Some Women Want Gender Equality And So?

Some Women Want Gender Equality And So?

It is a few hours before the end of the first day of 2014 and I am having a heated argument with my brothers. Am I just being cantankerous, plain silly, an ignoramus or what? One thing is certain though. I am a little bit disappointed. What is the beef with ambitious females? Please pardon my winding style – it is the angst.

I overheard someone say something about women being unreasonable in their quest for equality with men. He continued that women have to know that they are not men and that they cannot do some things that men can do, and that we should stop trying to prove points that we can do better than men. I have heard comments like this countless times, but I was terrified, hearing it from one of my brothers, and my fright worsened when the others concurred with him. I had to dig deeper, to know what he meant by the quest for equality, and proving points to men. He was talking about stuff like pursuing careers, aiming for top positions, working late hours, doing supposedly masculine chores, deciding to wait to attain some career positions or academic qualifications before getting married, and some other stuff I drowned out to retain my sanity.

This is not an invitation to take sides. I am really tired about talking about the stuff I am going to write here, and I have decided to pen them down. First, people need to understand this thing we call equality. If you add two and two, you get four. If you add three and one, you get four. Both sums have different players, but they sum up to the same thing. Men and women are different in many ways, but we are equal. Period! And we share many things in common. Men have dreams, women have dreams. Men have ambitions, women have ambitions. Men have abilities, women have abilities. Men have emotions, women have emotions. We may express ourselves, our dreams, our ambitions, our emotions and our abilities in different ways, but at the core, we are humans together and, in this lies our equality.

I agree that in marriage, there should be order, and that the husband is the head of the home. And who says women want to head their homes? I am yet to see the woman with a responsible husband, who just wants to usurp his headship (maybe such women exist, but I am yet to encounter them, even in fiction). Women only assume this headship responsibility when there is a vacuum, and any husband who is leading his family rightly need not be threatened. Yet, this divinely designed order in homes does not necessarily translate to superiority or inferiority. In fact, it is a call for sacrifice, where the head is supposed to love unconditionally, and be willing to lay his life for his wife and family. Importantly also, this order is for individual homes, husband to wife; it is not for all men to be the heads of all women.

Women have ambitions and aspirations, just like men, and I think it is cruel to ask a woman to hang all her dreams and aspirations because she is supposed to be a home keeper. I agree that a mother should care for her home, the same way a man should provide for his family (financially, material, intellectually, emotionally, as well as spiritually). But she does not necessarily have to burn the career or academic coat, just because she must serve her family. Rather than force women to choose between one and the others, I believe that the society should assist her in combining these multiple responsibilities. Thank God that some organizations offer their female employees opportunities like flexible work arrangements, telecommuting, and crèches in office buildings. I am also grateful for technologies like deep freezers, washing machines and dishwashers, and for housekeepers, grandmothers and laundry services. What is wrong if a woman is encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities? I am not dissing those women who chose to be stay-at-home moms. I have some great friends who have chosen that path, and I think very highly of them. I am just saying that it should be a choice, not a compulsion. And “stay-at-home” does not mean “no career”. I detest the insinuation that the mother is supposed to stay at home, nurse babies, cook, clean, and do only house chores. Imagine subjecting a creative writer or a pilot to that lifestyle. What sort of death sentence is that?

I believe that it is unhealthy for men and women with young families to stay late at work regularly. It is not something men can do but women should not do. Both mother and father have responsibilities to their children, and as long as they are alive and healthy, they should be physically present at home when their children are awake. Stop blaming only women.

Single women are not excluded from this issue. The other day, I was talking with someone who was complaining that her husband’s female colleague, who was not married, was competing with him, when she ought to be thinking of finding solution to her being single. Some people advice women to ensure that they are married before they pursue higher degrees like PhDs, and before they attain managerial positions or own their businesses. Some say, “Don’t buy a car, rent a house, or own big property before you are married”. They argue that these things have potentials of preventing suitors from proposing marriage. In order words, some men fear that successful women will not make good wives and mothers. That opinion is very untrue. Does success prevent men from being good husbands and fathers? Why do you think it would prevent women from being good wives and mothers? Also, why should women deprive themselves of things they desire simply because they are single? Why is it a curse for a woman to be single, but not so for a man? Why should a woman kill her legitimate ambitions and desires because she is single?

I really wish that all men will understand that when women want equality, we want equal opportunities, not sameness. We want to have healthy families and fulfilling careers, the way you do. We want to get opportunities because we qualify. We want our men to pitch in and help us in the homes (and I do not think that is asking for too much). We want our performance ratings to be based on our output, not our gender. When we try to do some things that you call masculine, we do it because you are not always there to do it for us, and it needs to be done; we are not necessarily trying to prove anything to you.

