Stereotyped social and cultural roles affects the full potential of any human being, whether in public or private, in family or labour market, in economic or political life. Therefore, when it least favours a woman, she becomes more disadvantaged and taken advantaged of by men. For example, as a head of a household, she is more vulnerable to poverty because she has limited access to the labour market.
Hence, gender inequality campaign is not a movement against men. Rather, it is a cry for equal access to education, salaries, representation in government and economic independence, and a scream against illiteracy, violence against women, sexual assault, female genital mutilation, maternal mortality, child marriage and trafficking. Gender inequality awareness does try to reduce the widening gap between men and women in legal, cultural and social situations.
It is said that “women and men are expected to enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of a society”. However, this is not so and still is a fairytale for many of the women today. Women have troubles finding a job and when they do, same position as a male colleague, but lower pay, or higher qualification, but a lower-level position. Why is this so?. Why should gender determine the different rights of a group of people in a society?.
I once read and was convinced that the root cause of “gender gap” is the role and place society assigns to women. So who then is the society?, you and I are the general public. Therefore, it is not an issue of social classes, but of culture and tradition. We interpreted every book, twisted every logic, calculated every math, cancelled collective facts and shrunk traditions to favour men, in order to widen the gap between genders. But here we are again trying to rewrite and refurbish a structure which was carved by our forefathers and this movement against gender inequality will not end until women are given the same respect and opportunities as men.
“When man misused the crown which was given to him many decades ago, it is only right and fair to crown or share his throne with the woman who have fought tirelessly from oppression and taken up men’s responsibilities.”
Gender inequality characterises most societies, with men on average better positioned in social, economic and political hierarchies. However, it is with prevailing evidence that I say that the constitution of Nigeria promotes gender disparity. Women in Nigeria have socio-cultural ascribed roles that deepen their exclusion from the society, roles which are being restricted to motherhood or wives. Even in the language of political discourse, their voices are yet to be extended. Patriarchy and limiting conditions for women are mainly responsible for the unequal representation in the countries politics.
Seeing that Nigeria has one of the lowest rate of women entrepreneurs and amongst other lower indicators that pertains to being female, gender inequality is undoubtedly one of the major reasons of an ailing economy such as Nigeria. Women share of membership, managerial and leadership positions in businesses, cooperatives, governing bodies are useful indicators in a growing economy. Therefore, it is time for the marginalised groups of the society to have equal representation.
I am calling on an affirmative action which provides an institutional and legal framework for women of the society to have equal representation. Hence, an end to inferior positions, systematic gender differences in material well-being and unequal access to or enjoyment of rights.