A professional journalist and an emerging writer, Jen Ehidiamen is committed to exploring and using the media as an advocacy tool for youth development and empowerment. She blogs at Youth Making Change and is CP-Africa’s Features Editor“People around the world say they firmly support equal rights for men and women, but many still believe men should get preference when it comes to good jobs, higher education or even in some cases the simple right to work outside the home, according to a new survey of 22 nations. The poll, conducted in April and May by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project in association with the International Herald Tribune, shows that in both developing countries and wealthy ones, there is a pronounced gap between a belief in the equality of the sexes and how that translates into reality…
In 13 of the countries, more than 90 percent of the respondents said they supported equal rights; in every other country except Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Indonesia and Nigeria, more than 75 percent backed gender equality. In Nigeria, 40 to 49 percent said men retained the higher quality of life… Nigeria, in fact, was the only surveyed country where more than half (54 percent) said women should not have equal rights; 45 percent of respondents favored equal rights.”
Reacting to this survey, some Nigerian women immediately responded…
“In many parts of the world, women are expected to be subordinates to men and are still being treated as subordinates. As women, we need to start being more vocal and active in the way we think. If women can stand up and start being active, some change can be incited. I will like to urge women to further their education because education is power. When you are educated, you are informed, and being well informed equips you with the necessary tools to make the best decision for yourself. I also encourage women to utilize their potential to the maximum. I want women to believe that they can achieve any goals they set for themselves regardless of what those goals are. If you want to be a soldier, model or actresses, an engineer, a doctor; anything you want to do, go for your dreams and maximize your potential.” Claret Onukogu is the fifth woman to win the Miss Nigeria in America Beauty Pageant, joining the growing voices of Nigerian-American women who have served as ambassadors of empowerment for African women in Diaspora.
“…Women have come round. They are more aware of their rights and what they should do. I am shocked that people think we should not have the same rights as men. I cannot imagine. We women have a lot to do. Many things are working against us in Nigeria. For example, the bailing system- a woman cannot bail a man in Nigeria because traditionally we don’t own properties and women are relegated to the home. Women should start believing in themselves…” Fatima Aliko Mohammed, Publisher, Draftbill Magazine.
“ Majority of people in Africa are women. They take care of the family. Not liberating them means they have no economic power. The problems in Africa can be solved by: educating girls, empowering women to be independent and having female representative in government, reducing incident of domestic violence etc. I just organized women symposium in March. We fundraised about $25, 000 and gave scholarship to 13 women…there is nothing I challenge people to do that I am not doing. There are still some laws that don’t allow women own property in Nigeria. How can a person be independent if they cannot own property? Women liberation is critical to our economic success in Nigeria and Africa. ” Folake Ayoola, President AfriMETRO.
As indicated above, though many Nigerian women want to be liberated, the statistics as released by the Pews Research Center present very dismal numbers. More than half of the country thinks women should not have equal rights and we are unique in this regard! No other country in the world crossed the 50% mark. Only Nigeria did. How do we even begin to tackle such a mentality? Women are key to the development of Nigeria as a nation.
We know this but why do majority of Nigerians advocate for lack of equal rights? Is there hope for the liberation of the Nigerian woman?