I am not a woman, but consciously or unconsciously, I have found myself in sympathy with the lot of women and always agitating for them over a number of issues. Playing the role of a woman protagonist is borne out of the sympathy I have for them as a grossly marginalized group who are not even conscious of their plight. Even where and when they are conscious it plays only on their lips in form of verbal protest as they are also helpless in realising their dreams and aspirations through any meaningful action. It is already sunk and fixated in their consciousness that they are already an endangered species who cannot be helped beyond the point that the society has placed them.
Yes, the society has not helped the women even when they are critical members of the same society without which many things cannot function well. The culture and religions of the society they belong by virtue of some of their views on women may have unconsciously lowered their values and importance in the estimation of other members of the society. The perception is that women are fragile, sensitive, weak, and negative, limited, evil etc and so confinable to certain activities. In reality they have been restrained from or are restricted to some roles that they can comfortably play. Before the world never heard of a woman president and even now they can be counted on the fingers.
Some of these views the women have proved time and again that they are wrongly conceived even though they themselves have bought it by not challenging the wrong opinions held of them. My observation is that in the weaknesses men see in women there lay their strength. My observations also reveal that beliefs which subdue and limit women are transmitted from generation to generation by the women themselves. Do we still remember how mothers get so protective and caution their girls not to compete with men in certain things? They will quickly remind you ‘don’t you know that he is a man even as they narrate more of all the do’s don’ts for a woman.’’
The limitation of women is further espoused through the limited exposure to some activities even right from cradle at the home base even before they step out to confront the larger world. In doing domestic chores some parents sharing activities will restrict women from such things as washing vehicles, etc and the consciousness become gradually ingrained in them that they are weaker sex and who should not be allowed to think even for themselves. Religion and culture remain the worst of tools used in doing this damage.
The biblical injunction that a woman should be subject to the man is so engrossed in their consciousness that even the talents embedded in them are not exploited because they have been sold to the questionable reality that they cannot do better than men. Consequently, majority of them even shy away from trying. Until recently women are breaking away from the shackles of some of these long held beliefs that have held them down. We are now seeing women doing more of the men’s jobs contrary to what happened in the past. Women now drive commercial vehicles; do masonry jobs, mechanic jobs,
According to biblical account, after woman came from man no other man has come to earth except through woman including the saviour of man, Jesus the Christ. Woman nurses the child as mother to grow the tot to become the man or the woman. The little child of today grown by a woman becomes the president or some other important personality who begins to exert influence on the mother. In spite of this, how well have the leaders who were once kids accommodated their mothers, sisters, wives in their policies with a view to making life better for them?
In his book, Human Development: Insight and Critical Issues, Austin Anizor had this to say about womanhood. ‘If womanhood develops aright, she will be automatically placed in her natural leadership position of all mankind without being in politics, business or even having a career. It is the misplaced human values that have affected womanhood to such a devastating degree. The delicate nature of woman should not be misconstrued as weakness. The most important part of the human body is not the limbs that appear strong. Without his limbs man can live. But the delicate part like the heart is hidden and never visible. Yet without the heart man cannot live.’’
Austin went further to assert that history is replete with the stories of women bringing down great men such as the first man on earth, Adam, Sampson the great and Solomon the Wise man. ‘This is not a testimony of how bad women are but how powerful and influential they are naturally over men. And yet in the delusion of modern man he calls women the weaker sex. And the woman like a queen who prefers the toys of children to her queenly crown begs for a say in government, politics, business, career, etc when she could rule the whole world with her womanly virtues and dignity alone’’.
The importance of mothers in the society is exemplified in the great influence they wield over their children and their husbands signifying that they have the world in their hand and can change it in the direction of their desires. What is of major concern is the direction in which they exercise this influence. We have had situations where many men in power and authority have been despised as giving only listening ear to the wishes of their wives or what is referred to in local parlance as woman wrapper. So many of the so called men of God have been brought to their knees and shamed. Does that not show the man as the weaker sex no matter how the men folks try to defend it?
Today in many places women are symbolized as evil and treated as ‘tools’ to be used and dumped. All manner of wrong doings are traced to women even when they have all the powers to remain on top. In spite of the critical role they play in development yet they are side-lined in matters affecting them. In Nigeria for instance they populate dominantly the voting strength in elections but are hardly given positions of authority. Some women, a few I can remember historically and in modern times have been able to hold their grounds not only in governance but also in other endeavours.
We can still remember Queen Amina, Ransom Kuti, and others of blessed memory and recently Dora Akunyili, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Ezekwesili (Madam Due Process) etc. The unique powers women possess can be exemplified in many things. If only a woman’s pant can be used to generate money as demonstrated by the so called yahoo plus boys, you can imagine the amount of energy they possess. If only they know who they are and what they can do no man dare try to vilify them. But ‘In my own thinking,’ women still remain their own problem.