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Dangerous: Diverting women from their strengths

                                                                                                                                                         Organising committee of the Chuka Nnabuife's three new books meets with the author (fourth left) and former vice chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Pita Ejiofor. (L -- R) Obinna Ilechukwu, Onyedikachi Anyaonyeabor (secretary), Jacinta Onuoha, Nnabuife, Dr Paul Ifeanyi (Chairman), Prof. Ejiofor, Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, Michael Nnebuife, Chief Chris Obinabo and Mr Joseph Onugha.   ON HIS first day in creche, two-year-old Bibi wept his heart out as his mother dropped him on the lap of a nanny, kept his meal kit and rushed off to work.     Once Bibi noticed his mother’s back as she escaped through the back door, hell desended. The tot wept all-day. Eyes popped, red-and-wet, he screamed: “My Mommy! My Mommy!… Bring back my Mommy!… I want my Mommy!”   Later, the young mother disclosed, that all through that day in her workplace, she could not concentrate on any assignment as she “kept hearing Bibi’s heart-rending cry” even while in her office, over 20km away.   “It was like my heart was a motar with foufou to pound and a pestle was pounding repeatedly as I kept hearing the frail cry of Bibi. I could visualise his tears, his shaking legs and hands. That image haunted me for months because I continued to take him to the daycare centre… I had no option. I had to go to work… If I had options, I should not have dropped him there for anything. Anyway, both Bibi and I had to get over it with time,” the young mother said, still visibly “pained” by the experience, years after.      If infants were able to comprehend what they watch on television, understand what they hear on radio, read newspapers and follow social media, many of them around the world would have still been crying in fear since Monday, March 8, when we marked the International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021.   Most infants and minors would be wailing: “Bring back my Mommy!… I want my Mommy!” because almost every opinion holder interviewed, for the IWD commemoration wanted women to be everything but childbearers or total-care-giving mothers. The plethora of voices of the day, literally called out our society to encourage women to discard what they deemed debilitating weakness of remaining in the realm of womanhood.   In contributing under the theme for the International Women’s Day 2021, ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’, most respondents opted for the more combative subtheme,  ‘Choose to Challenge’. Through it, many commentators reasoned that the challenge of today’s woman is being ‘confined’ to her gender. Some argued that woman should break out of their coocoon and be vissible. There were many calls for freedom, inclusion and more drive in a male-dominated world. A social media vehicle #ChooseToChallenge drew a variety of comments that made IWD 2021 one of the most frontline online activities in several years.    In USA Today Kaanita Iyer and Chelsey Cox in their piece entitled, ‘#ChooseToChallenge, is the theme for the International Women’s Day 2021. Here’s what you should know, explained how the IWD is for standing up against all inhibition and stereotypical views of female gender and called on all mankind to be alert against the challenges.   Iyer and Cox argued that “a challenged world is an alert world.”   Continuing, they cited the IWD website and stated thusly: “We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality.”   “Gender parity in government, workplaces, health care, sports and media coverage is achievable through individual change.”   According to the writers, organisers of IWD 2021 planned to use #ChooseToChallenge to “inspire individuals to challenge biases, question stereotypes and celebrate the achievements of women around the world.”   Indeed, the world saw a keeness toward that mission last Monday but what may have been achieved, one reasons, may not be an overall improvement of the quality of life of women or of mankind. Given the nature and predominant thrust of some of the contributions to the IWD 2021 discourse some undecerning persons could end up with the understanding that being a woman is a confinement in Golgotha.   Nothing can be as false as that. Truth is the opposite. But what the IWD discourse  established is that we have long gone beyond what is right or wrong in the matter because our contemporary society has dangerously, elevated some warpped understanding of the matter to the level of mindset. Our age has created and engraved a victim-mentality that pops up and drives thinking process whenever the matter of social status of women is on the table. Such manipulated ideological stance is difficult to engage. Sadly, in most public figures’ frantic effort to be socially correct, they blindly, if glibly, magnify and endorse the error.   