Man in the 21st century by Nonso

It is on record that the 21st century accounts for major successes in the quest for women to take up roles that have previously been seen as roles for men. Although many successes have been recorded, there is still a lot of work to be done. The empowerment of women has tilted the power dynamics in such a way that has never been before. So, many men are yet to adjust to this modern reality – the reality that women are now getting the ‘power to choose’.

Identity in itself is derived from nature and nurture. While nature is driven by DNA, nurture is a chronic exposure to culture, religion and secular education which creates various predispositions. As an example; A male child born in Nigeria today is exposed to an environment that expressly or implicitly teaches him that he is somehow superior to a female. In saying this, the female is also conditioned as well into this ideology. This ideology is propagated openly or in very subtle ways throughout culture, religion and in secular spheres (like schools and workplaces). This ideology has been passed down through many generations of both males and females and to change it, we are saddled with the herculean task of re-educating living and upcoming generations of males and females. Note that both sexes are exposed to the same school of thought.

Men have always been the commandeers of the power of choice; and although men have been in this power business for a long time, we have not always taken responsibility for the power we possess because we never knew its purpose; so we abused it to the detriment of our women. One can evidently see that the identity problem of the male existed long before the movements for the empowerment of women.  However, it must also be clearly stated that women are currently experiencing power that is quite unfamiliar and this in itself is having a huge negative impact on families and the society at large because, just like men, power is being abused by women also. This may not be obvious in developing nations but more obvious in progressive societies.

I always asked myself; what should the end result look like having achieved a significant level of women empowerment? I believe the Key Performance Indicators should include; a happier generation of both sexes, reduced suicide rates and more stable families. But this is not the case in the 21st century. In this century, we have seen the highest divorce rate, highest emotional depression rates, and highest suicide rates ever in history. In as much as this century has recorded significant GDPs growths, increased production capacities, improved technologies etc., largely because both sexes are now involved in the major industries, we have also seen astonishing polarization of families.

The facts are self-evident and quite compelling; women in power did not cause the identity crisis we are seeing today in men. Also, if we pay close attention, we’ll see the same identity crisis in women. Hindsight teaches us that, when you give or take power away, you’ll always see the true nature of a human being.

***End***

Nonso is a fine gentleman and when I say gentle I mean even on the inside. While I have often seen the Identity crisis gradually gaining grounds in our men especially the young ones, he has brought up the identity crisis currently taking over women. What are we doing with the power of equality?

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No one to rock the cradle

Nigeria and the entire world woke up to the news of the rejection of the bill by the Senate on ‘Gender Parity and Violence against Women’ introduced by Sen. Biodun Olujimi. Before I go into the reasons given for the rejection, it’s important to get a background of the bill. Gender Parity – An index used to measure the access to education of both males and females, this is central to the achievement of the MDG 3 gender equality and women’s empowerment through education. Prohibition of violence against women in private and public places . The senator said the bill seeks to promote equality, development and advancement of all persons in Nigeria especially women, the bill if passed will give women freedom of movement that has been hampered by social and cultural practices in some parts of the country, sexual abuse against elderly people, all forms of trafficking in women and children, medical experiment on women and children without their consent or guardians, equal rights for women in marriage, divorce and land ownership/inheritance and much more.

In response to the bill, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu supported the bill saying Nigeria would develop if women were given the same rights as men, Senate Majority leader Ali Ndume criticized it urging Nigerians to stick to either religious or traditional marriage while Senator Sani Yerima condemned it saying it was in conflict with the Nigerian constitution citing the Sharia law as his basis which is recognized by the constitution. It shouldn’t be a surprise why the bill was voted down.

I have often asked in a plural state like Nigeria, what law supersedes the other, for example we have the Nigerian constitution and the Sharia law. Article 10 of the constitution states “The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion” this simply means Nigeria is a secular state.  In 1999 twelve states adopted the Sharia law without the implementation of the Apostasy law (an offence committed when a Muslim leaves the Islamic faith or gets converted to another religion, the punishment is death). Article 38 “ Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief…” contravenes the Apostasy law and Nigeria is equally a convener and gave her accession on 29 July 1993 to Chapter IV of the Human Rights Treaty by the United Nations which states in Article 18 ‘’Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, this right shall include freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief of his choice…’’.

One of the senators cited religion as one of his reasons for rejecting the bill, I am a Christian and I’ll speak from that point of authority. My people are destroyed because of lack of knowledge – Hosea 4:6. The day I came across this information in the Bible I was stunned and wondering why it hasn’t been expounded upon since we are a very “religious” nation. I will summarize the chapter Numbers 27, the daughters of Zelophehad from the tribe of Joseph had lost their father in the wilderness and they had no brother brought up the case before Moses and asked a profound question “why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no sons? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers” this is what my people call Alu!!!. Just like what some senators felt, how can such bill even be mentioned, it was a taboo but Moses took their case to God and this is God’s response in vs 7-8 “The daughters of Zelophehad are right in their statements. You shall surely give them a hereditary possession among their father’s brothers, and you shall transfer the inheritance of their father to them.  “Further, you shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter…  In a conference I attended a Muslim scholar said a man asked the Prophet, who deserves the best respect and the lyrics of a song I love written by Yusuf Islam sums up the answer “Who should I give my love to, My respect and my honour to Who should I pay good mind to? After Allah And Rasulullah Comes your mother Who next? Your mother Who next? Your mother And then your father”. The repetition of the question and answers isn’t an error.

