My aspiration is to be one of the builders of a world of equality, a world where diversity is respected and value for people's lives is paramount. A world where religion and culture are not used as weapons of dispute and destruction, where leaders serve and not steal, where everyone does not pretend to love each other but does so straight from the heart.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Yes, it's Natural
My head has refused to function to its full capacity. I am supposed to be working on all the details of my organisation’s forthcoming Technology Camp for Secondary School girls but I think I need a break for a few minutes to get my head back in the right track.
Yeah, I was away from Lagos to Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife yesterday to attend the 1st Ladies Technology Summit organised by Nigerian High-Tech Women (NHTW). It’s all about empowering university female students through ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for Development).
My boss was asked to present a paper titled –“MDGs and ICTs: What’s got to do with Women”. Of course as usually done, she did justice to the paper by linking all the goals with what women can do to empower themselves and contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Goal 3 out of the 8 goals is “Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering Women”. She talked about this goal like she did evry other goals. Wonderful, powerful paper; I made my contributions too and all the ladies at the summit got something to take home with them.
Here comes the Compere, he sure knows how to speak English and he attempted to use this in swaying the conversation. He pointed out (I wonder why he had to do this anyway since the discussion had not generated any argument or clarification) that “Equality is not Natural” that women should not bother themselves about equality but empowerment. And that they should learn not to fight or compete with the men blah blah. He said further that Womanism is preferred to Feminism as pointed out by his lecturer whom I know, whom I have read her book since I graduated from the same university. Who as I recalled did not say anything negative about feminism.
He referred to a book called “Women at point Zero” (I have not read this book, I will admit). That the woman in the story fought a lost battle or something and destroyed herself via what she was fighting for!!!
I thought it was necessary to put things in a better perspective since we were to form groups and see how those goals can be achieved. I knew that with what he has said, a lot of women might not want to join group 3 for goal 3. I briefly pointed out the fact that “Equality is natural” I refer to an International Preacher whose book I once came across (forgot his name now). Where he mentioned that God created us equally as he mentioned in Genesis that “I created them Male and Female and gave the dominion over the earth” (rephrased). That saying equality is not natural is like admitting that Mandela and the rest of the black race should have folded their arms and said “yes, we are not equal to the white hence the right to enslave us!!!” And that feminism principle is upholding equal opportunities between men and women amongst other issues. Fine, some people could have taken it to the extreme. I said I did not support fighting the men either but those that have fought the men for one reason or the other must have done so based on their past experiences. I mentioned too that empowerment will in the long run bring about equality. I concluded by saying “Equality is Natural”.
The gentleman collected my contact details for further discussion. He is more than welcome!!! I was happy to have spoken up though because a lot of women eventually joined “goal 3 group” and when I listened to their personal experiences on how some of them have being discriminated against career-wise and how a particular lady says her husband has fenced her in and that she is not happy that she is not maximizing her potentials. We are looking into how we can come up with programmes for both men and women to address a lot of issues.