When we ask to be treated as equals, we do not mean that we want to wear men’s shoes, or grow moustaches. We are saying that we want our value to be based on our humanness and our character, and not our possessions. We are saying that you should not decide not befriend us or even marry us because we have PhDs, cars or property. If men are not outcasts because of their academic and career achievements, and because of their physical possessions, successful women should not be made pariahs.

And, do not be quick to judge us too. Consider the fact that our families may be dependent on us financially, so when we put our babies in daycare centres, it is not because we are heartless. Would you rather that we back our babies and beg on the streets?

Women are humans too. Our dignity should be upheld. We are different from men, but we are equal. Please support us to achieve our noble aspirations and goals (some of us support men too). Support us in our quest to be treated with gender equality in the society.

And, if you think we are crying over nothing, and that we need not advocate for equality or any opportunities, that is your opinion. You have a right to your opinion, the way we have ours. After all, we are equal. But, please leave us to cry over our nothing. We are not using your voice to cry. Stop undermining our efforts. Our getting what we want will not in any way diminish what you have. So, some of us want equality… and so? What/who does it hurt? If you do not want to support us in our quests, please do not hinder us. Just give way, do your own thing, and PLEASE, stop judging us!



44 thoughts on “Some Women Want Gender Equality And So?” by Efadel (@febidel)

  1. Bola (@basittjamiu)

    I support, Effadel.

    Nice article.

    1. Thank you for supporting. You’re on the right track.

  2. Very nice.I hope this explanation is clear to all men folk.

    1. I hope somehow the message gets to them. I hope the women folk get it too.

  3. I agree with this
    It seems the writer lives in my mind and has expressed how I feel as a single ambitious,hardworking female.
    And women are the worst opponents of gender equality! Not even the men

    1. @charla, what do you recommend that we do about those women?

      1. Honestly I don’t know what could be done about those women
        However we must continue trying to educate them and every girl child.
        Maybe then in the future, the world would see gender equality as the norm and not something the ‘crazy feminists ‘ want
        Sorry for the babble.

  4. Yes! We need to empower our daughters so they may have choices which is what everyone wants regarding of their gender.Well done.

    1. I meant regardless.

    2. Thank you, @jefsaraurmax. We need to empower our daughters, sisters and ourselves too! We even need to empower our mothers and grandmothers. It is not too late for them. lol

  5. I see male replies it will be nice to know what you think.

  6. I see no male comments… please it will be nice here from U guys….

    1. @topazo
      @chemokopi
      @dkny111
      @scopeman60
      @ayomitans
      @lordkel

      and @all the other male members of naija stories community, @amy78 is inviting you to share your thoughts. I’m interested in knowing too.

  7. Okay, so I stopped by and after reading this discourse have this really irrational thought: take hanky…

    I apologize, that was totally off, but I couldn’t resist. :p

    Anyway, the foregoing is fraught with salient points stating why women also should be regarded as equals. I personally have no problem with that, I mean all ladies must be allowed to carry their own bags, open the door and earn their cash… awwww, I did it again? sorry.

    The place where you said a man who leads is family right need not fear that his wife would usurp is authority is gold. I see marriages today and I pray that I do not go the way of those men. It’s not going to be any cool at all.

    Ah, lastly, if ladies want to be treated as equals, let them learn to toast us guys, and take us out. We would like that for a change of pace #myopinion. ANd by that, I’m not advocating that the lady should feed, clothe and care for the man o. Just so we’re clear. An occasional treat. Naija babes don’t really do that.

    Ok, I don too talk, *drops mic*

    1. @daireenonline, what does “take hanky” mean? I’m clueless. If you’ve not been getting treats from the ladies in your life, you need to change your circle of friends. Really. And I’m sure there are several ladies and men too who’ll agree with me.
      Don’t worry, your marriage won’t go the way of those marriages you fear. Just start right, love your wife, and understand servant-leadership.
      Finalement, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      1. take hanky means…, oh heck, you know the meaning :p

        I do get treats from female friends. The GF(s) do not necessarily release their funds is what I’m saying. In my case, one look at me and I become their pet project. Every woman I meet wants to save me, it’s tiresome really, but I have met some amazing women because I’m a fun person to be around. And yup, you are one of ’em.

        As per marriage, we’re learning, but the truth is it isn’t the same as dating, so a different set of rules apply.

        1. You’re right on that about marriage. I still don’t know what “take hanky” means though, @daireenonline. Somebody help me out here.

  8. I agree with @febidel if you @daireenonline are yet to be treated or taken out by a lady then you are spending time with the wrong circle of girls/friends.As for marriage shine your eyes well, look well beyond shape ,colour e.t.c and all those physically traits that draw most men. It is the person inside that makes it a very lasting and fulfilling relationship.

