MOTHER Theresa of Kalkuta who healed the world through her exceptional maternal abilities opined: “I alone cannot change the world but I can cast a stone across the waters to create ripples”. This calls for reflection as the world will tomorrow mark the International Women’s Day under the theme ‘Think equal/build smart/innovate for change’.
We, the women of Nigeria are all happy to witness and partake in this celebration of International Women’s Day. The women have a lot to celebrate and thank God for as the theme of the 2019 celebration if anything to go by will set a new pedestal in women’s emancipation. This momentous occasion reminds us of our developmental stages cum strides throughout the epoch in our historical evolution.
One thing is clear, when we reflect on our journey as women in our liberation and struggles; in our concerted effort in creating a world view that accommodates women and entrench our rights and privileges in our diverse locations, professions, institutions and engagement.
This theme simply brings to mind the irrevocable power of women in our societies and our homes and our every day to day life. In the course of this writing, I will be compelled to mention a few women who touched the sensitive issues of women liberation and empowerment.
Think equal is the first part of this year’s theme. According to Joseph Conrad, “being a woman is a terribly difficult task”, since it consists principally in dealing with men. It is all about the role and position of women in real life circumstances with their male folk. I will highlight this four positions to give us a clearer picture of what is at stake; is the woman equal to man? Is the woman less equal to man? Is the woman complementary to man? Is the woman more equal to man?
These four positions are constantly at war in every point in time in history of human existence. Virtually in every part of the world in ancient times and not too long ago, women were subjected to a very degrading status. Up till date in some cultures and religions; nothing has changed much from this position.
Child making and reading and domestic chores are solely the primary assignments for women. Some cultures extended the roles and their assignments to also partaking in providing for the family upkeep by way of petty trading and farming. Cooking and serving food is a duty that must be met in attending to the welfare of the family.
A woman who is found lacking in this area is seen to be incompetent and suffers humiliations that it portends. The man oversees that all this functions are dutifully carried out by the woman/ wife which is the only reason for her being married at all.
Obviously, the man is seen as the bread winner even when he is not capable of fulfilling his own duty. He still enforces the wife to do so without any special regards. This was a position the women of today fought so hard to counterbalance.
The women were seen as a weaker sex and a less a burden that must be seen to accomplish her purpose without complain or be sanctioned one way or the other. This position affected the women adversely for it deprived them the freedom to aspire beyond this laid down obligated life. In fact, it is this position that the women over the years fought so hard and kicked so very hard to upset. Today, so many clans are fully liberated, some half way to liberation while some are yet to be scratched.
Television personality, Oprah Winfrey, once stated, ”only make decisions that support your self image, self esteem and self worth”. To this end, there are women who overtime have embossed their names in gold in our clime as they bravery upturned this precarious male chauvinistic domination; created awareness made indelible contributions one way or the other to ameliorate the plights of women and of course accord the women a voice and true representation.
These ideologies define today’s women, who traverse all the length and breadth of every human endeavour previously an exclusive area for men; a woman who amongst her role as mother still finds time to engage herself in every facet of human endeavour; career woman, academically sound, professionally on top of her career, redefining the roles she could be found in hard tuffs such as sports , politics, banking, engineering, diplomats, medical doctors, among others. By virtue of this dynamics, her role in the house switches pending on the man’s own engagements.
New modalities are adopted to keep the home functioning. No hard and fast rules are needed to define obligations. Women indeed have attained a new height and a different status which boils down to liberation and in most cases conquest of the male folk.
All that you see today is a concise effort put up by women to create an extraordinary change and make extraordinary impact to their generation. Women attain to such heights so many average men will never attain to till their exit in life.
Some women make do in carrying their husbands along, some will as a result of change in social status make nonsense of the family status which nurtured them to the height they attained. This is where the woman has to play a complementary role in the family unit for the sustenance of the honour of the family.
We have seen a situation today where the women are turning bread winners and reverse role is playing out in such families. It is a welcomed development and worth celebrating today by women all over the world.
Their ability to handle such positions without jeopardizing their marital order in homes will encourage more men to let their wives fly to highest heights. The best form of complementary role in man and woman is for the man and woman, whoever is ahead to create a very noble and accommodating position befitting his spouse for mutual love and harmony.
Aptly demonstrating this in Anambra State is our vibrant governor; Willie Obiano and his amiable spouse, Chief Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) whose unequalled complementary roles is the reason ndi Anambra State are enjoying the dividends of good governance in the state.
As a woman icon, Osodieme has through her Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ) served as a beacon of hope of Anambra women; therefore helping them to surmount the harsh economy. Bringing government to the women, Mrs Obaino has been able to sensitise the women on various programmes affecting their welfare. Little wonder she earned the Mama Anambra.
The world is blessed with great women activists who are dogged fighters in re-defining the place of a woman in the 21st century through acquiring education; starting with my mother who stood her ground to see that all her girl-children attended the university with our brothers.
I salute and wish all our mothers a happy International women’s day as their struggles for women emancipation has spread to another generation who are spreading the message to another level. Therefore let us think smart, think bold and innovate for change.
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