Friday, September 27, 2013

Sexism is alive and well!

image courtesy google
So, I have just been informed that one of the key reasons Nigeria under performs as a Nation is because THERE ARE TOO MANY WOMEN AT THE HELM OF AFFAIRS IN VITAL MINISTRIES! Shocker!!!! Did you guess this was why Nigeria was such a dundder head amongst Nations??? I didn't. I guess what shocked me the most was that it wasn't some disgruntled, he-man with a full grey beard, in a knotted wrapper, reciting "Africa my Africa" who made the comment. It wasn't a usual suspect at all, but a fresh, clean shaven, twenty something young man, with great education and exposure.  I mean, worrahell???? As far as women-lib has advanced, I've just realised that it hasn't progressed enough because young men who were our classmates, boyfriends, colleagues, who we thought were our allies, actually yimu at our women-lib and practically frown at the advancements made.

I refuse to hold brief for any of the female Ministers in the so-called 'sensitive' ministries. What I do know, unequivocally, is that the failings in their Ministries is not directly linked to their owning coochies. I mean, what a ridiculous notion. I pointed out to the proponent of the argument that you have a Minister of Finance who is Harvard trained and who was at the helms of affairs at World Bank. With this type of pedigree, she should be able to run a Ministry of Finance. His response? It is not all about education. Wow. Well, one of the deciding factors for high office is your work experience and educational qualifications, so unfortunately, it cannot be dismissed simply because it comes from a woman.

In fact the entire argument was flawed from the jump because I asked for empirical evidence to back his statement. Statistics or other evidence that proves women are more inept at handling positions of authority simply because of their gender. He was unable to provide any. Statistics and evidence have instead shown that girls out perform boys in examinations, more women are outperforming men in colleges and women ended the war in Liberia.

His argument is further defeated by the fact that there are men whose Ministries are similarly under-performing, who are unable to disseminate accurate information to save their lives. Why have we not chanted 'the appendage between your legs makes you incompetent'? Or is it because they have been put in 'women work' Ministry that their primal maleness has not been able to shine through, hence their under-performance?  The answer to this is men fail on their own merit. Not because they are men, simply because of the individual. No one has ever said 'na man!' when qualifying a stupid thing done by a member of the male gender. They just say 'so and so is stupid'. Women are not afforded that same courtesy. We fail simply because we are women. No one looks at the person in the female body. 'Na woman' is a prevalent indictment that qualifies anything from traffic violations to melt downs in the market. And when this immortal phrase is uttered you see onlookers (women inclusive) nodding their heads in understanding. I await the day when I hear 'na man' when two area-boys lock horns.

image courtesy google
I was distraught that the argument wasn't 'install a competent person' just simply 'women are the problem'.
So a man with the same qualifications and background, whose only added advantage is being of the male persuasion is the only answer? This is worrisome in a country where more girls are born than boys. It seems the general consensus is that we are overstepping our bounds. Our mandate in life is to be seen, preferably chained to sink or maternity bed, and not heard. This is in a country where countless big wigs make fools of themselves over 18 year old girls, buying them houses, cars and any other desires of their heart. Last weekend, I was told of a big wig who has been in a 2 year tryst with a teenage girl who is still in secondary school, who declared proudly in a packed club that ".......calls the shots!" and according to onlookers, he meant it. Imagine that. If you want this big wig to approve a contract, you must go grovelling to a teenage girl, younger than your last child.
What this shows is that so long as it can be ascribed to some form of bedmatics related activity, some men are not bothered by the might of women, dismiss it with a wave of their hands  and decide that their masculinity is intact. But when the might is brought into the boardroom, politics, administration, it is dismissed as the ranting of a specie perpetually PMSing.

So I ask, which way Nigeria? Has it occurred to my argumentative friend that these women are under-performing due to the lack of cooperation of their colleagues of the male gender, who find it hard to answer to a female for the greater good?
image courtesy google

Queen Elizabeth is so lucky she is not queen and head of state of Nigeria. She would have had her crown wrested from her in the dead of the night as family members argue that there are men within her family capable of ruling England. Britons would wake up in the morning to find her husband has imposed himself as King of England because he was tired of walking one step behind her and of not having his children bear his last name.

You find this sexism in all areas of life. Let me give you one example that stands out for me. My aunt and my uncle went to Nigeria House in London to sort out some paper work regarding their recent change of name. The interviewer, would ask a question and when my aunt answered, he would listen impatiently and re-ask the question for my uncle to answer. At some point, he told my aunt "Madam, I am talking to your husband". What kind of bs is that. My aunt understandably flared up and gave him a PIECE! It was clear the man was unable to relate with my aunt as a fellow human being. All he saw was a woman who did not know her place. He probably felt my uncle should have called her to order for 'un-manning' him in the presence of company by knowing the answer to questions. But my uncle, like my dad, has 2 daughters and a son. He is aware of the impact of silencing a woman. It would mean even his daughters won't have a voice in the future.

The uncanny ability of some men to reduce women to hormonal, emotional, fickle, indecisive and weak people, not worthy of having reasoned discussions with, astounds me. This is what they actually believe and it informs their outlook on life. I now see why the comment "you act like a guy" trails after me when I offer dispassionate views on issues or know my own mind. I now see why the problems of Nigeria would be linked to the ability to lactate and breastfeed. But is this the Nigeria we want to leave behind for the girl-child? Is this a fair assessment of the state of affairs or am I being true to form and offering an emotional, hormonal, fickle and weak argument?

Hit me up.


  1. Borrowing your wise words "Worrahell"!!!!!
    This kind of mentality is so disturbing.. Having just recently moved back to Nigeria, the sexism is so glaringly obvious it makes me want to cry! And it's everywhere.. Home, work, church, restaurants, stores.. every gaddam place!
    Please something needs to be done!

  2. Giiiiiiiiiirl. You are preaching to the choir. And the stories i could tell you even from the US. This mentality (our) men have...smh. Even the ones who claim to be so forward thinking are still backwards as all hell. Its maddening.

  3. Se dat was an ignorant man. I once heard a woman say haughtly that a public figure giving a speech on tv about her position during a crisis looked too pretty to be able to do her job.

    When did beauty become synonymous to incompetent

  4. Yes, actually, because we're all used to this sexism thing (gender differences), the first time I read your blog I thought that you were a guy. Your arguement is strong and I really think women can do better if they become less emotional and more independent-minded.
    Jdy last posted...The 10 (career) Rules That Separate Failure From Success


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