On feminism and equality: a debate

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In a series of questions on feminism and equality by Timothy Nubunga Galumje, I give my personal opinions from the limited understanding I have on feminism as an instrument for correcting the wrongs done to the Nigerian girl child.

First of all, we start with definitions: what feminism is; what it’s not.

Feminism is a movement, ideology, system, or culture dedicated to the betterment of the female condition.

I am not going to give you a text book and well referenced lecture but my sincere simple opinion which might not agree with the norm.

First of all by the definition, feminism is at once at conflict with itself because what we have here in Europe is different from what we have in Africa. I will therefore immediately insert the dichotomy by calling one feminism and the other “African feminism”.

Western vs African Feminism

One is represented often represented by bare chested, bra-less feminazis (Western), while the other just wants children to go school irrespective of gender.

One has women struggling for equal pay and more time for maternity leave (Western), while the other just wants an opportunity to work.

One is entertained with the bright and beautiful colours of LGBT and equal marriage rights while the other just wants the girl to take off monochromatic burqa and have future instead of being a fourth child bride.

Feminism however shares more in common than differences. The main common factor is that in most human settlements, there’s been a prejudice against females and as we move into the 21st century; the future holds promise, equality, and dignity for women. This, and nothing else, is what the movement of feminism is about.

Question One:

Timothy Galumje asks:

Does the feminist movement support women to use contraceptive pills at will, and decide all matters of fertility even as married couples (for married ones) who are supposed to make decisions as one, and the opposite for singles guys who desire to father a child outta wedlock?

Poverty is something that is unfortunately tied to women’s right to control their reproductive lives. Feminism fights for women to be able to decide when to have and how to have children because it’s their body.  As productivity is also affected by this act, the right to bear children is therefore the responsibility of the woman to decide without coercion or fear.

History has shown that in societies where women can’t control their reproductive lives, there is always overpopulation – a contributor to crimes and a burden on social amenities even in developed nations with overstretched welfare systems. So feminism is at once a positive tool for economic and social betterment in society.

Another sad case which is highlighted by African feminism is the inability of minors to control their reproductive rights in an informal investigative study at a PHC in northern Nigeria.

I found from 3 girls I interviewed that they would have preferred not being pregnant. Two out-rightly rejected abortions but on better explanation on the consequences of a termination, they all agreed to them.

The wrong notion that abortion is always the chopping up of fully formed babies must be dispelled and sex education should be a right and safe abortions and avenues of procurement ought to be taught in this studies for teenage girls.

Question Two:

Timothy Galumje asks:

Does the movement also encourage and support single ladies to pay their male counterparts for sex? After all sexual urge is natural and a legitimate feeling, and a lady can ask me for it, should I also demand for money before servicing her?

This question has nothing to do with feminism. How and with whom you have sex is your private affair. Feminism only comes in when the rights of women are trampled on. Female rape is a social issue or epidemic that feminism tackles because women are victims of sexual violence at a significantly higher rate than men.

Question Three:

Timothy Galumje asks:

Does the movement equally support parity in income and wages, for family upkeep and maintenance among married couples?

Yes, every adult in a union should contribute equitably to the maintenance of such union. Equitable contributions is commensurate with the income of each member and at once dispels the idea that only men should provide for the family. Is the woman a child??

Question Four:

Timothy Galumje asks:

Does the movement support women to equally undertake duties hitherto reserved for men in security outfits and units globally? E.g woman police (married or not) guarding the house of her superior officer at night?

Women are already serving in the police force and Nigerian army undergoing the strenuous training like men without favour. Gender discrimination comes in when women are marginalised in such employments. They are not promoted equitably and men cheat them out of leadership roles despite their sacrifices. Or she may be expected to exchange sexual favours for a promotion she has already earned through hard work. A woman is not a woman; she is first of all a police officer and it’s her duty to do without being molested.

Question Five:

Timothy Galumje asks:

Does the feminism movement abhors or support the abolition of dowry payment and all its traditional and legal implications?

I wouldn’t use dowry as it isn’t appropriate. Bride price is the very insulting notion that a historical and very literal sale of a human being is perpetuated into modernity in the guise of culture.

No woman should be sold to a man in the 21st century. The culture of the bride price reinforces the notion that women are beneath men. In Nigeria, bride price payments encourage male chauvinism and abuse of women in their marital homes and therefore is a shameful practice against women.

Question Six:

Timothy Galumje asks:

Would the movement allow for a transgender act in marriage in other to help alleviate the suffering of the other partner by trying to be equal?

Transgenderism or LGBT is often in cohorts with feminism because both movements suffer discrimination and marginalisation. African feminism, however, has absolutely nothing to do with affluent issues such as transgenderism which can cost millions of naira in surgery and/or hormone therapy.

African Feminism

African feminism only wants our society to stop the use of $1 rusty blades in Female Genital Mutilation. African feminism only wants the girl child to not be the default sacrificial lamb when it comes to education in a household. African feminism only strives for salty soup or burnt rice to not be a sufficient for domestic violence. African feminism only concerns itself with the girl child not being married off as chattel, financial gain or debt settlement. African feminism is concerned with a twelve year old not having to worry about being fully dilated in order to give birth.

As you can see, African feminism has a totally different concern in this aspect from feminism in developed nations. African feminism has nothing to do with transgender battles – no matter how lovable and brave they are to accepting an expensive sex change.

African feminism can be something as simple as agitating for sanitary pads for girls! Now how do you explain that to an European feminist?

How?

Please remember that these are my opinions and I wouldn’t air some of them in a PowerPoint if I was talking about feminism in a formal situation.

Never forget that by defining African feminism by European standards, one is at once blinded to the urgency required in the African movement for women’s rights and equality.

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4 COMMENTS

    • thank you my brother, ori yin pe daada bi alojo Shomolu, hope you understand sha, anyways it means your head too correct like shomolu thrift collector
      and some shallow minded folks are misunderstanding the ideology, but they forgot that God created us equally

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