THE BREADWINNER PROBLEM

 

You remember when we Nigerians used to think that we were the only sane ones and oyinbo people were just plain crazy when it comes to marriages. Oh yea i forgot, we still think that. Sadly, it seems we Nigerians are not any better, our African mentality of marriage is quickly disintegrating. The “African mentality” (just in case you don’t know) is the belief that once you have entered” a marriage, you have “entered” it!!! It is strictly till death do you part. And the worst part is that you hear the most flimsy excuses- remember the one about the wife who could not stand her husband pressing the toothpaste tube from the middle (I hate that too btw). Although I am not sure that story was legit. But i must admit that there are some legitimate reasons for divorce.

The one major cause that still gets at me is the money problem. It’s funny the way things are going really rosy till the man’s “oil well” dries up and you start wondering what happened to the declarations of love and the submissive wife.

I’ve come across some appalling instances in my line of work. There was this woman whose child was sent home and his mother refused to pay even though she could afford to. Well, according to her, the rule is that the husband pays the children’s school fees (who comes up with these rules anyway). She went as far as stating this to her son’s hearing and even calling him useless!!! (who says that in front of a child…*sigh*)

There was also the woman who blatantly refused to pay rent her husband could not afford. It did not matter that she could afford it and save them the embarrassment. And oh yea, the one that packed all the interior decorations and the furniture in the house because… I think I’m digressing.

I could go on and on. But I’m pretty sure you get my point. And in all these cases, the men are tagged “unfortunate”  and are suddenly not good enough to be called husbands anymore. And what’s next? The woman moves straight out and may decide to go with some choice items in the house as well.

Sometimes I wonder if it would be so bad if the woman takes over financially. But I’ve learnt time after time, it takes only a superwoman to step up and be the breadwinner (without any necessary hassle) even for a short period of time. And a super super man to allow it and wholly recover from his setbacks. Unfortunately, not all men can deal with this. Most will feel emasculated and suddenly become emotionally abusive or it may lead to something even worse and of course the marriage breaks down irretrievably.  Then, there is the woman who will wonder why she has to bring home the bacon; many thoughts are coursing through her head. If she has to provide, doesn’t that her make her the boss of the home? Or worse still, she begins to think the man is taking her for granted- i mean she feels she’s doing so much and all he does is he keeps taking everything from her.

I wish we would see marriage for what it really is or rather what it should be.
A contract-A partnership!! It’s why you are both in it together, it’s not  a one party thing. It’s so you can cover each other’s rear ends, depending on who is wearing the torn dress. It is about striving to be perfect together. It is holding onto each other and ensuring that one is there to be a support when the other trips, when one partner falls the other lifts up. At the end of it all, you both shine together. So if today, he is going through a hard time, it doesn’t mean that you (woman) can’t step up and do a few things. And it doesn’t also mean that you (man) have been emasculated, it just means it’s time to step up your game- you don’t want to be that infidel Paul referred to, do you?

Don’t sit in the mess and grovel.

 

 

A woman’s place (repost)

There’s still one thing my mother says that grates on my nerves every time. I’m not so sure i’ll ever get over it. It’s that sentence she utters when i do something really good for her, those 5 words;

oko olowo wa fe o” ( you will marry a rich husband)

Maybe I just don’t understand the wisdom of the old. But why can’t she just pray for me. Why can’t she simply say, “omo mi (my child) you will be rich.” How did my husband whom she’s yet to meet even come into the conversation. But of course if i dare voice my thoughts, she’d ask,”so you want to be richer than your husband?”And my smart mouth won’t be able to help but reply, “duh…  why can’t I be?” You can imagine the look of horror on her face when she shakes her head and says “omokekere n se e.” (you are just a child)

Please don’t get me wrong. I do want my husband to be rich. What I don’t really care is which of us should be richer.

To most people, a woman is nothing more but a help- a caretaker, her “lord” will buy her the necessary things, and when he deems it fit (only when he deems it fit) bestow her with luxury. Here’s another example; on a random day, I was talking cars with a couple of friends and i remember saying my dream car was a mustang GT (the latest model at that time) and one of the guys looked at me and said “well your husband will buy it for you.” I was shocked because i never thought about it that way. I’ve was always thought ‘I’ will buy the car when i have the money. Instead, it was automatically assumed my husband will pay for it. I just don’t get it. Does he think only my husband will be able to afford? Or that my husband “should” be the one to get it for me?

