Dear African woman, let no man take away your self worth all in the name of culture, religion or history.
“Men are superior to women” is a common expression you hear not just from men themselves but sadly from many women, too.
It’s an old expression that many still cling to even in the 21st century, especially here in Africa. The believers of “men are superior to women” doctrine see women as second class citizens who should not be given as much respect.
They believe women have limits; they should not attain certain positions, they should not be involved in some contests, they should never question a man not to talk of putting up an argument with him. Wawu!
Such people are the ones who say women must remain silent even if it means their husbands killing them. As if that is not enough, they are convinced that a woman is not responsible and so should never be respected if she’s not married.
Shockingly and sadly too, there are many people– both young and old– who still have this mindset.
But how true is this belief?
In reality, this belief is totally wrong. In fact, everything about it is wrong. You do not agree? Then read on…
What does it mean to be superior? Merriam-Webster dictionary defines superior as being “of higher rank, quality, or importance.”
If I may ask in what way is a man of higher quality or importance than a woman? In my opinion, the answer is none. I believe no human being is greater than the other. Only God is superior to us all.
What we should unlearn
Just like we have been made to believe that some persons are superior to others, the same way this is. Over the past centuries, humans have evolved ways to create an artificial class in which some are given a status while others are not– we have the rich and poor, high and low, elite and masses.
What we should rather learn
Scientifically, it has been established that men and women are equal– be it in terms of intelligence, potential or ability. Although there’s a difference between the two sexes in terms of language development and preferences for learning certain subjects and tasks while growing up, that does not depict superiority.
Girls acquire language earlier than boys. Boys can draw bicycles better than girls who in turn are more fluent with words. Girls develop larger vocabularies. Boys are less communicative and use language instrumentally (to get what they want).
As a Christian, I’m made to understand that husband is the head of the family. He is expected to love his wife who in turn respects him. That’s not superiority! Of course you can’t love someone without respecting her. So by extension, you can’t respect someone that is ‘inferior’ to you. As a man, you’re the head of your wife (who is your crown), not head of another man’s wife. Hello don’t get it twisted!
Some men see it as a norm to disrespect women because “they are superior to them” according to the story of creation. Excuse me, that’s not correct! This kind of belief system has contributed immensely to both social and domestic forms of violence. “Men are strong, women are weak” is what you hear almost everywhere. It’s a wrong belief system!
Whether in politics, business, management, engineering or any other field, women can perform brilliantly as much as men. But the doubt over their sex has to be dealt with.
My mother is a sure proof. I realised through her life, at such an early age though, that women just like men can break barriers, dare the impossible, make things happen and change the world. Women have no limits whatsoever. (in between, dear women you need to raise your boys with such a belief system).
And it’s one of the reasons why I support the empowerment of the Girl Child in Africa and also contribute to SheLeadsAfrica, a community of smart African women. If we’re serious about changing the world, then we must get serious about eliminating barriers that keep our women down– from distorted perception to bad cultural and societal practices.
What is more important
It is not important to fight over who is superior to who. What is important is to build communities in which women and men alike can use their talents and skills to change the world. We should get serious about respecting one another, building bridges, compensating for each other’s weaknesses. That’s all!
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