AW Gist : The Change Agents

By Onozasi

This is about picturing the realities in our society.

Just before you begin : This is a discussion between three social agents, three women involved in different social innovations who’ve been brought together to discuss the different issues they’ve solved, the different stories they’ve heard and how we all can become good influencers, good change agents. I hope this stirs a thing up as you read.

                             Meet the Change Agents:

My name is Jadesola Olumide, I Work with women in rural and urban Nigeria. My organization teaches them to work with their hands to make money, well that’s what some people call skills acquisition. I have worked with over 5,000 women and I am still working daily with women and girls.

I am Tomi Nelson, I am an advocate against rape and sexual assault in society. I was working in the UK before coming to stay in Nigeria, and I must say I have seen much more than I expected to see. It’s no news that we have a lot to do but it is news that we need hands to make this happen.

My name is Lilian Ukachi. I am a media personality, social media influencer and trainee. I work with women and girls on a daily basis, I listen to them, motivate them to thirst for more and go beyond their boundaries. We have a lot of women and girls out there whose zest for life has been destroyed. It is imperative that we join hands to make their dreams come true.

 

shoes for women

 

                   Topic: The Noise About Women, Girls and their Inhumane Treatment are False! Women Have always been Favoured. 

Jadesola Olumide: You know what? Sometimes, I feel like slapping, beating up some ignorant, and not just ignorant, arrogantly ignorant folks who go about saying what they know absolutely nothing about. I hear some people go about saying women are just trying to get attention, women are just overdoing things, they have always been favoured. Have they seen the statistics? Have they seen the number of women who have left their homes, been beaten, died out of sexual violence? Have they seen the number of girls who have been denied education just because of their gender? Have they checked the records? I work daily with women and girls, I have heard and seen very gory things, heard very pathetic stories that women and girls are forced to face. There’s a girl in her teens who was kicked out of school for getting pregnant and guess what? the guy who got her pregnant was allowed to stay. They said it’s her fault for allowing the guy to sleep with her. Oh, the woman has to learn self-control you say, but the man mustn’t? Our society is patriarchal. It has never favoured women. It is now that some women have spoken up, acted up but we are far from it. Have you seen the petition on gender abuse in South Africa? How women and girls are being abused, killed? I mean! I can finally speak my mind somewhere because this is the reason why we are not making as much progress as we should. They think we are making things up. They think we are just creating drama out of nowhere but we know what it is. We have the records that can speak to these arrogantly ignorant people!

 

Lilian Ukachi : I can feel your anger Jadesola and I am angry too but I am glad that we can finally speak about this. You see, our people, the men most especially cause all of these things, and sometimes are directly helped by women but then they turn around and pretend not to see these things. They suddenly think we are favoured. We have always been favoured for being ‘girls’. Let me say this when you refuse to allow that girl child go to school cos her last name will be changed, come and tell me if that’s favour? When you let her be a maid, househelp and expose her to sexual molestation, deprive her of education, come and explain the fairness. At home, she is told to sweep, keep the home, wash the plates while her brothers are allowed to play football. From a tender age, she is taught to be subject to the opposite sex. When she is abused, she is told to keep quiet that she won’t be okay if anyone knew about it. She’s told to accept her molester uncle because he is family. She is not allowed to enter the room with her baby because the child would disturb the men in the room. From the start of her life, she is given a manual to life, ‘how to dress’, ‘how to speak’, ‘how to do this and that’ and when she wants to come out and have a voice? she is labelled angry. she is labelled retarded. she is labelled resentful. she is labelled rebellious and some people even give it religious backing and they think it’s all noise? they think women and girls should continue living a relegated life? they think this is all drama? Arrant total nonsense!

 

Tomi Nelson: These people do not get it. We are saying allow a woman the space you allow the man in the society. The same way you tell a man to ‘man-up’ to go for go Gold, to explore the world it’s the same thing we are asking that you grant the woman, the girl child. When there is war, women and girls are the brunts of it. You want to fight a war and you think the best thing is to take the girls and rape them cos you think they are your weapons. I mean, the fact that you can even think of sleeping with the women means you know this would break them, you think women and girls are inconsequential anyway. Who says it is all drama? look at the rape cases we have in this country and other nations of the world, Africa or not. It is the same thing everywhere, maybe better than others you might say. Look at the equal pay thing, because you are woman, they expect that you don’t have responsibilities at home, a man is feeding you anyway while in actual fact, most women run the home. Most women are the ones burdened with the responsibilities of families, nuclear and extended. But because the system has placed the men above women, they think the men should be paid better than the women, what kind of thinking is that? I work the same hours or even juggle more than you do but you are favoured more. How inhumane. What about the woman who goes home to her husband after a tough day but has to cook in the kitchen every blessed day and when she doesn’t, they tag her as unhomely, she is not a good wife, she is too career-oriented. Please, what is wrong with being tired, being fatigued and having better options that can be explored? I don’t know what is wrong with us but as it is some women even promote such values. Imagine a female in-law coming to the house and spitting rubbish because the wife refused to cook after a long day. What stops you from entering that kitchen to cook your food?

Jadesola Olumide: You know what, that is why it is hard to get good policy framework that can help women especially in this country. Look at politics, when a woman wants to run, she is attacked, she is called names. she is frustrated by the system and when she runs, she is made subject to the men. They even make her feel like they are doing her a favour. Sometimes, she is frustrated out of the system for being too firm and then she resigns. Women usually resign in politics but the men don’t resign. Look at our last elections, look at the number of women in the house, in different positions in the country. It is alarming. They are trying to make women be in one sector and we are saying it’s all about the news? if women were at the helms of affairs in this country, we wouldn’t be ranked poor in issues concerning women and girls in Africa? Why can’t we have a female president? why can’t we have women in charge of ministries? women who aren’t just going to be ‘minister of women affairs’ because the title of the job demands it? We are far from where we are supposed to be. We are too far and things must be corrected starting from this ideology of ‘it’s not as serious as they paint it, they are just dramatic’. What the heck!

 

Lilian Ukachi: Women should be fiercer. They give such comments because they don’t want us to speak and we must keep speaking. we must keep standing for what is right and what is just. We are women, we are talented and we are in no competition with the men. We should also make sure that as women we are not supporting patriarchy. we are not supporting policies that would push women down. We should be very cautious about what we allow and what we don’t allow. Women and girls aren’t asking for too much just allow us to have a sane society. Give us what belongs to us. Safety belongs to us, political leaderships should be ours, allow us to be good wives and don’t beat us and give our girls education.

 

Tomi Nelson: A woman just wants to live in peace. That is all she wants!

Jadesola Olumide: A balanced society is for both sexes. It is not being too much, it is not asking too much. It is asking and demanding for what works for everyone!!! it is that simple.

 

Source: Above Whispers

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