No, I Will Not Serve Coffee

Guest Writer for africanfeminisim.com
No, I will Not Serve Coffee (by Adebisi Adewusi) – http://wp.me/p1gDVZ-kZ

Have you ever been given a “office Housework” at your job? What was your response?

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The Mis-education of The Nigerian Male Mind

No,  I am not writing a post about how Nigerian men want to consistently relegate women to the background. Neither am I going to rant about how patriarchal society is, although I’ll mention it. Rather I am writing about the mis-education of the Nigerian male mind.

The average Nigerian man sees women as what they have always know them to be care givers, mothers and all that jazz. Do i blame them? No. I blame culture and society for laying the foundation of what has evolved into the labeling and tagging of women with words that depict us as nothing without men.Our heavily patriarchal society refuses to acknowledge that women are more than the stereotyped roles they are born into.

I blame parents for sticking to culture and tradition. Thereby, putting a ceiling on what girls can do or can not do. For it is at home we first hear statements like “Leave tree climbing for boys!  Stop whistling it is not lady-like! Men who grew up in settings like this already have a preconditioned mind towards what young girls and women can or can not do!

Imagine what happens when this Nigerian male mind meets a non-conformist woman. Another round of tagging and labelling begins. I climbed trees, grandma whistled and we turned out okay!! Therefore, it is essential parents let girls be what they want to be. Do not look shocked if they do not like dolls but rather want to go get their hands dirty in the yard.

Dear Nigerian male mind, yes you grew up with a preconceived notion about girls and women, its time to grow out of it. Open up your mind and embrace women and young girls for their individuality and not the non sense of conformity.

What actions or activities have you carried out that was termed unladylike like?

Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions Prohibition Bill, 2016.

If you schooled in Nigeria you must have known or heard about one young lady or the other who has been sexually harassed in school. I was quite lucky as I had a fairly scary surname and I did not entertain any situation that would let any lecturer talk trash to me.

So, what happens when a young girl who simply came to get an education is being preyed upon by her teacher?

God help that young lady if she dares report to the school authorities.  If she resists the lecture’s advances, she’ll most likely retake the course and have an extra year if she is not careful. On the other hand, she may be left off the hook if she has a school father among the lecturers in the university that can help her “talk” to the lecturer.  The talk being the “she is my sister talk”.

Some girls give in to their advances and risk being passed along to other lecturers in the process.

The Sexual Harassment In Tertiary Educational Institutions Prohibition Bill, 2016, makes it mandatory for any vice chancellor, provost and rector of a university, polytechnic and college of education to promptly act on the report of any sexual harassment by a female student, failing which he said such authority would be jailed for two years.

The bill also provides a compulsory five-year jail term for lecturers who sexually harass students. When passed into law, vice chancellors of universities, rectors of polytechnics and other chief executives of institutions of higher learning will go to jail for two years if they fail to act within a week on complaints of sexual harassment made by students.

Furthermore, the bill expressly allows sexually harassed students, their parents, or guardians to seek civil remedies in damages against sexual predator lecturers before or after their successful criminal prosecution by the state. The bill also seeks protection from sexual harassment for prospective students seeking admissions into higher educational institutions, students of generally low mental capacity and physically challenged students.

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters. The committee has been asked to conduct a public hearing and report findings within four weeks.

This truly is a welcome development, as young women are on the road to being able to seat in class and no longer hide their faces behind books when receiving lectures for fear of that “womanizer” lecturer seeing them.

P.S Sophie said to say if you are in an office with a lecturer or anyone in school, put on your phone  recorder so you can have proof if anything happens.

Ever been sexually harassed in school? How was it resolved?

 

An Interview with Francesca Adeola Abiola, a Youth Champion for Women and Girls

Always happy to see young Nigerian women making a difference!!!! Francesca Adeola Abiola is truly an inspiration.

Rise Up is pleased to launch our Impact Blog Series for the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. This series highlights the work of two Champions for Change (C4C) leaders in Nigeria and…

Source: An Interview with Francesca Adeola Abiola, a Youth Champion for Women and Girls

Towards Increasing Women In Nigeria’s Parliament

Globally, there has been an upward trend in the number of women in the decision making process. The number of women in  parliament has nearly doubled between 1995 and 2015, from 11.3 % in 1995 to 22.1 % in 2015  (ipu). While the inclusion of women in the decision making process has not reached the 30%  platform target as prescribed at the Fourth World Conference for Women in 1995, it is has been quite  remarkable.

