LOUD WHISPERS: All Humans Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others

In last week’s article about the Foot in Mouth’ Senators in Nigeria for abovewhispers.com, I wrote about the patronizing attitude of some of our male Senators towards Nigerian women. I did not expect that the distinguished gentlemen would take up more time and space this week, with the dismissal of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill that was presented by Senator Abiodun Olujimi representing Ekiti State. There has been a huge outcry following this and rightfully so. The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki, sensing a lot of trouble ahead, has stated that the Bill will be re-presented. That is fair enough. We will ‘sheathe’ our swords for now, and pull back our troops to strategise for the battle ahead.

I have been in New York for the past one week, attending this year’s United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. This meeting is popularly known as ‘CSW’, and it is the time of year, usually February-March, when the United Nations receives reports from member states around the world on the status of women, and when non-governmental organisations, governments, corporate sector partners and other interested parties organize side-events to share information on various issues. Usually, before the annual CSW meetings in New York, there are regional Ministerial meetings around the world to prepare positions for the next CSW. After the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing, the CSW began to use the annual meeting to focus on implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. Every five years there would be a wholistic review of progress made at national, regional and international level. I started attending CSW in 1993, when I was based in London working for AMwA, an international development organisation for African women. Over the past twenty three years, I don’t think I have missed more than four CSWs. I have been involved in CSW in various capacities – as a member of the NGO caucus, an organizer of the African Caucus, a sponsor of  parallel activities, a member of official government delegations and during my time as Executive Director of the African Women’s Development Fund, funder of many NGO participants from Africa. In addition, I have had to attend most of the relevant preparatory meetings at the Africa regional level, because there is no point going to the annual CSW without a regional perspective.  The CSW meetings usually start at 8am in the morning and go on till 8pm, after which there are dinners and receptions which are of course meetings all over again. There is a wide range of official and parallel activities to choose from, and except for when you have to speak at a particular program, you are free to use your time as you wish. For those who find themselves in New York with more of a tourist agenda than a commitment to duty, the city offers other attractions outside of the halls of the United Nations and the other venues where the meetings take place.  Sometimes it gets a bit tiresome listening to the same debates year in year out, as new faces come on the scene from both the governmental and non-governmental sectors. The smart countries have a group of skilled Gender Specialists based in their UN Missions in New York, and on the official delegations, who ensure that their respective countries keep abreast of issues and remain committed to their obligations. However, many countries insist on re-inventing the wheel every time.

Full article in Loud Whispers cover final

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

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13 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: All Humans Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others

  1. Faith fabunmi March 22, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    salient points. I totally agree that some the challenges in advancing women’s right is how we keep on reinventing the wheel. It almost seems like there is a new agenda every four years with new faces. At this critical time we need gender experts and professionals to systematically advance the cause of gender equality if progress will ever be made. I also think the messaging is very key. I am always disappointed when I see gender equality messaging that are sexist. We support of men is very critically to advancing this cause. It is about good and evil and not women against men.
    I think we need to start by recruiting religious clerics and tribals leaders who will listen to voice superior aguements

  2. gracie March 22, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    The Fight for equal rights will always be there because we need to keep up from the Home Front. When children are trained to accept each other and grow together whether Male or Female, then we would have a ‘Sane And gender acceptable world’. It’s important that we put up this Fight.

    Although, I do not agree with @Faith feeling disappointed about Gender messaging that are Sexist. My question is; how wouldn’t a gender message be ‘sexist’ to the African Reasoning?

  3. Faith fabunmi March 22, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    maybe I did not make my point clear but such statement that equate parochialism to African reasoning is hindering the advancement of gender equality or any other progressive concept for that matter. We must refuse allow such stereotypes prevail.
    The point I was making is that gender messaging should avoid the female against male trap. The messaging should be about good against evil. Strategy is of the essence

  4. Enitan akinola March 22, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    ‘When women are being coaxed out to vote in large numbers, when women fuel the political machinery to get these men into office, sometimes losing their lives in the process, their religion, ethnicity and culture does not matter then. However, when it comes to allocation of positions, passing legislation that will empower them, and generally acknowledging them as full and equal partners in governance, that is when the ‘religion, culture and tradition’ card is played’…..kudos!…this answers it all for me.

