There was this saying some time ago, from a dishonourable man, telling the world that women, belong to the other room.
I can’t say how much we enjoyed that. But I know for sure that it was a slap.
Not only was the statement putting women in a corner, it was a mild declaration that women should always be lesser than the man.
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday in Ibadan charged Nigerian women to fight for their political and economic relevance instead of accepting to be confined to the other room.
Obasanjo spoke on the topic, ‘My understanding of women aspiration in business and politics’ at an event organised by Initiative for Information, Arts and Culture Development in Nigeria and The American Corner, Ibadan.
At the programme, which was held in support of women’s participation in government, political processes and the workplace, Obasanjo said it was a huge shame that no woman was among the 50 people that drew the Nigerian constitution. He said he encouraged women to join politics by ensuring that nine women were chosen to serve in his cabinet when he was the president.
He pointed out that Nigeria was ranked far below South Africa, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Mauritania among countries that encouraged women in politics.
He said, “No longer should our women allow themselves to be consigned only to the ‘other room’ and the kitchen. In 2017, according to the United Nations, gender inequality cost Africa $95bn. That is tremendous waste. We cannot continue heaping up waste and expect that we will not maintain our poor record of being the world’s poverty headquarters. The starting point is girl child education. Child marriage must be made unlawful.”
He said women should make definite efforts to fight for their place in politics and economy, as women and children are usually the direct and indirect victims of poor leadership. He said men would not relinquish their position willingly.
The Public Affairs Officer at the United States Consulate, Lagos, Ms. Darcy Zotter, had earlier called on Nigerian women to trigger the agent of 21st century positive change in them by increasing their political awareness and challenging men for political space.
“You don’t have to be a superwoman, you have a vote and you can be the 21st century change maker,” she added.
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