What caused all this soul searching you might ask? Well, a while ago, I saw an episode of the TV series scandal where Olivia Pope was trying to convince Melany Grant to talk about why she stayed with her husband even though he had a mistress. What she said (if you are lost, please just go and watch the whole of scandal. You will thank me later.) pointed out a woman’s place in this world and actually inspired me to write this.

Let’s face it, it’s a man’s world and we all just live in it. Someone once said that, as blacks we are very low on the totem pole, but to be black and a woman is even worse. Albeit, sad but true. Most women juggle a whole lot that’s enough to drive some people crazy, but they do it without complaining. Yet we always play second fiddle; we will forever be defined by who our father is, who we date, who we marry…. God forbid we are viewed as our own selves. We are like our husbands appendages, his handbag to be seen and admired not heard, to just sit there and be pretty ( okay maybe i’m going a bit overboard. There are many women in the limelight).

I remember telling a close friend of mine, that i might keep my name and not take my husband’s last name. Oh my…. that did not go down well at all! The popular opinion is that it will be an affront to my future husband- like i’m undermining him… emasculating him blah blah blah. Is it so bad if i just want a little bit of me to remain since everything i am will cease to exist once i sign the dotted line?  Is it so wrong if people stop considering how our male counterparts feel and their silly egos? Instead think of how to some women, marriage is a loss of identity. 

And oh yea, I’m not leaving that out. That notion the world has, that we can’t be fulfilled until we get married or rather except we marry at a certain age 😒. I’m not saying it’s not okay to set goals or marry early, I’m only saying we should not put too much pressure on ourselves. (Although, after hearing my mum give examples of friends of hers who are not married till now, i’d say “please do marry when the opportunity presents itself”) Most of us are not even mentally prepared for it. The point is one day i will be referred to as his wife, his personal cheer leader, to hold his hand, to build him up, encourage him, care for him, referred to as someone else’s mother but never as my own individual.There are days i look forward to marriage and dream about all the beautiful babies, my husband and i will have. But there are days … (sigh).

Anyways, (after this crazy random rant) I’m calm and sitting on my bed. And I’m thinking; I have changed-I’m starting to be less of a feminist and more of a  realist. I’ll just follow the crowd, at least for my mother’s peace of mind and my sanity.

THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT

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By Ayo

Have you ever witnessed (or heard of) someone do something unbelievably atrocious, or so vile, you  pause and wonder how he/she could be capable of such despicable act. And of course, the next thing you hear out of their mouths is, “the devil made me do it.”

From fathers who defile their young daughters; grown men raping toddlers to the serial killer;  there is that one being who features in every evil act- the devil. The first image that comes to our imagination is the physical manifestation with the red horns, two-pronged pitchfork and the arrow shaped tail (raise your hands if you saw that one in Tom and Jerry)Heavenly_Puss_1949_08_devildog

If you are like me, you may have realised that the image is probably a metaphor for his decadence. And if you are a Christian, you’ve probably  read that passage of the bible where Lucifer is described as a very handsome  and angelic being with a beautiful voice, and was the leader of the angelic hosts and God’s favourite before he caused over a third of those angels to fall and got them all banished (some say to hell, while some say or still believe they still roam this earth, oh well…). Lucifer was drop dead gorgeous, in an angelic sort of way. Okay maybe I’m overdoing it but even his name makes you think of a pretty boy, doesn’t it? think about it……. ‘Lucifer Morningstar‘ the light bringer yada yada!!!

Back to the crux of the matter, blaming the devil can be traced right back to the beginning of ages. Let’s do a little history, shall we? When you think of all the evil in the world today, don’t you sometimes find yourself tracing the blame from your forefathers to Adam and Eve. Yup! Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden. Remember the story of the fall of Man (it’s more than just a story anyway, but let’s not get to that today), how the serpent tempted Eve to eat of the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When God quizzed Adam, his reply was:

‘…the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and i did eat’

So the blame shifted and it was the woman’s turn to be quizzed and of course she said,    ‘the serpent beguiled me and i did eat

There, you have it!!! Do you see the pattern of blame? Adam blamed Eve, and she subsequently blamed the serpent. Trust me, we can make that tree longer: you do something bad–>you blame a friend–>friend blames parent–>parent blames evil great aunt–>evil great aunt blames the evil world–>it goes on and on till it comes down to that one story–>Adam and Eve–>And then you get the ‘not so poor’ serpent

This is not some theological debate or a reminder of the one story no one seems to ever forget. The whole point to this is that Eve, like most of us, forgot she had that one thing that other beings (even supernatural beings) covet- Free Will. Free will is nothing more than the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion. Free will is the ability to choose between different possible courses of action. It is closely linked to the concepts of responsibility, praise, guilt, sin, and other judgments which apply only to actions that are freely chosen.