  5. Abimbola adesanya March 22, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    on the religion and ethnicity aspect,the questions we need to ask ourselves are
    1) Is religion against providing equal education for men and women?
    2) Is religion against equal employement opportunbity for men and women?
    3) Is religion or ethnicity against men and women having equal human rights?
    4) Is religion for abuse and voilation of girls?
    if the answer is no then there is no excuse for the senate not passing that bill. Every well meaning man and woman must stand up to this anti-women senate.

  6. Oluwatobila. March 22, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Let me respond for a girlfriend, @Faith Talking about the ‘good’ and ‘evil’ is right and Tight but I would love to see a world where The MEN can split their ideology not against the Women but to themselves. ‘you hear annoying words like, Leave her she is woman, or are you listening to a woman talk?’

    This fight is not against the MEN but against what they have imbibed incorrectly for too long and unfortunately because they are too tightened they have decided not to take the Change and indirectly see it as A war against Them. Whatever Title is given, that’s not the take! The take is, We are Equal, the earlier they accept the better… All I see is Fears because they know we’ve got Guts that speaks Volume.

  7. Joyce Ita March 23, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    The major problem with advancing the rights of women through ensuring the gender equality bill is passed is how women find it hard to work together (might be an hasty generalization). How do you explain the relative silence on such a crucial bill before it was presented on the floor of the house. What was senator Olujimi of ekiti state not carring the ministry of women affairs, international agencies such as UN women and all NGO coalitions whose work fall within their area. They are would have ensured maximum advocacy in the buildup to it being presented on the floor. But now we are crying over spilt milk. I expect that the second representation should be followed up by adequate advocacy and mobilization as the writer of the article suggested. let the 1million woman protest at ther national assembly be accompanied by constituency protest at each of those senators constituency office.

  8. Oyeyemi Oluwatosin March 24, 2016 at 9:08 am

    I want to confess that after reading this article, I have a better understanding of what the Gender Equality Bill will do to further enhance the ability of Women who are the major nation builders world wide to do what God has planted in us to do best; Make Better! I was indifferent about th Bill up until now, and my indifference was subject to our cultural and Religious values, which I now see is not a barrier to passing the Bill to give better chances to Women to Re-modify our daily deteriorating world. What I will frown at however, is the mis-use and mis-interpretation of power, which most women are prone to. I will be glad to see more women in power still humble and very respectful and genuinely godly. I look forward to be in the midst of more powerful Virtuous Women. Thanks ma for this beautiful platform.

  9. Fola Richie-Adewusi March 24, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Indeed what was missing was the mobilization of women across Nigeria to visit the NASS. We have to make them feel our presence and use the opportunity to educate them.

  10. tutu March 24, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Let us come together, be one in ideology, voice and movements. That’s when we can fight this and truimph. This is a serious case for every human either male or female.! I’m happy to see this on this platform. Bravo!

  11. Daniels March 24, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    At the very beginning, i thought the fuss for the women made no sense. But with this Read, now i understand better and i really hope they see things differently by allowing the bill… Women are important#

  12. olateni March 24, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Looool @”if the food in the senate is cooked properly”. Don’t mind those overgrown babies claiming Men! We washed, watched and made them who they are now?

    We’ve been silent for too long, Here is time to speak up for Posterity sake!

  13. onozasi March 27, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    @ daniels, thanks for speaking your mind, i am glad that you understand the whole gist now. You know, some men don’t see the need for this, they think it’s an unnecessary distraction.

    I would advise that every man who’s still confused should read this piece and also @daniels, pls educate those around you. God bless Nigeria.


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