A few days ago, I was chatting with a dear friend and referred her to my website to have a look-see. Few minutes later she was back on the chat, bristling with excitement, and then she used the dreaded word.
“I sense feminist undertones,” she said, regarding the website. “I am one (a feminist) at heart so I always know when I meet a soul sister.”
Feminist. Soul Sister. She could not have painted ‘the’ picture any better. What came to my head was the image of a woman with long dreadlocks wrapped with a white scarf, wearing a white gown, drinking Beer with other ‘soul sisters’. It was an image I was not comfortable with.
Last few weeks, I posted a link on my Facebook wall of Chimamanda’s speech ‘We should all be Feminists’. The speech, eloquent and insightful, had thrilled me with its factual content more than the title had, so when I shared it expecting responses on the content of the speech, I was quite surprised when a friend of mine, a guy, posted this on my wall:
“What is the big deal about the speech? You guys don't realise that these days, men don't care who's important, but who gets what's to be done, done. You guys need to move on, there's more to life than equality between genders”.
So I sat and thought: Does the fight for gender equality really matter?
Let me break these facts down and then you be the judge:
1. If a man and a woman with the same qualification interview for a job, there is a 70% probability that the man would be hired over his female counterpart.
2. In the same scenario as above, there is a 90% possibility that the man would be paid higher than the woman in an organisation without established benefits for different levels of staff
3. More often than not, a woman would spend at least five years of her life raising children (if she has children) and she would be more than often pressured to settle for a job that would stunt her career growth or she would have to give up working altogether.
4. More often than not, society agrees that a wife should not earn more than her husband if she does not want to be seen as ‘controlling’.
5. Many single women have had to give up better jobs or packages or hide their worldly possessions so they can seem more attractive to men
6. When a woman is young and pretty, she will most likely considered for a job as a Marketer without rigorous interview, almost automatically.
7. If a woman is intelligent and outspoken, she may not be a ‘good’ wife.
8. If a man helps out with the house chores, more often than not, it will be said that the woman has used her feminine wiles to charm him.
9. Many young ladies use their sexuality to get want they want – most times, what they want is a man to take care of their needs. They are never taught to reach for more other than their immediate needs, which, they are told, can be satisfied by men.
10. The writhing bodies of endowed women are best served in music videos. You never see a naked man, only women. I wonder why that is.
11. If you advocate for women to be more financially independent at every stage of life, most people who have not met you would assume you are a single older woman, bitter about life and trying to drag everyone along to your level of bitterness.
12. If you’re a woman and you tell someone you want to be a CEO of a conglomerate someday, most likely you are joking or fanciful or just had one too many drinks.
13. If a couple splits, almost everyone would assume it’s the fault of the woman.
So, after going through all these, if you think they are true, ask yourself why gender equality is a big issue in many African societies today, and if it’s worth the fight.
I rest my case.