As a proponent of gender equality I am convinced that the push towards equality on all fronts is gaining grounds. The only hindrance to this all important paradigm shift is the woman herself. The struggle for gender equality cannot succeed with mere lip service, a commensurate amount of effort and change of reasoning must be applied to the struggle to send a strong signal to the men that they are indeed committed to their aspiration to equality.
I strongly believe that the only difference between a man and a woman is biology, each gender comes equipped with specific biological functions peculiar to them, all other differences have been thrust upon us by generations of patriarchal and matriarchal indoctrination. The age long phrase “what a man can do a woman can do better” is biologically false in all ramifications but true in all other areas.
In Africa and many third world countries, the challenges faced by women in their push for equality are self inflicted. Many women approach relationships, marriage and other engagements with men with a defeatist attitude, they are selfishly selective in the areas where they apply their struggle. If they are to be taken seriously, the struggle for gender equality, with the exception of specific biological functions should be all encompassing. Once the struggle is won at home, it will become easy to entrench in the larger society.
In relationships and marriages for instance, women in subsaharan Africa and other third world countries have already accepted that men are superior by leaving certain aspects of the family in control of the man. One of such aspects is finance and provision. It is true that he who pays the piper dictates the tune, you cannot leave financial provision to the man and expect to be taken seriously when you talk of equality. Women in these parts must expunge this mentality of entitlement of being catered for to one of being involved in financial provision on a sole or 50-50 basis.
The traction the struggle for gender equality is enjoying in the west is because the women have become involved in the financial planning and provision in the family. Even in social engagements with men, they insist on meeting the man half way in payment of bills. With the introduction of patrimony, paid maternity leave for men, divorce settlement for men married to affluent women, etc, they have tipped the balance in their favour and have by virtue of these proven that indeed they are sincere and serious with the struggle for gender equality, the results is clear and speaks for itself.
On this day of international women’s day, I encourage all women to take the bull by the horn and become involved across the board in family affairs. There must be a concerted effort to prove to the men that you have come of age and ready to push your struggle through to the finish line. You must put your money where your mouth is and relieve them of the only tool of manipulation left at their disposal, money. Rather than wait to be taken care of, work hard for your financial freedom and with it comes all other freedoms. Happy international women’s day to all our women – Sir Stanley Ekezie