Africa  has achieved some of the most dramatic breakthroughs seen over the last 20 years, Rwanda, with 63.8 %; Seychelles, with 43.8 %; Senegal, with 42.7 %; and South Africa, with 41.5 % (ipu).

In Nigeria, women account for only about 5.6% of seats in the House of Representatives and 6.5% in the Senate. Furthermore, Nigeria ranks 175 out of 185 countries in the classification of women in parliament. One wonders why Nigeria, where women make up half of the country’s population, is lagging behind.

While many have argued  the patriarchal nature of our society, finance, political parties, among other are the reasons why women inclusion in the decision making process is low, it is important to note Nigerian women hardly support themselves. This begs the question how can more women be included in the political process?

Dahlerup & Freidenvall (2003), argue quotas play a very important role in making women part of the decision making process.This i agree with,however, other measures should be put in place to ensure women are included in the decision making process.

Why do we need women in politics?

  • Women are highly committed to promoting national and local policies that address the socio-economic and political challenges facing women, children and disadvantaged groups.
  • Women are particularly effective in promoting honest governance. Countries where women are supported as leaders and at the ballot box have a correspondingly low level of corruption.
  • Women are strongly committed to peace building, as they often disproportionately suffer the consequences of armed conflict. Reconstruction and reconciliation efforts take root more quickly and are more sustainable when women are involved. By helping women become participating members of a democracy, one can look to mitigate conflicts or stop conflicts before they begin.
  • Women are strongly linked to positive developments in education, infrastructure and health standards at the local level. Where rates of gender development and empowerment are higher, human rates of development and standards of living are also higher (ndi.org).

Personally my argument for female inclusion in politics is simple. Only women know how women feel. How can a man begin to understand issues such as maternal health when he has never experienced these things?

Quotas have been successful in South Africa, Rwanda and Uganda. Why not Nigeria? As rightly stated by Hillary Clinton,woman rights are human rights. Thus, I believe the inclusion of more women in the political process  will no doubt promote around socio-economic development in Nigeria.The “type of women” is a discussion for another post.

What do you feel about women holding elected positions? Is Nigeria ready for more political women leaders? Will the adoption of quotas increase women participation in Nigerian politics?

Reference

Dahlerup, D & Freidenvall.L,  (2003).  Quotas as a “Fast Track” to Equal Political Representation for Women Why Scandinavia is no longer the model. Paper presented at the IPSA World Congress, Durban, South Africa, June 29 to July 4, 2003 and in the present updated version at the APSA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, August 28 to 31, 2003.

ipu.org

ndi.org

quotaproject.org

Lean In

I bumped into Sherly Sandberg late last year. Who is she? Sheryl Kara Sandberg is an American technology executive, activist, and author. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Impressive right? That’s what I thought too.

Bae  introduced her to me and I downloaded her book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead  which has been totally empowering and awesome.Here I am continents away and I could relate to some things she said!! What I learnt from her?

  1. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
  2. Negotiate that salary.
  3. Have a partner that understands your vision, mission, creed whatever you’re about (Hallelujah to that one).

From where I stand, leaning in in Nigeria is not in any way easy o. From the private sector to the public sector, Nigerian babes that are confident are seen as proud and obnoxious. What’s a girl to do?  Although Anne Marie Slaughter international lawyer, academic,foreign policy analyst, political scientist and  Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department from January 2009 until February 2011 under U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (the list is quite long) argues that women cant have it all, I think we can at least try. When walls come up against us let us look for a way out.

I recommend this book to girls and women who  dream of making something of themselves.  Happy reading and do learn something.  What do you think about women taking up leadership positions?

Women Deliver 2016 #WDLive #WD2016

Yeah!!!! Nothing excites me more than seeing people from around the world gather to discuss issues affecting women and young girls. The 4th Women Deliver Global Conference which holds from the 16th-19th May 2016, is the world’s largest global conference on the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women.

The focus of the 2016 conference will be on how to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so they matter most for girls and women, with a specific focus on health – in particular maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights – and on gender equality, education, environment, and economic empowerment.

For those of us, like me who are unable to be in Copenhagen, Denmark where the event is being held, you can watch it online http://wd2016.org/media-resources/virtual-conference/  or visit http://wd2016.org/ and click on virtual content. Join the conversation on twitter @WomenDeliver.

How do conferences such as Women Deliver 2016 help young women?What do you think about the conference? Drop a comment, lets discuss.