    1. Erm, @amy78 you sound like a marriage counselor. I make it a point to avoid those pips, why? they make me see the fat girls and I’m all about the skinny babes *shrugs*

      Don’t worry, I’ll find that one woman that’s perfect for me. I have faith. Thanks for the words.

      1. @daireenonline, what feareth thou? Skinny babes can become fat too… I’m just saying.

        1. @febidel: Erm, before the skinny gets fat, we’d be visiting gyms and working out together. I’m a very good micro-manager. :p

          As for fear, marriage is a daunting sontin, deserves to be feared a bit.

          1. If you say so, Daireen, but there’s another saying that you can force a horse to the stream…

  9. Okay. I’m here now.

    One word. Subjugation.

    For centuries, the male ego has fed off having the women submit to them and doing their bidding and catering to their every whim and caprice. Imagine having a beautiful, brilliant woman at your beck and call. It’s the utmost domination.

    The times have changed. Women have been educated, and they now have a voice. They want to reach for the stars too. Fear has gripped the menfolk: there would not be enough space at the top. Or worse, men would be overthrown, because they know that what the woman sets her heart to get, she gets.

    I support female empowerment and gender equality, in its purest form. Equal opportunities, equal privileges, equal responsibilities.

    1. One gboza for you, @topazo. Please tell your brothers, there is room in the sky for many stars.

  10. Please vote for me in the STCOLOURS A-SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP, please subscribe on http://www.stcoloursaschool.com. and respond to the email you receive from the school, with my name TEMITOPE GODIS. Thanks in anticipation for your vote. ABEG NS .Voting started on the 10th Jan ends the 24th January 2014.
    Had to include this in here, since i couldnt on my profile.

  11. Great article.

    I have learnt to approach this issue with reservations even though I am appalled by the level of injustice meted out to women on a daily basis. We see it in the eyes of our mothers, the pressures on our sisters and the fear in the actions of our girlfriends.

    It shouldn’t be so. Women should have equal opportunities. Fathers should help out with motherhood.

    Your equation analogy on equality is one of the most ingenious attempts at explaining the paradox, that I have come across. I would rather want to term it balance not equality though. And from where I stand, I think equality is the wrong word and the choice of that word by activists is the reason for all the shocking resistance to change from the men.

    You might be interested in reading this article to see what some birds have to say about motherhood:

    http://www.bellanaija.com/2014/01/21/samuel-okopi-12-lessons-of-life-from-3-birds-found-only-in-nigeria/

    Well done Efadel

    1. Thank you, @chemokopi. But why do men fear equality? It doesn’t mean that we’ll usurp their place. It just means that we’ll stand beside them. And I thought that company was good… Please tell them.

      1. Plus I just read your article on bellanaija. I like the insight. Thank you for sharing.

  12. First off, @febidel, brilliant write up. Sincere and heartfelt.

    And Iwould want to get your permission to post it on a site i operate.

    Its a fundamentally sound and progressive write up in the context of African feminism and religious thought.

    But there are parts that sound very, to use an American speak, 1950’s US.

    In that:

    1. In absolute terms, the expression of our dreams are, in the 21st century, less about gender and more about passion. Women want to have Children just as much as many men do; they want to be world leaders and changers just as much as men. So the differences, I believe are less gender-specific.

    But your main point is right, women dream just as much and well as men.

    2. Order in marriage, in real life, is not about position or title; it is about actions and more essential qualities like trust, faithfulness, love, mutual respect.

    A man being head is about what he does, if he Provides, and acts in a manner that makes his wife and children respect him.

    The Xtian faith, for example, understands how relative this role of headship is when it says “Husband love your wife as christ loves the church” in the same breathe as it makes the man head of the home. I think the order is in loving, respecting and understanding each other.

    A man who disdains his family by his action does not deserve to be its head; same goes for a woman.

    3. You make some statements that can be construed to mean a woman is made to cook, clean and wash. Not sure i personally agree.

    Those are just my personal view. But in real life, this is the kind of thinking many African women can comfortably get behind.

    Its good stuff.

    Can i publish it?

    1. @ayomitans, what is the website?

      1. @jefsaraurmax

        It’s at supersteelafrica.com

        An Afro-centric site where we talk on real issues and invite anyone with a passion for Africa and something to say to contribute.

