Gender Equality And What-Nots- Story 3

Gender Equality And What-Nots- Story 3

Occupied with thoughts of the world thrown into a rat race to save itself, putting pen to paper has been difficult this month. Coronavirus caught the entire world unprepared for its implication despite having been around since 2019.

It all happened so fast that no one even noticed March was Women’s month anymore and any grand plans to deliberate on the state of gender equity while celebrating remarkable women and the gender struggle achievements so far came to a halt.

Regardless, I was privileged to have anchored an event, that brought together young girls to hear accomplished people, mostly women share their life experiences on growing through the ranks, especially as it relates dealing with gender stereotypes. This event was put together by an admirable woman with such a powerful story, Helen Ikhile (founder of Female Matters Inc).

I also moderated the panel at a Google sponsored event for women in Ibadan. If you have ever heard of women will then you should have an idea about my second event.

One thing that struck me during the two events, from interactions with the guests and my audience was the quality of conversation we had about gender equality. It wasn’t merely about demanding equal social, political and economic rights, we were able to speak to the question of how to achieve equality/equity within the context of the “average Nigerian woman’s reality”.

Anchoring the panel session at Women will, Ibadan #IWD meeting

To paraphrase Mr. Tunde Onokoya, one of my panelists at Women Will Ibadan #IWD2020 meeting, “We need to admit that the world we desire for women is a far cry from our reality and while it is important that we continue to take steps towards a truly equal world, we cannot shy away from dealing with reality and creating solutions that work for that reality.”

It was such a pleasure to see specific issues addressed. We have so streamlined our definition of who a strong woman and feminist is, that we rely on narratives from the west and far flung examples to discuss gender struggles in Nigeria. These are narratives women living in rural communities and not exposed to formal education can many times not relate to. Many young women are also caught in this web. That must change.

We have examples of Nigerian women across all ethnic groups, who have taken a stand for what they want and refused to be bullied into not having a voice or denied opportunities because of their gender. A Yoruba woman of Oyo extraction would relate to the story of Orompoto and so would any woman be able to relate to the story of Oya and a woman from the North can very well become empowered by the story of Queen Amina. Beyond that, there are women in our localities smashing negative gender and cultural stereotypes everyday, theirs are stories that we can relate to and that can accelerate our quest for a world where women do not feel inferior to men. If just one person reads this and take it up, then a hundred women would have read it and 1,000, moving up to10000 women…..

Nothing is etched in stone and at the risk of sounding like an apologist, I daresay that we need to bring home the subject of gender equality and keep at it, until we tailor it to fit. We need to stop judging women’s strength on the basis of how many goals they are smashing or how much they are letting badly behaved men (I refuse to say patriarchy) get away with. We need to stop judging women by the benchmarks of our own choices. Being woman is enough and I hope that today, YOU look in the mirror and tell yourself that it is.

This month started and ended on such beautiful notes for me. I hope it stays like that through April. I finally moved back to Lagos after 2 years of running and I am excited for what the future holds.

This is the year I turn 24 and I almost can’t believe I am one year shy of my mid-twenties. It feels weird sha. See you all next month, come bearing gifts and lots of love.

Special shout out to my new prayer partner, Ajoke and accountability partner, Adetoun.

#2020in12stories #Story3of12 #9togo

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