Everywhere we look, every news we hear, every tabloid we read, it’s always the same mantra – gender inequality. Most females have become feminists’ town criers, while men stay mum, and cringe in fear, without voicing their thoughts, so as not to be seen as misogynists, giving room for feminists, among, whom are misandrists, comfortably, and without reservation condemn men in all its entirety.
Isn’t it ironic, that the term “feminism” was coined by a French socialist, Charles Fourier – a man. It wasn’t enough that women could come out as women and, advocate for a cause, they had to be branded by a man. This proves that “woman”, started this cause of gender inequality, before being branded “feminist”, by a man. I would rather stay true to my gender, “woman”, and fight for this just cause.
Researchers, have revealed reasons why gender inequality still persists, despite all the awareness created by women/feminists. Unfortunately, because men and tradition, are being seen as the root cause, they overlook the most important obstacle- women! How come women/feminists, have been fighting for gender inequality for decades, and are yet to get it extinct? It doesn’t help also, that feminists have different views on feminism. In my opinion,
- Women have limited themselves in some areas of education. For instance, most deciding not to delve into engineering, or neurosurgery, preferring to be lawyers, general practitioners etc. Men can’t be faulted for what you decide to study. Both genders have been given the same opportunity in areas of education. The decision on what, or if to continue studying, rests on the individual gender, most especially in the Western world.
- If we as women feel marginalized in areas of work ,disparities in work force, or salary earnings, why can’t women come together as one entity – women, and get our voices heard, instead of dividing ourselves into segregations- Women, Feminists, White Feminists, Black Feminists, Western feminism and African feminism?
- The cause for women and girl child empowerment, and gender equality, is a cause advocated by women as a whole, not only feminists, as they proclaim to. Women have always fought for equal rights for their fellow women, and the girl child until, a man coined the word feminism, and feminists ran with it, proclaiming any woman who asserts herself, and joins the cause for gender equality, is then a feminist. In fact, women and not just feminists, are not only advocating for gender equality, but the enlightenment of the boy child, to complement the empowerment of the girl child.
- Regarding politics, women are not fully involved, not because of home bound duties as indicated by researchers and feminists, but because we are yet to become one, in our aspirations like men. Nothing, not motherhood, traditions, or marital status, can stop a woman from achieving her dreams, except she’s not remotely interested. When women decide to genuinely come together, to change the course of politics, watch out!
- Regarding traditional duties of women cooking, and men mowing the lawn or washing cars, has it occurred to anyone, that most women take genuine pleasure in cooking, not just because it’s a tradition passed down, but a tradition, relished by most women, and enjoyed? They shouldn’t be looked down on for doing what pleases them. It does not in anyway, make them less achievers, than their counterparts. If I want to mow the lawn or wash cars, I don’t need a man to tell me I shouldn’t or, a feminist to tell me I should. I’m not mowing the lawn, simply because I don’t want to, not because, I can’t, or, see it as a man’s job, as dictated by tradition. Just as most women would prefer to be proposed to, by men in terms of marriage, even as a feminist, so is cooking and cleaning by some women. There is probably a handful of women who’ve done the proposal, but they shouldn’t be frowned at, just as women who love doing house chores shouldn’t be castigated. If certain traditions don’t reflect negatively to your essence as a woman, by all means, keep it, and pass it down if need be. Speaking of which, we have pilots, army generals, scientists that are women, and cooks, nurses that are men. Gender has been relegated in these areas. Moreover, why must matrons in the hospital be women? I think it’s sexist in today’s time. There should be an equivalent of a matron, reserved for men, with it’s own identity, like patron. Ivan Graham became Peterborough’s first-ever male matron-“patron”.
- Blaming men for every woe is time consuming. We don’t need men to give us control, that’s being at their mercy yet again. Let’s discard labels like white feminists, black feminists, western feminism and African feminism, and come together as women to change history once and for all. Segregating women into groups, is dividing our strength! How do we then expect to win, when feminists constantly mock and belittle career – traditional women. A woman has joined the cause of gender equality, when she educates, enlightens and empowers her child, (girl or/ boy) by being there as a parent or guardian. Either at a center stage, or the confines of family. I don’t see feminists identifying with female teachers, yet in my eyes, they are at the fore front, in the cause of gender equality, than any feminist I know of.
- Feminists believe every successful woman, is a feminist. I beg to differ. Saying Hillary Clinton is a feminist, just because she’s vying for presidency is putting words in her mouth, and confirming the unnecessary propaganda attributable to feminists. If she is, why is she ashamed to speak up, then? Should she be ashamed, if she’s advocating for something that would benefit women and girls as a whole, or is confirming that she’s a feminist, comparable to coming out of the closet? Neither did Malala Yousafzai, identify herself as a feminist, as a writer indicated. She’s just a young girl advocating for gender equality. She’s identifying with the cause, not the brand.
- Women have marginalized themselves, making it all the more difficult for us to achieve our aim of ending gender inequality. I advise researchers to look into this, as looking for traditions as a root cause, is only one aspect of it, which is less significant, compared to building up women and girl child’s confidence in today’s world. In Africa, religion is more of an obstacle to the cause of gender inequality, than tradition. Women have not only marginalized themselves, but limited their capabilities. Men have just taken advantage of our inconsistencies.
- Let’s take pride in our enhanced chromosome. Men take pride in theirs, why shouldn’t we? That, in my opinion is the first step to being unapologetic for being created the way we are. Bringing in feminism, is admitting “because of my gender, I’m incapable unless, you give me some room to prove myself”. I don’t need you to give me some room, I’m going to take the whole room if I deem it fit to. And that, because I’m a woman.
- Collectively as women, we can achieve a whole lot. Divided, we can only try. Women rule with self-essence. Feminists are yet to be clearly defined.
Ifeoma Theodore Jnr, E. is a writer, and the author of the titles, Trapped in oblivion & My daughters and I.