Everyday Sexism: Another Obstacle Blocking Development In Nigeria

The world is recognizing and promoting equality of all persons, irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation – the world with the exception of Nigeria, that is.
In Nigeria, Sexism is a “foreign” word. One of those words, the Western World is so obsessed with. To the average Nigerian, it is not a big deal. As such, we don’t see our sexist actions, thoughts, beliefs, utterances, as sexist. But, sexism does exist in Nigeria, and it is shockingly rampart and on the rise.
The worst part? We are breeding a Nation of children, who will grow up to be sexist men and women, who disregard and disparage gender equality. Because, they learnt it from us. It is our guilt. We are guilty! Of bad parenting, of advancing sexism, of excusing injustice.
We are guilty of these, whenever we we tell our boys it is “unmanly” and “girly” to cry, show weakness, express emotions, cook, sew, braid hair, house clean, or take time bathing in the bathroom.
We are guilty of these whenever we tell our girls, it is a “woman’s job” to cook, look pretty, keep house, care for her kids and husbands, or be a “good wife”.
We are guilty of these whenever we blame rape victims for dressing sexy and seducing the rapist.
We are guilty of these whenever we direct a school play or drama portraying marriage and motherhood as the sole ambitions of every girl, and as such every girl must be “domesticated”, so she will grow up to become a “good wife”.
We are guilty of these whenever we write, publish or okay stories of mummy cooking and cleaning, with the girl helping her, while daddy and the boys watch football on television, in the sitting room – stories that are part of our children’s school work.
We are guilty of everyday sexism, and of advancing sexism, because we refuse to accept and promote gender equality.
We might think it is okay to excuse sexism, after all it is in our culture. Our forefathers practiced it. But, these sexist actions and utterances of ours are detrimental to our well-being and future. These sexist actions and utterances of ours only succeed in breeding a bunch of openly sexist, selfish, ungrateful and lazy husbands, who cannot cook, do their dishes or wash their clothes, unless a woman or girl does it for them. Men who think it is okay to call their partners “ife m” – “my thing”. Men who rape and sexually harass women because our society (ie we) disregards the rights of women and girls.
It is sad. It is shameful. It is unacceptable.
Times have changed, and Nigerians must change with it, or we risk living like the Neanderthal. American actor, John Hamm, summed it up when he recalled, “Men ruled the roost and women played a subservient role
(in the 1960’s). Working wives were a rarity, because their place was in the home, bringing up the kids. The women who did work were treated as second class citizens, because it was a male dominated society. That was a fact of life, then. But, it wouldn’t be tolerated today, and that’s quite right in my book… People look back on those days through a thick veil of nostalgia, but life was hard if you were anything other than a rich, powerful, white male”.
So, I urge us all to forsake Sexism and promote Gender equality (ie Feminism), which is a necessary factor for our social and economic development. In the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award winning Nigerian author, “we should all be feminists”.
We should all be feminists because feminism means equality for all, irrespective of gender.
We should all be feminists because feminism is the belief that all men and women should have equal access to human rights, justice, and welfare.
We should all be feminists because feminism is a global movement for social good and development.


About Egoyibo Okoro

Beautiful. Friendly. Opinionated. Feminist. Scholarly. Political. Christian. Sometimes, I write in Engli-Igbo and/or pidgin English. Just so you know, I am naturally disgruntled about a lot of things, most especially gender inequality, human rights abuses, racism and corruption. #EndChildMarriage. #EndTerrorism. #EndPoverty. #EndRacism. #EndImperialism. The Igbo say, "egbe bere, ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebena nku kwa ya" - Live and let live!
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