Being born female is never a handicap. Women are actually more priviledged than men, spiritually, socially and physically. When one ponders what makes a woman a woman or not as well as the physical, social and spiritual nature of the human person, the folly in victimisation or materialising of women becomes manifest. Implying that the female specie of humans is inferior to males is a falsehood created by the greed of activists. Those who tend to objectify the female only see wealth and power in terms of money and position but those who know what life is look for treasure instead of money and influence as against power and position. A woman is a woman because she has powers that a man does not, and cannot have.   That all humans are born equal is not only in the constitution of the United States of America. It is a truism established firmly in philosophy.  None is made lesser by gender. The inequality of genders is neither supported by philosophy, nor sociology. Even in politics, it is not so. The only hindrance to achieving this is the restraining chains in our minds.     “Man is born free,” reasons the popular Age of Enlightenment Philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “and everywhere he is in chains.”    Man’s chains are sadly created by man and willingly put on his wrists and ankles by him. This is very evident in our contemporary society, in which humanity has encumbered itself with thoughts that border less and lesser on the essence of life.       We keep veering very far away from what life is, basically, and head towards what life may not necessarily be about. The thoughtlines many expressed during IWD 2021 highlight the trend of seeking anything but pro-family living which seems to be the curse of this age (that may be the cause of our lack in exploring the vast resource in nature) unlike earlier ages.   Two and half centuries ago, some thinkers had sensed this collective human folly and moaned to no avail. One of them is the radical English Poet, William Blake, whose 1794 poem entitled ‘London’ states:      I wonder thro’ each charter’d street,     Near where the charter’d Thames does flow      And mark in every face I meet      Marks of weakness, marks of woe.     In every cry of every man,     In every infant’s cry of fear,     In every voice, in every ban,     The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.     Three centuries after, our minds are still fogged and clogged in Awka, Abuja, Lagos and all over the world not just London. We seem not sure of what life means or what role nature has presented to species from creation. We compare genders like folks who do not know the folly of comparing apples with oranges.   Two 18th century philosophers, Hegel and Kierkegaard, captured the vanity in such venture succinctly in the philosophical concept they tagged ‘alienation’ in which they described a situation wherein “spiritually lost” humans approach issues of life from points of view that are “estranged from their true selves.” Such venture, they reason ends in achieving something that is a “loss” of the “meaning in life.”    What issues like using political positions, career rise and weight of bank account to conclude that women are of lower worth or to reason that women should leave their nature-ordained roles of bringing forth life and nurturing young ones show is an alienated world where objectification and consumption are prized higher than humanity. Even as bringing up discourses on the nature of man or spiritual value of the human person can be ‘dead on arrival’ for the sake of us all, survival of mankind, and particularly, the infant like Bibi who we are trying to use issues like the IWD to deny the mothers that nature has given them, let’s speak out on what a real woman is.       If we can pause and ponder thusly: Why do human persons have two different species – the male gender and the female gender? What can a male gender be without a female gender? What is peculiar about any of the genders? We may understand what our sisters, mothers and daughters are, not what gender activists and political demagouges want us to assume they are.      Without doubt, the overwhelming commentary on the need for more women in politics; more space for them in top echelon of careers; more positions in governance among others are not irrelevant or jejune but if we all make the mistake of pursuing those things to the detriment of creating more home makers, care givers, mothers and wives of the female human persons, humanity will regret it, in the kind of children, homes and society we will come up with soon.     Irrespective of the viewpoint that makes huge media presence as the IWD has shown, I subscribe to women understanding and appreciating their unique endowment which is not lesser than men’s. However, for that to happen, our societies must do some affirmative action to make their burden lesser because you cannot tell, a widow or single mother, for example, to be keen on nurturing her children when there is no breadwinner.   Therefore, if we dwell on creating social welfare schemes instead of turning our heroines and angels into attacking hounds, it would appreciate.   Being a real woman is neither trite nor mundane and out-of-fashion. The truth is that there is a healthy polarity between man and woman, which a lot of social influencers have either deliberately or ignorantly misunderstood in the past which has often resulted in confusion over the years for the sexes.   “It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals,” says the writer, Emma Watson.

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