‘Work it Out’- with Vivian: “I am NOT Generation Equality”

I am generation equality: realizing women’s rights – This was the theme of the International Women’s Day (IWD), 8 March 2020.

What are these rights?

The United Nations women explain, “The emerging global consensus is that despite some progress, real change has been agonizingly slow for the majority of women and girls in the world. Today, not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality. Multiple obstacles remain unchanged in law and in culture. Women and girls continue to be undervalued; they work more and earn less and have fewer choices; and experience multiple forms of violence at home and in public spaces. Furthermore, there is a significant threat of rollback of hard-won feminist gains. The year 2020 represents an unmissable opportunity to mobilize global action to achieve gender equality and human rights of all women and girls”.

My thoughts

On 4 March 2020, when I looked up the theme for the IWD 2020, I began asking myself, “What are the rights of women”? “What is gender equality”? A lot of thoughts flashed through my head as I tried to figure it all out. I kept wondering what gender equality would mean, look and feel like. 

For some minutes, I pictured myself driving trucks, changing tires, managing my sons, having someone tell me with a total sense of abandonment and abdication that, “we need money (for everything)”, doing driver work for the family most of the time, fixing the generator, washing cars, carrying heavy loads, maintaining the house, dealing or having to negotiate with male chauvinists, going to war, carrying or manning heaving machineries etc. I heaved and shook my head.

I mean, I love my man to take care of me! (I did not have to spell that out, did I? lol). I would love to claim feminine fragility when it comes to many of life’s tough challenges and would willingly let the men take the lead to the front lines. As long as I am sharing in the spoils of war with the men who return from the front lines, I am very fine. 

In this regard, please, I am not generation equality o! Men are stronger and higher than me. ‘I cannot come and go and kill myself’.

Further thoughts

I recall when I was caught up with the dilemma of choosing whether to continue with artificial contraceptives or stop and go back to the natural family planning method – the method I applied and yet had 4 children while at it! I had to have a one-on-one with a deeply learned, spiritual and orthodox priest. 

His belief is that the western world has continued to control the narratives, portraying false pictures of perfection and happiness with things that ordinarily go against the law of nature. He cited cases of women who have suffered from cervical cancer and other untold psychological/ emotional/ health related hardships, all from the use of artificial contraceptives. He encouraged me to follow God in the natural phenomena, as things always turn out better. As he admonished, I remembered the perfect mix of gender and child spacing God has blessed me with, without my knowledge or planning, during the years I adopted the natural family planning method. I placed this in contrast with all the troubles I had had in all the 6 years I switched artificial contraceptives after my last son. I knew then he was telling me the truth in its purest form.

As he continued talking, he moved to the topic of feminism and how it has ruined so many relationships. He lamented the false narratives about feminism that create distorted thoughts and unrest in the minds of women and even men, and consequently unrest in relationships and in family life all over the world. 

He narrated the story of a particular woman he watched as she was being interviewed on TV. The woman spoke so convincingly about men trampling the rights of women, particularly in marriage, and how women should rise up and insist on gender equality. As he continued listening to the ending part of the interview, the interviewer asked the woman about her own spouse and how her beliefs have worked out for her in marriage, she responded, “My partner is doing great. ‘She’ is very happy with me”.

Concluding thoughts

I would never stand to see injustice done to any man or woman within my circle of influence. I would fight till I am all bruised and sore (those who know me personally can attest to this). It becomes really worse when I see that someone is using a position of power and influence (this someone in power mostly turns out to be a man, because of the patriarchal way in which society has hitherto shaped the roles of men and women) to make life difficult and frustrating or force submissiveness from a weaker person (or gender) who depends on his authority to have a better and happier life.

But I would like to align with Wema Bank in its IWD 2020 message to say – “We are the mothers raising patriarchal sons, the bosses who make it difficult for female subordinates, and the friend who won’t speak up when the male friends do wrong”. 

Considering also all the wrongs and injustice being meted out by us humans to fellow humans – by both men and women alike, I believe that when all men and women see nothing else but the Spirit of God in themselves and in one another, Equality is achieved. 

Equality can never be defined by the economic or social roles taken up by our men and women; because men and women are built differently by the all-knowing God, to perform best the roles that nature has bestowed on them.

Equality, for me, is rather the genuine love of God as reflective in our actions towards one another.

Women & Work, work life

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