Finding Her Voice; Finding happiness.

Tag Archives: International Women’s Day

March 8th as usual is the International Women’s Day when we celebrate the past and present women who have fought and sacrificed in big and small ways to make our families, societies and the world a better place.

This year, the theme of the celebration is #BeBoldforChange. To the men who stand with us and against us and to every woman, could you be bold for change? We ask that you be bold for change in attitude towards women’s plight, be bold for change in actions, from negative or lackadaisical to positive and active.

I just want to share a little story about an incident that occurred recently in my local area which made me proud of women all over again. (As told by one of the village women)

A guy impregnated a girl and declared his intentions to marry the said girl. The guy’s family refused even after the girl delivered a set of ‘male’ twins. The family alleged, wrongly too, that the girl was an osu. Osu is a caste system prevalent in the eastern part of Nigeria.  They also were not comfortable with the place of origin of the girl. So for these two reasons, they refused the marriage but their son was bent on marrying the mother of his babies. 

The guy’s mother, to prove her point, chased mother and babies out of her house where they were staying. The youth of the village packed them back in and warned the mother not to try that again.

Then the sister of the guy one early morning brought policemen to thier father’s house, jumped fence, and gave the police access to the house. The police promptly arrested the guy and took him off to their station in another town. All hell let lose at this.

The village women, through their female towncrier went round the community shouting to everybody’s hearing that every woman, old, young, cripple, so far as you are a woman, you must come out to this warring family’s house. Before you know it, the place was swarming with angry and agitated women of various ages and shapes.

These brave women of Umuoji in Anambra srate gave the guy’s family an ultimatum that the guy must be released that same day or they will face the wrath of the women. The women went ahead to go round their community chanting songs of anger against the mother and the rest of the family. By evening of that same day, they accomplished their aim and the guy was released and returned to his father’s house.

I will not bore you with petty details, only want to throw light on the power of a united women. They fined the guy’s mother and sister, excommunicated them till further notice and anybody found communicating with then will be fined too. The entire community stood still for these women. It might seem like a small feat but it speaks volumes. The town as a whole took notice of the case because of their activisim. The case is now in court because the sister alleged that the guy beat up their mother even though the mother said her son did not lay a finger on her. The women promised to continue their agitation till the matter is settled amicably.

How I wish that women will be bold enough to change and begin to stand together more. I wish that women will be their sisters’ keepers, that we will stand by each other through thick and thin instead of hating on each other and pulling each other down.

If the women in the neighbourhood of that victim of domestic violence can stand together with their sister and fight back, if the female judges and law enforcement agents could see themselves in the victims of rape and domestic violence and fight justly on their behalf, if my fellow female passenger could lend a voice when the guy beside me in the bus is sexually harrassing me, if only the female excisor would lay down her blades and knives and stand against female genital mutilation, if the late husband’s sisters could protect rather than join the men to intimidate their late brother’s wife and children, if only…

We can do it. This fight is ours first before the men, they will support us when we get serious about it. Time to act is now, not later, not tomorrow. United we stand, divided we fall.

Kudos to all the women who over the years have fought for their own rights and that of other women.

#BeBoldforChange

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#PLEDGEFORPARITY

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Poverty, diseases, hunger, death, all forms of gender discrimination and violence have been staring the Nigerian woman in the face from time immemorial. The MDGs period have elapsed and we have evolved with the rest of the world into the SDGs. Yet the impact of these goals remain very minimal within Nigeria, I bet it is not because money is not being squandered to improve that sector.

Truth be told, there has been some improvement, at least in awareness, maternal care, empowerment and such but we still have a very long way to go. Let me share with us some of the modern day experiences of the Nigerian woman.

For the rural woman, her woes starts from  childhood where she is discriminated against for being a girl, circumcised and relegated to the kitches where she is meant to be seen and not heard. As she grows up, while her younger brothers continue with their education or trade, she is married off at a tender age where her journey into motherhood commences.

Her major occupation still remains farming and petty trading. She caters to the needs of her family, sets off to the farm which sometimes takes her hours to get to. Sometimes she carries her baby on her back while carrying other farm tools and stuffs on her head, to and fro. Mind you, the land she farms on belongs to her husband because in most parts of Nigeria, a woman cannot possess a land, definitely not from her father or husband. She can borrow land from her family, or lease from other males. She contributes as much as she can to the wellbeing of the family. Some do petty businesses too.

Being a petty farmer/trader she makes very little which sometimes is not enough to cater to her health and other needs and that of her children. Thus, the troubles associated with poverty – illnesses, lack of basic amenities, including clean water, hunger and death are her friends. She treks a far distance to fetch water from the stream or borehole, or to fetch firewood and such. She might come back on some days to get the beating of her life for one flimsy reason or the other. She is still treated as a second/third class citizen in her home and community where the man reigns supreme and her words and actions amount to trash.

She can barely cater for the children she already has, and no longer strong enough to carry pregnancy but because she has no say in anything, including her own life, she takes in again and again. If she dies in the process, life goes on, if she survives, she carries on with her life. If her husband dies, she still goes through hell in the name of tradition.

Her urban counterpart is somewhat luckier.  If she is lucky, she got education and job, no matter the level of income, which affords her the luxury of some respect and empowerment. In her office, she is ‘just a woman’ therefore has unequal rights with the men. If she works herself off to attain a managerial position, she probably slept with every man available on her upward journey therefore deserves no respect. Her place is supposed to be in the kitchen so why would she come squaring shoulders with the men? This can affect her income and promotion mind you.

She has greater access to quality health facilities, basic amenities, and quality life, if she can afford it. Yet, she might still be a punching bag to the man of the house, an easy prey to a demented rapist, a second class citizen in general just because she is a she and not a he. If she ends up giving birth to an all-girls squad as children, it is her fault, therefore she, like her rural counterpart, must suffer for it. If her husband still thinks like his rural brothers, then her home ceases to provide succor from the challenges of daily life on the streets.

Very little has changed since the last time I wrote the Woes of the Nigerian Woman on this blog, but things have improved a bit. Now there are certain laws that were not there before, even if nobody recognizes these laws. But we know that someday, our voices will amount to more, that our contributions to society will be appreciated more and our gender will no longer be discriminated against.

I hail thee oh great women of Nigeria, Africa and the world. As we celebrate us today, I urge us all to keep being the best we can be, to resist intimidation and to help each other on this road to victory.

To the men that love us, respect us and cherish us, kudos and keep it up.


AlluringEby


I’ve just taken action to help accelerate gender parity. Make your #PledgeForParity here

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As you know, International Women’s day is here – 8th of  March. This year’s theme, Pledge for Parity urges us, male and female, to take positive and concrete actions now and always to ensure gender parity.

Be sure to make your own pledge with the link above and stand for what is right and just.

Say No to disparity at work, school, church/mosque, homes, everywhere.
#PLEDGEFORPARITY

AlluringEby


I’ve just taken action to help accelerate gender parity. Make your #PledgeForParity here

image

As you know, International Women’s day is here – 8th of  March. This year’s theme, Pledge for Parity urges us, male and female, to take positive and concrete actions now and always to ensure gender parity.

Be sure to make your own pledge with the link above and stand for what is right and just.

Say No to disparity at work, school, church/mosque, homes, everywhere.
#PLEDGEFORPARITY

AlluringEby



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