“Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their oppressors” - Evelyn Cunningham
I was onboard a flight from Lagos to Abuja sometime ago and I encountered everything that is wrong with our country in the tiny space of an airplane cabin.
A man onboard put on his phone and was sending/receiving messages while in flight. The woman seated not too far away from him noticed and told him off for doing so. He quietly put his phone off and seemed slightly embarrassed for being told off.
Now this is the part where it got bizarre, upon landing another man walked up to the woman and told her she had no right to tell the man off for having his phone on.
My initial reaction was “Why?” and “mind your business”, at the end of the day, the man guilty of the act didn't challenge the woman, so who are you to come roaring at her?
The woman however boldly told him to mind his business and be responsible enough to speak out when he sees someone ding wrong irrespective of his calibre or “title”. To my shock and dismay, this many only had 3 responses to her factual statement…
“You are a woman and this man is older than you”
“You are clearly divorced because no man can keep a woman like you at home”
“You must be mental”
The whole time, I stood there in disbelief that all this man could say in the midst of this wrong doing was that a woman had no right to correct a man and also had no right to speak because she is unmarried!
Most of the women in the cabin fell silent - perhaps at the boldness and audaciousness of this woman -while she continued to retaliate with bolder words to this seemingly “responsible oga”.
Now here’s whats wrong with this entire scenario. I am deeply saddened that the men who lead our country are nothing but egotistical and chauvinistic beings.
How can Nigeria go forward when a woman cannot speak her mind when she sees wrong doing, simply because the offender is a governor, minister or MD or whatever office it is they occupy that makes them feel untouchable?
Are our girls supposed to grow up believing they have no right to speak their mind unless they have a man beside them?
Does the woman have no voice without a husband? Is she considered invisible because she’s single?
The goal for many Nigerians is to see a change in our country, how do we achieve that said change when we cannot even change ourselves. What is the foundation we are laying now?
I imagine this man has sons, nephews and men that look up to him, do we allow people like this to continue to replicate himself in them.
As women and mothers in society, I believe the onus is on us to raise better sons, to demand for women empowerment and gender equality programs in our classrooms and other educational bodies.
There are a myriad of issues that plague our country when it comes to gender issues. I would love to hear your experiences because from my personal experience, I know it is a daily challenge.