“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance” (Kofi Annan)
Nigeria is not only blinded by religion but culture and this culture, stemmed from stereotypes and gender roles do not just eat deep into our thinking faculties but our economy. Hence, Nigeria, according to World Poverty Clock has over 91 million people swimming in the pool of poverty. It's no news that Nigeria is the World's Poverty Capital because more than 91 million people live below the poverty line of $1.90 which translates to N693.5 per day. It might look ambiguous to you, hence, I'd break it down.
Averagely, there are approximately 30 days in a month. Now, if you are a student and are living approximately by 20,000 naira or below in a month, it means that you are extremely poor. Also, if you are a worker and can't boast of 20,000 naira for yourself in a month, it means you are extremely poor.
One of the factors contributing to Nigeria's poverty is gender inequality. So many African countries are doing very well in terms of economy today because of gender equality inclusion. These countries range from Rwanda, Ghana, Namibia, Tanzania to Ivory Coast among others. They might not be as populous as Nigeria but they are leading Africa in terms of economical growth while Nigeria still wallows in abject poverty, ranks sixth most miserable country in the world and number seven in the list of countries and dependencies by population. According to worldometers.info, Nigeria's population, in reference to the United Nations estimate on Monday, 13th of May, 2019 is 200,223,412. I mean despite our numbers as the giant of Africa, we still can't stand on our feet. Perhaps, strength does not lie in numbers but gender equality.
Gender equality is giving equal rights and opportunities to everyone irrespective of their sex. This promotes healthy and good living. If there is equality in education, work opportunities and pay, the rate of standard living increases while the rate of poverty decreases because you as a student would live by the income of your parents which is totally above the poverty rate. Also, with the income of your spouse and yours, you would be able to achieve whatever you want to achieve timely unlike when the man is just doing the job or the woman's pay is being tampered with because she is a woman.
In the International Monetary Fund's podcast, Good for Women Good for Growth: Closing Nigeria’s Gender Gap, Bruce Edward said, 'Promoting gender equality can be an economic game changer. The IMF’s latest economic review of Nigeria’s economy says closing the gender gap would mean higher growth and productivity and greater economic stability.' This is logical and accurate! A country where both sexes are given equal rights and opportunities grow beyond expectations because both sexes contribute to the growth and development of the country.
In 2017, Nigeria's GDP grew by 0.8%; in 2018, it grew by 1.9% which is quite significant, however, according to CFR report, if Nigeria could achieve GENDER EQUALITY by 2025, GDP could increase by 23%, which is equal to an overall gain of $229 billion or $1, 264 per person. These gains from gender inclusion could raise Nigeria from a low-income economy to a MIDDLE-INCOME economy by 2030. That growth is based on Gender Equality inclusion alone not other factors. Also, Monique Newiak, an economist in the IMF’s Africa department and coauthor of Nigeria’s latest economic review, that includes a study on The Macroeconomic Costs of Gender Inequality in Nigeria, said in the IMF podcast, '... For Nigeria, we have conducted specific analysis to show that if Nigeria reduced gender inequality both in the labor market and in political representation; in education; in legal rights; and also by improving health outcomes for women, the economy could grow on average by as much as 1.25 percentage points more'. That growth is more significant annually than the 1.1 percent growth in 2018.
Gender inequality is unhealthy to Nigeria. I'd prove it and you'd be my judge. If we continue to live by the stereotype that since men are to man up, they should be all hardworking because the women can't end up marrying men who can't put food on the table, we are doing more harm than good to these men. Men are responsible when they provide for the needs of the family. That is accurate. I'm not disputing that. However, it would be depressing if women keep consuming without helping financially as well.
For example, a man earns 150,000 naira monthly. He buys food, fuels the car, pays for the children's and wife's grooming, pays rent, saves up for next term's school fees and the likes and he is left with 20,000 naira for the month. Suddenly, the wife asks for some money to pay for some clothes she just ordered for! The man asks for the amount and is shocked when he hears the price. It is just 20,000 naira! The man wants to flare up because apparently, the money left is for himself but because he doesn't want to appear irresponsible, he gives the money to the woman. He leaves depressed!
Should you don't know, this is one of the reasons men fall back on alcoholic drinks, weed and engage in cyber crimes to prove responsible! I am not saying the man shouldn't be responsible. No, that is not my point. But why put the man in emotional, mental and psychological unrest just because you are a woman whose needs should be met urgently? Why don't you get your ass to work as well? In south-west, I don't think there is any law holding any woman down from doing whatever they want to do. What is your excuse?
It's high time you started doing something with your hands, women. If you want to go into barbing, nobody is stopping you from doing that. My brother makes hair and fixes nails and he is doing well. My other brother cooks as well and nobody said they shouldn't do all these things at least not here in the south-west. Hence, you have what it takes to do whatever you want to do. The fact that you are female doesn't mean your abilities are 'weak'. It's high time you found happiness in what you do not in a man's wealth or something. It's good to marry a rich man. Very good! How are you contributing to the riches as well?
In conclusion, in reference to africa.undp.org, it was stated in an article, Gender Equality is so Much More than a Goal, 'An equal share of women and men in the labour force, equal access to paid work and the same level of productivity could raise Africa’s GDP by 3% to 16% and countries with larger gender gaps have the most to gain. If women and men carried out the same amount of unpaid care work women would gain almost 2 hours per day to spend on leisure, productive work and community participation. What better way to reduce poverty, promote sustainable development and build good governance?'
This leads us to our next post, Gender Discrimination in the Workplace. Thanks for following!