The topic, ‘Gender Equality And The Funk of Feminism,’ moderated by Joy Isi Bewaji drew the attention different group of people at the event.
The discussants, Esosa Omouso, Eni Oyekunle, Ijeoma Richard and Bibi Bakari dealt on barriers that limit women from actualizing their dreams and marriage.
Omouso noted that the old generation had things done in their own way and that some of the things done then are no longer relevant. He stated that the solution lies in re-orientating the child, especially the girl child to know that if she is not married, it does not mean she cannot be successful in life. While the boy has to be thought that a woman is not less a human because she is a woman.
Oyekunle argued that one’s choice is the most important thing not culture, religion or any of the institutions that do not support feminism.
Ijeoma noted that she came from a background where a woman as expected to marry to be reckoned with. Bakari called for everyone to revisit institutions that set limits on the woman, with the aim of changing some of the practices. She indicted culture, religion and even the media for promoting unwholesome practices against women, adding that women contribute greatly, in all aspect of production, to the growth and development of the world.
She called on women across the globe to stop using the catch phrase ‘Mrs.’ to taunt others that are not married. “We must find ways of addressing ourselves. If we begin to understand the institution as not just domestic, but also economic, since most women these days are also bread winners or contributing reasonably to the home, we will stop making it look as if marriage is the biggest achievement for women.”
Evans, a participant, supporting Omouso on re-orientation of the younger generation argued that most of the teachers handling our children at the formative ages have no business interfacing with them, saying right there in the classroom, they tell the girl child ‘don’t you know you are a girl’? And always allowing the boy child to have his way. He, therefore, questioned, ‘how this wrong can be corrected?
RESPONDING to the question, Bakare said returning to the culture industry through art music would flush out such teachers that are not ready to change. She disclosed that as a publisher, she deliberately makes sure she is involved in the editorial of any work she is publishing, so that, she could make changes where women could be seen in a different light.
Oyekunle added that women must push for bills and policies on feminism in the House of Representatives and the Senate.Talking about why the girl child is constantly sexually harassed, Omouso, said, this happens when the girl child choses to go about naked. He urged parents to call assumed private parts by their names, such as the vagina and penis so that the girl will be aware of them just as parts of the body and not anything mythical.
Ijeoma noted that parents need to teach their girl child to shut people up when they speak to them inappropriately, adding that most parents are busy teaching their girl children how to cook for men, instead of teaching them how to take care of themselves and the things that could make them attain great heights.
Bibi, however, said, calling genitals, private parts is a metaphor that had to do with the older generation and that this has in a way affected us negatively, adding that women must learn self-defence.
She said, it was as a result of not been able to defend oneself that some female students are taken advantage of by their lectures. “In the West, there is a legislation that deals with a lecturer who molests his/her student, but here, even if there is such it is never enforced, so female harassment goes on like a normal thing.”
Concluding on why feminism is confronted with so much hate, Eni said, feminism is being fought because people don’t understand what it’s all about.
Ijeoma said, most people think when you talk of feminism, you are talking of women who are rebellious and cannot be controlled; women who don’t want to cook or do anything. She then defined a feminist, as a human being who has a sense of balance. Citing example she said, “there is no harm in a couple who both have 9-5 jobs and the first person who gets home prepares dinner, instead of waiting for the woman who might come in much later to begin to prepare dinner, when you all have been out since morning working.”
Bibi concluded that though the feminism is a good cause, it must not be allowed to gain its full powers because it will be costly to the society.