The serpent did not make Eve do anything, it just made a “subtle” suggestion. It’s just like when you are about to *insert worst possible act you can do/or have ever done* And you go to your best friend for advise and she says, “gosh you are too uptight, just do it already! go be a slut” or she says with profound wisdom, “why do you want to? It will mess up the whole of your life“. Basically, you have two options. You could choose to go with her advice or, choose not to listen to her and do the exact opposite. In the end you absolutely cannot go back to her and say, “you made me do it” She did not. She did not hold a knife to your neck now, did she? Even if she did, you could have chosen to die… okay that’s so not the point

So…  maybe, just maybe we need to accept the blame of our own actions and stop trying to distribute the blame like it is some emotion to be shared. The devil may have whispered into your ears, but hey, I’m pretty sure he did not tie a rope to your leg and drag you all the way. Let’s accept that we can be really depraved and stop believing the devil is that much of a genius.


 

Choices

By Oluwaseun I have just started to realise that life is all about choices. Even when we fail to make a choice, we are still choosing something. For a long while i have been hiding in the shadows, been walking on the side lines never choosing to live because i was scared. I was scared […]

CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY

March 8 is always celebrated as the international day of women worldwide. Women are specially meant to be celebrated on that particular day and to further adjudicate for the equal rights of women with regards to their male counterparts in the society as they are a pivotal element in the growth of democracy and in nation building process.

To foster democracy and equality as provided by the constitution of Nigeria, we must allow for equal representation in the political sphere and stop the marginalisation and relegation of women to the rear.

Women are the bedrock of any given society and ought to be the pillar to our democratic growth. The constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides in section 42 that no person shall be discriminated against by virtue of her sex or other limitations or inhibitions.

Women sorely deserve equal rights just as men in the society do. It is therefore ludicrous to see that the Nigerian leaders have decided to flagrantly flout the provisions of the constitutions and Nigerians have decided to sleep on their rights.

In some states, political aspirants promise a meager 30% representation in government and the people or the women jump and applaud such promises. It is appalling that this great country of ours has always decided to celebrate mediocrity. It is high time that people of Nigeria stopped wallowing in mediocrity and stood up for their rights. They should also demand what is lawfully theirs by holding the leaders accountable. Women have as much right as men do to the political stool or positions.

CONVENTIONS ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND THE NIGERIAN DISPOSITION

CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (CEDAW):- This is one of the foremost conventions on the advocacy for the rights of women. This convention came into play by virtue of being adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 34/180 of 18 December 1979 entry into force 3 September 1981, in accordance with article 27(1). CEDAW seeks to advocate for the rights of women and eradicate the discrimination against women among member states. It also aids in Recalling that discrimination against women violates the principles of equality of rights and respect for human dignity, is an obstacle to the participation of women, on equal terms with men, in the political, social, economic and cultural life of their countries, hampers the growth of the prosperity of society and the family and makes more difficult the full development of the potentialities of women in the service of their countries and of humanity. Article 7 of CEDAW provides that “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life of the country and, in particular, shall ensure to women, on equal terms with men, the right:

To vote in all elections and public referenda and to be eligible for election to all publicly elected bodies;

To participate in the formulation of government policy and the implementation thereof and to hold public office and perform all public functions at all levels of government;

To participate in non-governmental organizations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country”.

This convention has further aided women in other member states to advocate for their rights with adequate information and proper drive as most member states have adequately domesticated the convention.

BEIJING DECLARATION:- Twenty years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted by 189 Member States meeting in China, its stature and significance as a roadmap for the achievement of gender equality remains undiminished. This pivotal document continues to guide the global struggle against constraints and obstacles to the empowerment of women around the world. In the face of new forces threatening to curtail the rights of women and girls, we must return to the agenda set by the Platform for Action and renew our commitment to carry it out in full.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995 is a visionary agenda for the empowerment of women. It still remains today the most comprehensive global policy framework and blueprint for action, and is a current source of guidance and inspiration to realize gender equality and the human rights of women and girls, everywhere.