    2. @ayomitans, yes, you can publish my article on the grounds that you cite Efadel as the author, and mention that it was published on naijastories.com

      I think you misunderstood some points though. Women are not made for domestic chores. Unfortunately, though, there is a common belief that domestic chores are women’s responsibilities. That is why, in some homes, the daughters sweep the house, wash the dishes, etc., and the sons sometimes wash the cars. You are probably one of the few men who believe otherwise. I understand that domestic chores have to be done, and I am emphasizing that regardless of what people believe about whose responsibility it is to clean the house, there are inventions like the dish washers, washing machines, etc. to help out.
      I agrere with the points you noted. I think we are saying the same thing, @ayomitans. We’re just saying them differently. If you think differently though, you could point out the specific statements that come across that way, and I will clear the air.
      Thank you.

      1. @ayomitans, I meant to emphasize that with all PLEASURE, you can share the article.

  13. @febidel I have been debating with myself if I should be serious or not, but in the end this is a new year and a new me, so I’ll be serious.

    This is a really good article but unfortunately as much as I’ll love to say, yes women are equal with men but unfortunately the reality is that we are not.

    If the truth is to be told women are stronger than men and there are things my wife does that I know I seriously can’t do and based on that fact alone the should have higher equality.

    But in terms of equality I guess this all starts from the story of Adam and Eve. Eve wasn’t made first, Adam wasn’t made to support (serve) Eve, so unfortunately from the beginning of creation the status has already been set.

    I want my daughter to go out to the world and do whatever she wants. I want her to know that she can be whatever she wants, be a CEO of a top bank and still be regarded as the best mum in the world, but I know it would be harder for her than say if I had a son (but not impossible)

    It’s just unfortunately the world we live in and I try to avoid having discussions like this cause it doesn’t change what the world perception is, and I don’t think it ever would (this doesn’t mean people should stop pushing and preaching it)

    So to take a quote from George Orwell, Animal Farm

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

    1. @dkny111, this is how changes happen. Few people can make a difference. If @febidel changes the mind of just one man, it will change the lives of the women around him. Making a difference for one person is already an accomplishment.
      “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Lao-Tzu

      1. Thank you, @jefsaraurmax. Did you hear that, @dkny111? Change doesn’t have to be big immediately. It is in the small things. You treat your wife and daughter right, some other man sees you, and he is inspired to treat his family right, and before you know it, the ripple effect can go very far. Besides, it is easier today for me to do somethings that were almost impossible in my grandmothers’ days – another proof that change happens. Some companies have their in-house creches for their employees. Some encourage telecommuting. Petit a petit, as the French say it…

        1. @jefsaraurmax @febidel I agree that’s why I said it still needs to be addressed and preached

  14. @febidel, thanks for writing this.
    Things are changing, rather too slowly for my liking. The problem is there are still women in hidden corners of the world that are enduring lives as second class citizens in their fathers/husbands houses. This is further compounded by socio-economic factors like poverty and lack of education.
    It is really sad that some of the supporters of patriarchy are women. Those women were the ones who welcomed second wives into their huts and gave female circumcisions and FGM their blessing.
    We have the chance now to raise our daughters well. To teach them they have a voice.
    Especially by showing them how much we love and respect their fathers and how they love and respect us back.
    We don’t want to be the kings of our castle. We just want equality.

    1. @olajumoke, if you have a chance,check out what I wrote last year about the fate of too many women and girls:
      http://www.naijastories.com/2012/09/for-each-girl-for-each-woman/

    2. I agree, @olajumoke. That’s why we must not relent in spreading the truth we know, that all humans have dignity, that in the eyes of God, we are equal, and that we even if the others don’t agree that we should be equal, they should not hinder us.

  15. Thanks @jefsaraurmax. I will check it out.

  16. @jefsaraurmax, @dkny111, @febidel
    Are all women equal? Are all men equal? Inequality is a fact of life.

    People confuse being different with inequality. Nobody thinks women are lesser mortals, but rather that women are different from men. That women are treated differently doesn’t mean they are treated unequally? Do women know the ramifications of being treated exactly as men are treated? Is that what all the clamour is about? If i was a woman i would want to be given preferential treatment, special considerations because i am a woman, which is a special gender.

    I dont understand this women!

    @jefsaraurmax, howdy?

    1. @kaycee, well said, I just didn’t have the liver to say it like you did lol

  17. @kaycee, I was wondering how long it would take for you to show up. I won’t waste my time with you though.I could explain the issues until my head turns blue and you wouldn’t understand. The whole idea is for everyone to have choices and be able to make decisions in their own life. As is happens, a lot of women are not allowed to make those choices and take those decisions.This is what it is about. I don’t care about special considerations as long as I can choose to pursue an education, work or stay at home and travel without having to worry about a man allowing it.If you can not understand that every human being should be allowed those simple rights, you do not belong in the discussion.

    I’m fine. How are you doing? Also when are you going to change that picture?

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