Temitope Shittu-Alamu: Gender discrimination begins at the cradle

by Temitope Shittu-Alamu

If there should be any divide between male and female at all, it shouldn’t even start in the family unit.

In the cause of the week I was thinking about my secondary school and all its memories. It didn’t help also that secondary school memories was trending on twitter. But aside all the memories, my mind as always, drifted to a salient issue.

In my school, boys who took courses like Food and Nutrition instead of Fine Art or Agriculture were looked at in a funny way. So obviously fewer or no boys were found in the Nutrition Room. Some Parents would not even have it. A certain mom came to school once and said in all her “glory”, “My son doesn’t even cook at home, so why would he cook in school?” This was despite the fact that the boy had failed Agriculture woefully through out junior school.

Now I understand that to have a son is a big deal in Africa. But so is a daughter. Let’s not get it wrong. I am not a women’s right or girl child activist. I am just one for HUMAN rights. Really if everybody got their bit of rights we’ll be good, and we won’t need to be empowering women all over the world. But if parents raise a family making the girl feel second class already in her own home, then she would definitely grow up needing all forms of empowerment from people who would obviously just exploit her.

The way kids are brought up, especially in our side of Africa is very funny to me. I’ll give you a very ridiculous example. A family of 2 boys and 2 girls. At play time, the boys can go out and roll tyres with the neighbour’s kids and be home at 5:50 for dinner. Now only the girls would help mom set the table and pack the dishes afterwards. The boys would be allowed to take a shower before dinner and after dinner watch Super Story, while the ladies did the dishes. Sounds familiar?

So I am wondering how a girl would not grow up feeling like a servant already in her own house. I mean, I had no play time, so why do the boys get to be able to watch TV and I am stuck in the kitchen? The signals being sent are clearly wrong. This is definitely not an issue of raising a girl to be able to take care of her home in future because I bet you all this girl would do in future is cook and clean the house. She would NOT raise a home in the true sense of the it.

How would the boy not grow up to be a constant newspaper reader while mummy is struggling to get dinner ready. If there should be any divide between male and female at all, it shouldn’t even start in the family unit.

If you are making laws for the kids to abide by, there should be no segregation. If the rule is that bed time is 9pm, boys should not have to stay till 10 just because they are boys and wrestling starts at 10.

If the rule is that everyone cleans up after eating, then boys shouldn’t run off to play games.

Again I am not a family counsellor, but I know that if we get it right in the family, we would get it right beyond there. If we make our sons feel larger than life and pump them with stupid thoughts that the kitchen is not their place, or that its okay to watch TV while your sisters set the table for you, wait 20 more years and you would have a raised a rude, proud woman beater.

I remember how my mom used to say to my brother: if you beat your sisters because you are muscular than they are, you would beat your wife.

We are struggling to empower women in the rural communities are Nigeria, we are now giving them 50 thousands naira to start petty businesses. But is that all there really is to their lives?

I am of the opinion that if women have that ultimate space they seek within the family, hardly would they be competing with men in the global space. Most women who are in politics now or in businesses that were previously acclaimed to men are mostly there to prove a point.

This is not to say that women should not be in renowned positions of authority. But if we get it right from the scratch they won’t be aspiring to compete with men. That would just be living out the path instinctively laid out for them.

Men are not superior to women, neither are women.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Comments (5)

  1. Nice one, my friend. Good job!!!!

  2. Tope you are always on point! If only our parents read a piece like this….thank you for the eye opening piece. We will all be better for it

  3. She did it again! No argument here! There really won't be any point to prove neither would it be a big deal when we have women in equal positions as men if everyone was treated as having one head on their neck.. Ore mi a hug from me to u.. ox

  4. thanks bro.we are all hypocrites somehow.

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail