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.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
The Male-Child Preference Syndrome
Some of the families I am going to refer to in this post are known personally by me so I will be discreet and mention no names.
I happened to know a family that with the financial situation of their family, they cannot afford to have more than 2 children. These 2 children of course would be able to have all they need as children. They would have being very comfortable but their parents saw to it that they weren’t. They were all 8 in numbers because their parents kept looking for a male-child that will:
1.Continue with the family name
2.Inherent their property
3.help them conform to the cultural beliefs
So, they ended with 8 girls that are sent to low-standard schools and eat the crumbles their family can offer… Yet, they still lamented that they didn’t have a boy-child.
One of my numerous cousins though educated and influential ended up with 2 wives because he wanted a boy. The first wife made a boy on her 5th delivery but cousin was already hooked up with another woman. This excuse of taking a second wife is still not clear to me till today. Because as a science student that he was, he needed not be told that it takes his X and Y chromosomes to make either a girl or a boy to start with. Yet, he took a second wife.
This lady that I admire so much married into an Igbo family. On her first pregnancy, she was worried sick that she should have a boy because this will make her feet to be firmly rooted in her husband’s place. She said whatever it takes…She gave in to the demands of her husbands family. She prayed, she was desperate for a boy-child. How will she be able to love the child if she turns out to be a girl. The girl-child will be seing as the one "who ruined her life". I want to assume.
I will try to spare us some bad stories of how girl-child has suffered cruel fate just because they were girls. I was thrilled to discover a family of seven boys looking for a girl-child. The man took a second wife because he wanted a female child. The reason? Someone to help in the kitchen!
This is the fate of some innocent female children born and unborn. A female child is desired by some for wrong reason while some just want to stick to the traditional role of male-child is more important and it’s a must to have…
This wrong mentality has destroyed many homes, has made so many home poverty ridden, led to complicated health history of women from too many labours and made so many women unhappy. I know that the custodian of this cultural preservations are both women and men. Mother –in-laws and father-in-laws. And those that should have no say in the marriage. In this 21st century, it baffles me that we still talk about male preference even when traditional roles are being reversed, even when it’s glaring that no child regardless his/her gender or sex should be treated as inferior, some still find it pleasurable to choose the path of “male-child preference”.
I believe it’s time to wake up. I believe it’s time to count our blessings. It’s time to appreciate the children that come our ways and see them as blessings. It’s time not to make the mistake that Muhmmed Ali made when they asked him the number of children he had and he said “1 boy and 8 mistakes”. The only child that makes us remember Muhammed Ali today happens to be one of his “mistakes” has he referred to his daughters.
This is post is dedicated to all girl-child out there that are born into this kind of situation. I know and believe that no matter what you face today, you will be a blessing to this generation. Just believe you are not a mistake and that you are not less important than a male-child.