This landmark text was the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, China, in September 1995. After two weeks of political debate, exchange of information on good practice and lessons learned, and sharing of experiences, representatives of 189 Governments agreed to commitments that were unprecedented in scope. More than 30,000 people also participated in the Forum of non-governmental organizations in Huairou, a unique space of advocacy, networking, training and knowledge sharing.

The Platform for Action covers 12 critical areas of concern which are as relevant today as 20 years ago: poverty; education and training; health; violence; armed conflict; economy; power and decision-making; institutional mechanisms; human rights; media; environment; and the girl child. For each critical area of concern, strategic objectives are identified, as well as a detailed catalogue of related actions to be taken by Governments and other stakeholders, at national, regional and international level. At the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly in June 2000, held to review the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, Governments agreed on further actions to accelerate implementation of the Platform for Action and to ensure that commitments for gender equality, development and peace were fully realized.

Since 1995, Governments, civil society and other stakeholders have worked to eliminate discrimination against women and girls and achieve equality in all areas of life, in public and in private spaces. Discriminatory legislation is being removed, and violence against women and girls and harmful practices addressed.

There have been significant gains in girls’ school enrolment, and women’s participation in the labour force and the economy is growing in some regions. Women’s representation in national parliaments now exceeds 20 per cent globally. Significant normative advances have been made in the global agenda on women, peace and security. Much has been achieved, but progress has been unacceptably slow and uneven, particularly for the most marginalized women and girls who experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.

Nearly 20 years after the adoption of the Platform for Action, no country has achieved equality for women and girls and significant levels of inequality between women and men persist. Critical areas of insufficient progress include access to decent work and closing the gender pay gap; rebalancing of the care workload; ending violence against women; reducing maternal mortality and realizing sexual and reproductive health and rights; and participation in power and decision-making at all levels.1

Nigeria as a country is a member state and a participant in the signage of the aforestated conventions but in all fairness and sincerity it is disheartening that a country that prides itself on democratic living and virtues has refused to domesticate these conventions.

The glaring fact is that the political sect has failed to recognize that women also have rights and also the sole backing of the constitution to garner the same political support as men. The earlier the Nigerian women held the government responsible for their marginalization, the earnest we will achieve the democracy for all that is being clamored for by all Nigerians.

CUSTOMS AND RELIGIONS RELEGATING THE WOMEN

Religions and customs are a pivotal aspect of a person’s life and it will be fallible to relegate women on these grounds as the holy books seek to tell us to relate with each other equality and to foster equality amongst ourselves regardless of the sex or inhibitory traits.

The dominant religions do not preach discrimination in any form. All human are born equal and it is trite to note that “women rights are human rights”.2 More so, any custom that relegates women or purports to propagate the inferiority of women is archaic, barbaric and repugnant to natural justice, equity and good conscience. Let us not forget that the pillars of the holy religions we all practice were set by women. The foundations of all religions would not have been properly set without their efforts.

WOMEN THE PIVOT OF THEIR OWN DOWNFALL

It is of trite importance to state that the problem of most women is in their education and low self esteem. Facts have it that an average Nigerian woman would rather vote for a man other than a woman based on their nether or underslung level of reasoning as to the basis of a woman contesting for a political position while she has a family to cater for. Women are created by God to have the ability to multitask. Therefore, it is demeaning of women to believe that a woman cannot rule this nation adequately.

Looking at the developed nations, it is trite to note that the radical changes that propelled their nation forward happened at a point when a woman was in power. If travelling on a particular destination does not yield the adequate results, it is high time that we set forth on another destination.

A senior colleague once told me that in her quest to vie for a political post, she was downtrodden mostly by women like her who felt she was inferior to her male counterparts.

CONCLUSION

Nigeria is a country blessed with a vast array of human and natural resources. Leaving out the focal element in Nation building is a cataclysmic disaster waiting to happen. Women have always played a pivotal role in the building of this great nation.

More so, women should be given an equal playing field to enable the fostering of a change that we all desire and deserve.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Nigerian government should domesticate all signed conventions to further grant women their women rights.

The legislative bodies should enact laws that would proffer stiffer punishments for delineation of women.

Political constituencies should be delimited and proper networking facilities provided for women.

There should be equal playing grounds and equal rights for men and women.

REFERRENCES

CONVENTION ON THE ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN

BEIJING DECLARATION PLATFORM FOR ACTION

WOMEN AND ELECTORAL PROCESSES: ISSUES IN CONSTITUENCY DELIMITATION AND NETWORKING.

– Damilola Kolawole