I got talking with a lady on my upcoming leadership and free skills acquisition program for young ladies, R.E.D. for Girls and she asked me a question, “Why don’t I use ladies as facilitators throughout the program?”
She mentioned that if we are dealing with empowering women, then everything needs to be about us as men have been in the position of power and influence for too long.
I smiled and this is what I told her:
My type of feminism has absolutely nothing to do with men. For me, men and women are 100% equal and the men are not our problem.
In fact, most of my projects are 90% financially sponsored by men who believe in what I’m doing. A friend gave me 100k last year for RED and another 150k for the Rape programs; they’re both men and all I gave them were proposals. In fact the doctor who handled our health session last year was a man and the ladies asked without shame or fear.
Also, most people who assisted us in planning the Rape Awareness Walk were men and they came out in their numbers to support the walk. Who are the greatest victims of rape? Isn’t it women? If men were our problem, they won’t support such initiatives I believe.
Also you cannot take away the fact that for every one lady who is qualified in an area, at least 10 men are also qualified. Do I chase after the needle in a haystack just to prove a point?
Let’s talk about finances, whether you like it or not, men are stronger financially in our society than women.
Some reasons why this is so remains:
1. Most organizations prefer to hire men than women, making more men income earners than their female counterparts.
2. Many organizations pay men higher than women even when they’re doing the same job. This also makes men earn higher.
3. In most sectors, most of the women rarely to managerial positions for a myriad of reasons including lack of ambition and domestic reasons.
3. A lot of Nigerian women don’t pursue a career path. School, marriage, children. And that’s it. Some work but there’s no trajectory, vison, drive in their pursuit.
4. Amongst very low income families, the girl child is still more likely to drop out of school than the boy child.
5. The psychological programing that makes women defer to the men in their lives has left many women stranded in life, financially included. I.e. He says you shouldn’t work, you don’t. He says resign, you do.
6. Sometimes, women are given less opportunities in business and as a result, are faced with smaller earning business like catering, shops, salons instead of manufacturing, drilling, politics, etc.
These are just a few reasons why women earn less than men. The truth is that until women bridge the gap financially, we may always be at the mercy of patriarchy.
Nevertheless, our problem is not with men; no liberation was handed over by those benefitting from it and none was gotten by sitting at home and watching Telemundo.
Given, the systems and oppressions are propagated and serviced by patriarchy, however it is left for those who are its victims to make a decision to change things.
We need to demand better laws that protect the rights of women, India and even Lagos State is a good example of the fact that this is possible.
We need to demand for gender equality in our organizations and their recruitment processes.
We need to teach our daughters that the term “behave like a lady” is just another way to socially condition them to be timid, docile and subservient. They should be themselves, that’s all they need to be!
We need to take responsibility for our liberation, no one will bring it on a platter for us.
Each woman needs to take a stand and decide what is and what is not acceptable as her standards. Society, religion or family ought not decide what is good enough for her, that’s her responsibility.
It may be for this reason Natalie is a little more single than the girl who agreed to keep flushing her boyfriend’s poo and has now gone to Instagram to complain about doing it as his wife.
It may be an uphill task setting your standards and boundaries as a woman in a Society that considers you inferior, but it sure as hell is worth it.
Second edition of R.E.D. (Reorientation, Empowerment and Development) for Girls comes us in the City of Port Harcourt on the 10th of March, 2018.
Pls we are in need of sponsors and good Samaritans to help us make this a reality, even your N1000 can go a long way.
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