I have presented the two reasons cited for the rejection of the bill. So I ask what exactly are they against, empowerment of the women, violence against women, education or the well being of the widows. Nigeria is a secular state although there is freedom of religion which provides the ultimate source of a group’s identity and reason for their existence. In creating laws to govern the state the question should be, who are the laws made for, in the case of Nigeria we are talking of the female gender and a time comes when the fundamental human right of an individual needs to be considered first regardless of the gender . There is the need to separate the state from religion, granted religion has a public figure, we should be mindful of making state laws based solely on religion especially when the state is secular. The Apostasy law hasn’t been implemented because it contradicts the constitution of Nigeria, it goes to show not all religious laws are acceptable in all countries. Dear Senators with your recent actions, you have placed Nigeria as one of the countries against the development and empowerment of women, let’s not forget the “Chibok girls saga”, the many Ese Oruru’s out there. “The hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world” if that hand is not protected what will become of that world?

Laods of Love

JMAD

N/B : Alu is an Igbo word for taboo

“A Man’s world”

Weaker sex. Be seen not heard. You’re better off at home. It’s a waste of finances to train the child. Without mentioning any particular gender, you can figure out who the phrase refers to.  For a long time, there has been a debate on gender issues; from gender equality, to women empowerment. It’s amazing to see the woman thrive, in a world that has been generally referred to as “A MAN’S WORLD”.

The woman has been at the receiving end of this feminine injustice, right from the great fall of our dearly beloved fore-father Adam, who shifted the blame to Eve. Eve made the mistake, but she wasn’t the mistake. What really happened? A man who had the power, to name every living thing on earth couldn’t just say NO to a fruit, not a truck load of it but just one fruit. This will probably make you laugh, a friend and I were discussing and he said during the creation after Adam fell into a sleep and God created Eve, Adam was still sleeping and doesn’t know what God told the woman, he feels their’s a secret between the woman and God. Well, I don’t know maybe another lady out there may have the answer.

You’ve grown up hearing that you are weak, but how come a woman can carry another living being inside her for nine months. Throughout those months, she undergoes some drastic changes; her body gets to stretch, and adjusts to these changes. Some of them still have to work all through the nine months, and if they already have children, cater for them and of course tend to her husband’s needs all at the same time. If you ask me, anyone doing all these can be referred to as a “SUPER-WO (HU) MAN”; I can’t find any trace of weakness in her.

A woman is simply a man that has a womb and has the capacity to reproduce. We’ve heard that behind every successful man is a woman, but I want to go further and say that for every man that has worked the surface of the earth, was a representation of a woman; the woman who gave life to him.  The woman from the period of conception decides the fate of the seed in her; whatever she does during the period of pregnancy, will have a huge influence on the child that will be brought forth.

 Ladies, we have no idea of what has been deposited on the inside. The moment you discover you are not weak, there is no limit to what you can do; granted, we’ve been told it’s a man’s world but women have a major role to play too.

Gen. David Petraeus, Pres. Bill Clinton, Dominique Strauss – Kahn and even the wisest man that ever lived King Solomom, all had one thing in common, Greatness; on the flip side, they experienced a downfall that wasn’t caused by a nuclear weapon, but by women.

Ladies the issue isn’t if we’re unique creatures, but rather the inability to live ignorant of who we are. These women, who brought down these men used their femininity; though in a negative way, but yielded results. Just like hydropower is gotten from harnessing the energy in falling water, women have to harness the qualities in them to make an impact in this world.

In a documentary I watched on the Argentine ‘death flights’ and human rights violations that occurred in the 70’s where many young activist who were speaking against the dictatorship of the government were either locked up in secret detention cells, tortured and murdered, the babies born in the cell were given up for adoption to some families in the military. Many people were reported missing at that time but the mothers of the missing young men and women decided to stage a protest, even when they were harassed. A journalist recalled how he saw the women in a different light; he said he noticed most of the people who came up to report a missing person were women and when the men came with them they were hesitant and tried to hush the women not to speak about the issue extensively saying they may lose their jobs in the government but the women wouldn’t keep quiet. These women who were in their 60’s and even older continued to search for both their children and grand children born in those camps. He said, nothing else mattered to those women except to get answers. They have been able to find over 100 of their adopted grandchildren; I’m talking of children in their 30’s, such tenacity. Although their children were murdered but they have been able to find their grandchildren and some of the perpetrators have been charged and given jail sentences.

Ladies, enough of the battle of the sexes; explore your unique nature to affect your environment.  We may be weak physically but we are so strong on the inside. The only limitation you will truly experience is the limitation you place on yourself. The world is eagerly waiting for your manifestation. See you at the TOP.

Loads of Love

JMAD