It is no news that women have over the years been relegated to the background on issues bothered around development especially in third world countries like Nigeria and asking why this has been so is asking a not too farfetched question. Bourne out of sentimental attachment on the feminine gender, evidence over the years has shown that the Nigerian woman has actually been playing a crucial role in the political bearing of the country. However for development to take a successful path, vantage position should be accorded these women as they even make up the larger population of the country. In this regard we might ask why majority of them are still being left out in sensitive issues of decision making that bothers even on their lives as a people.
It can be argued that these days women are actively taking their place in the political decision making process of the country. But more often than not, they are besieged with challenges of which discrimination is rifer. Men are taking up a chauvinistic disposition even more glaringly as they are generally of the notion that decision making is exclusively a male chore, while women are to remain mute and submissive, taking instructions without batting an eye lid.
This popular idea of playing the number two role by a woman is even being seconded by our religious institutions has always played itself in the political lives of the people. One woman out of a hundred equally qualified women rises to a political position and it seems to all like it’s a huge win for all women. Her male counterpart that is even less qualified gets an equally influential role in the government and it is viewed like the norm.
This mindset and process has been in place since time memorial and does not seem like it’s going to be improved on soon. The average educated woman likes to see herself as avant-garde in Nigeria, but almost always relegates her role to her male counterpart. How then can she play an active role in the future shaping and decision making process of the country.
Inspirational quotes fly around daily on how women are the back bones of the society, the bedrocks of the common man and the unassuming masterminds behind world issues, but this is only how far out they have gotten.
Subsequently, the efforts of certain women should be applauded and even more so the efforts they make to break out of the norm so as to have a voice within their specific locale, the Aba Women riots in 1929 is one of such example and more recently the #BringBackOurGirls campaign spearheaded by Madam Due process Oby Ezekwesili.
Finally even with these obvious efforts, we can agree that enough is still not being done by the Nigerian women for herself and her country, as it becomes glaringly obvious today that empowering a woman goes a long way in shaping her generation. The popular saying “educate a man and you educate and individual, educate a woman and you’ve educated a nation” goes a long way to buttress this point.
Ndidi Ekeh writes in from Lagos, Nigeria.
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