I intrinsically hate to see anyone oppressed, loathed or frequently subjected to all forms of hatred. One of the ways to get me like someone is when everyone else seems to hate him or her.
Growing up, I saw parents tell their daughters “sit well, sit like a woman!”, “behave yourself, don’t you know that you will soon enter a man’s house?”, “don’t talk to him like that, do you know whether he is the one that would want to marry you?”, “learn how to cook so that you can serve your husband well…” I heard this and many more.
For me, it sounded more like oppression than it sounded like a bit of advice. I have always believed that what is good for the goose is good for the gander, even before I knew the word used in illustrating it.
No one is telling the boy how to sit, how to behave so that his future wife can find him attractive, how to cook so that he can be able to serve his children at least. The boy goes out there to fight and it is okay but when the girl warns a boy off, she is told “don’t talk to him like that, don’t you know he is a man?”
It goes beyond the family, the way many women were raised have already put them in an underprivileged position when it comes to vying with men. So, a woman earns less than a man doing the same job, a man is considered first for a certain position even before the woman is considered.
Many tenets that subject people and make them feel inadequate started from what seemed to be harmless home rules. For example, your kids are watching TV and you come into their room, shout at the girls “why are you here? Don’t you know that you have to be in the kitchen? Is this how you will serve your husbands at home?” and then you leave the boys alone. You are already creating a horrendous precedent that brings disbalance. The boys will feel incomparable because they are “future husbands” while the girls will feel shoddy because the pertinence of their existence seems to be tied to a man.
Then, these children grow up and begin to make career choices not based on their abilities but based on what their abilities have been subjected to. I know these things are changing, I know many families have progressed from this primitive mindset but there are still millions of homes creating the wrong prototypes.
If you’ve known me for some years, you will agree that when it comes to some social affairs, I have been a very vocal feminist. I have been called many things by many people including “a simp!” Why? Because people couldn’t come to terms with the fact that a young African man is tenacious in his convictions that men and women are equal in society and that men aren’t superior to women.
I remember standing at that cybercafe along Limca Road, Obosi where one of the staff told the other,
“I am just passing time here; my desire is to get married to a rich man and rest!”
I nearly reacted, but I had to restrain myself. It was ludicrous that a woman would subject her rest to a man, think there is no need to work hard, develop herself and think that the substance of her existence is just marriage!
That same day, I was in Keke when certain men started discussing their wives and women. They said all manner of things about women including how a small boy is more important than women. It was too much for me in one day! I needed to see women with self-esteem, I needed to let women understand how powerful they are and how their career cannot be limited to teaching, baking, cooking, selling wigs and so on. I wanted to see women who are website developers, graphics designers, digital marketers and so on. I wanted to see women who can boldly say that they are relevant in the scheme of things.
Only such women can stand up in the crowd of men and say “I am a woman and I am powerful!” Not women who do like men or women who want to do what men do but women who understands who they are and how they can live a super-fulfilled life without trying to be like someone else.
This was what gave birth to Queens Hangout, a now indefinitely paused program where I hosted women who can inspire other women. Our resource persons included a successful entrepreneur in the United States who doubled as a believer in Christ Jesus. I paused the program and other programs like it because I ran out of monetary resources to maintain it. I hope to come back to it later in the future.
Yes, Queens Hangout was a powerful platform to effect the changes and the narratives that I desired but as I wait for the right time to relaunch this powerful event, something inside me was telling me “While you wait, you still need to do something!”
As a result of the same passion, the #Women4Tech Program was born. It is a program where we empower 100 women yearly with digital skills and also select a few who can work with us as interns. I have given away more than 3,000,000 Naira worth of classes out in 2022 at no cost and no hidden charges to the participants.
Why am I writing this? Oftentimes, people think that we say the things we say on social media to chase clout, one even said I claim to be a feminist so that I can have easy access to women’s pants… Whatever that means!
No, I invest in the things I stand for, I am unapologetic about it and I make efforts to make what I stand for become a reality. If I believe a woman can be the President of the country, then I should be voting for an eligible woman. I can’t be championing a cause and sabotaging against it with my inactions. That is what many people do, they come on social media to chase clout using the available talking points
If I think women should be more involved in tech and I have some little abilities to make it happen the little way that I can, nothing should stop me. I took a stand, I must walk my stand.
To be continued.