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Thursday, 3 December 2015



Some months back, I watched a programme on one of the TV stations. It was an interactive show and the host was interviewing a female leader from the All Progressive Congress (APC). She spoke about the President’s performance so far and she was, of course, full of praise and without mincing words, spoke of her admiration for the President. Towards the end of the show, she made mention of the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet was going to have more women than any other administration and she specifically praised him for appointing a female as the acting chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

 This is just another clear example of us not setting our priorities right. My point is, having more women political office holders, doesn’t directly translate to a better economy, a decrease in the gap between the educated male population and female population or an end to child marriage. We’ve had a lot of female political office holders in recent times but they haven’t fared any better than the men. Yea I know it’s not right to compare, considering the number of men we have in leadership positions but truth be told, if we had more women, there is no guarantee that things would’ve been any better. We have to grow from this myopic and parochial mind set. Having hundred women in political offices, makes no meaning if they don’t perform (same applies to the men too). If you ask me, I don’t care who occupies a political post; whether it is a woman, a man, transgender or even a toddler, I don’t place emphasis on those things, as long as you can perform your duties, then I have no problem.

Just in case you’re not aware, most politicians who give room for women in their cabinet only do so as a political strategy, to gain more votes from the women population, not necessarily to tackle the gender inequality crippling this country. It is now a trend, politics is a numbers game, so more women and more votes.  I’m not saying that having more women is wrong but I’m only stating that the whole essence of gender equality in this country, a struggle which started with the Abeokuta women revolt, has been brutally abused. We’re getting it all wrong, this is a wrong way to fight gender equality. A tree grows from its roots, to the leaves and not the other way round. If gender equality is to be achieved in this country, we need an increase in the population of educated women. Knowledge is power, knowledge breeds confidence. It is the only way we can have women contest for top political positions and not to be used as sidekicks or as means to an end.We need more KORA, strong independent women (and there is nothing I find more sexy than an independent lady) and not figure heads like the former deputy governor of my state.

Rather than bother ourselves with how many women we have in Buhari’s cabinet, we should concern ourselves with how to bring about a drastic reduction and if possible, bring to an end, the number of child marriage cases. These girls are often given off at very tender ages and quite often, they just end up as house wives. They never live to actualise their dreams or make any meaningful contribution to the growth of the country, even with their immense potential. In most cases, once the husband dies, everything is willed to his brother and the woman is left with nothing. That’s when she’ll begin to toil night and day, from one menial job to another, just to carter for her needs. This is not fair.

The place of the woman is in the kitchen, if only she alone consumes all the food in the house and if she isn’t affected by the way female children are discriminated in this country. Gender equality has never been about having incompetent women in a cabinet, it has never been about me stepping out of my space on a queue for a lazy lady who wouldn’t just join the queue from the back, it has never been about sewing branded wrappers and dancing under the sun during political campaigns just for 4,000 Naira or less and there are lot more cases of abuse of this campaign. However, Gender equality has only ever been about having an educated, passionate female population, willing to participate in making decisions that will positively influence the affairs of a country.

Like I said earlier, I’m not against the inclusion of women in the cabinet but I’m only trying to remind us that we shouldn’t fall for this ‘I have more women in my cabinet’ strategy which is just meant to blind us from the fundamental issues we should be concerned about. Just in case you didn’t read from the start, I’ll state the issues again; female child education and child marriage. These are the major reasons for which the gender equality campaign was initiated. Okay, the inclusion of females in political cabinets was also an issue but which would you prefer? 20 or more subdued, servile and fearful ladies as ministers and commissioners or a lionhearted and confident woman as president? 

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