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Monday, December 25, 2017

The Abolition of Gender Imbalance as a Catalyst for the Absorption of Women into Leadership Positions

Written by: Muoka Chibuzor G

The main aim of this article is to break the glass ceiling effect hindering the active participation, and contributions of women in various leadership positions as a result of gender imbalance (inequality).

What is gender imbalance? It is simply an idea or belief system that portrays women and men as not being equal. The inequality in this case revolves around several doctrines and belief systems that portray women as being inferior to men, this ideology of which has eaten deep into the grey matter of living brains, is a mere speculation that has no place in the unpredictable world order of today. Take a look at most Nigerian governmental offices and religious organizations, what about the educational sector and labour market (work force)?, Women are persistently marginalized and pushed aside.

Being a woman is not a curse and neither is being a man a rare gift either, but the reality of being a man or a woman is as a result of the unpredictable biological forces of nature. If everyone becomes a man, then who becomes a woman? If life itself is a man’s game, then why is the presence of women invaluable? Both the man and the woman have a role to play in the continuous existence of mankind.

Truly, men have been endowed with more physical strength, to weld more power than women. However, due to this reason, in certain circumstances men often lead women. Thus, as men act as protectors and go to war, women and children act as the protected and are instructed to go into hiding; this lifestyle is obtainable in almost every societies of the world and this has made men appear to be the sole symbol of indestructible power and authority. In the same vein, people also fail to understand that wars and battles is not based on physical combat alone.

The need for internal intelligence support, good strategic procedures, and sophisticated rules of engagement are the foundations of winning a war. It is not fallacious to state that the downfall of various great men who fathered various great nations, stemmed from the slow but steady approach and devastative contributions of women. The woman may not come out to fight on the battle field but she can still sit within and proffer constructive ideas for the success of the war, and the good governance of the people, if given the opportunity and properly equipped with the knowledge and tools.

Biblically, the woman was created from the side of man to be a helper and supporter, and not to be a slave nor a nonentity. 
(Genesis 2:18 - Then the Lord God said, “it is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Genesis 2:21-22 - So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and God took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that God had taken from man was used to make the woman, and then God brought her to the man.”) 
The pertinent question remains, if women are impoverished, forced to be ill-equipped, and denied of basic privileges as a result of gender inequality, how then will they be able to be a helpful supporter to the men? It is obvious that a house without strong support will definitely collapse.

It is an undeniable fact, that men tend to be physically stronger than women. Apart from that aspect, women have also proven to stronger in other facets of life that does’t necessarily demand intense physical strength nor challenge the natural roles of men. That was the origin of the popular adage that says, “what a man can do, a woman can do better.” That adage does not mean that women should neglect men and take up the obvious natural roles of men, but it tries to clarify the fact that women are not inferior to men. Inferiority complex is the bane of human development, he or she who feels inferior to another, will never make any meaningful impact in the society, and this bring about the downfall of progressive societies. When we begin to see the earth as a natural habitat where any individual irrespective of gender is free to explore opportunities, the possibility of brain dormancy is decimated.

The prevalence of gender inequality is mostly fueled from the smallest unit of the society, which is the family (an adage says: charity begins at home). In various African societies, most parents often tend to deprive their daughter(s) of equity and equality with their son(s). They tend to invest more in their son(s) than in their daughter(s). The ideology that the role of women ends in the kitchen, has made most women to live without achievements as they get stuck in housewifeship. This ideology has imbued itself in the mind of gullible women, that they often willingly relinquish their leadership positions to men who have successfully convinced them that they are not good enough. The emergence of women who overcame the glass ceiling barrier and have distinguished themselves, is an awaking call to parents. The need for grass root level enlightenment by dedicated organizations and groups to encourage parents to train their child irrespective of the child’s gender, becomes of great necessity.

The governance of a nation or the role of leadership, is not the sole right nor the birthright of men. Governance (leadership) in essence is a commixture of inputs from both the man and woman. The women are the incubators of the nation and cannot be sideline from governmental affairs. The saying that governance and politics, is a men’s game, and power is associated with masculinity (men) alone, while women are destined for the kitchen, is a fallacious statement that holds no water and sounds unethical, such ideology should be fought against. The Nigerian government can nip this menace at the bud by the creation and encouragement of sensitization groups that would enlighten the masses about the devastating and irreparable consequences of gender inequality prevalence in the society. The government should also engage in the creation, implementation and execution of laws that will address gender imbalance and ensure equity which is the fair treatment of all, irrespective of gender.

According to Aristotle, a Greek philosopher and scientist who was one of the greatest intellectual figures of western history. He described Education as an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity. The mind of women can be  illuminated if they are exposed to education. Education made available for all, can be used as a level playing ground or yardstick by the Nigerian government to discourage gender imbalance, ensuring female to male literacy and competence balance. In schools, motivational seminars should be carried-out to encourage women’s active participation in leadership, to destroy the fallacious ideologies that discourage women from vying for leadership positions.

The absorption of women into Nigerian political parties would be a giant leap in the eradication of gender imbalance, as they become willing to accept women contributions, to encourage women, and also be able to present women as candidates when they are competent enough without biases. Investigations would also be carried out to discover and expose societies that degrade women’s rights and shield them from the light of advancement. They must be called to order by the democratic government of Nigeria. The creation of strong ties between Nigeria and nations that have proven to abstain from or overcome any form gender inequality as recognized by the World Economic Forum, would help facilitate the incorporation of Nigerian women into leadership positions.

The extent of this subject matter (gender imbalance) is relevant for the effectiveness of every sector that has to do with leadership responsibilities in the Nigerian society, including the Nigerian democratic space. Charity begins at home, and the fight against gender imbalance should resonate from the smallest unit of the society, the family. Public sensitization and proper advocacy for the rights of women by the government will pave way for women into politics. Education made available for all, would help expose societies that hinder women.

The partnership of the Nigerian government with civilized nations will as-well drag her out of primitive lifestyles, and make way for creating anti-gender inequality laws which will catalyze respect for the rule of law, and brings about healthy competitions. Women will be motivated to do their best when traditional beliefs that proposes that they should bring nothing to the table is abolished and men do not discriminate against having them as workmates. When gender imbalance is abolished, the Nigerian democratic space will then become wide enough to accommodate women in the Nigerian corridors of power.

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