precious gold they are.
BY Beatrice Faith-Mokwunye