Information is Power

Posted October 6, 2010 from Nigeria

A man asked me not too long ago, what the hullabaloo was about women's human rights? Do women want equal rights with men? He said be default, women were created to be subordinate to men, so there is little or nothing women folks can do about it. Besides he said these days, more females are being educated and placed in top career positions in the country (Nigeria).

I looked at him with a smile on my face and told him in a plain language that his statements were based on assumptions. Yes, more female are getting good education and a few are in the parliament / decision making positions, but the issue is, what ratio of the female population as compared to the male population have access to good education or have obtained a good level of education to vie for top managerial position in offices? Talking about rights some wives are raped by their husbands and these women don’t even know that it’s a violation of their rights. Sometimes of such cases are not reported, because the wife is regarded as the ‘property’ of the husband, especially if the said husband paid her dowry.

So, basically for me the challenges and barriers in creating a change in my community are:

The Cultural belief system of the people which is deeply rooted a patriarchal structure that often put women in a subordinate position while the men have dominance over them in decision making has to be redefined. For instance the 2011 presidential election is around the corner and none of the registered party has produced a female candidate to run for any of the parliamentary, gubernatorial or presidential positions. I believe that creation of awareness on educating the community will bring about a positive change e.g. that by equal rights, women are not saying they want to be men but to be treated with equity, since both are human. That there are no born leaders; every human has the potential of what it takes to be a leader if well tutored. These will encourage the representation of more women in politics.

Access to information and resource material is an issue that poses a challenge to creating a change: Averagely, most women don’t know anything about the provisions made in the Nigerian constitution nor in the international instruments such as the Protocol to the African charter to defend and protect the rights of women. No access to the internet / literacy on the use of computer is another challenge. It is proverbially said that “information is power”. Information places a great role in empowering women to know what their rights are and what to do when their rights are being violates.

Pulse Wire is a community of women from various backgrounds across the globe that might have encountered similar challenges in their community and share how they overcame such challenge. This information will be helpful in having a start point in creating a positive change in my community.

Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change

Comments 3

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  • Tina Garforth
    Oct 14, 2010
    Oct 14, 2010

    Dear Damsel, I continue to feel saddened and shocked each time I hear how women aren't aware of their basic human rights in certain areas of the world, that these women feel that they are to be done with exactly as the men int heir lives and leadership positions over them deem they should be treated. It is such a shame. And yet, there are women like you with the passion and fortitude to speak out for change, that use vehicles like Pulsewire and the internet, to educate yourself on how other women have overcome these challenges and to use that information as a starting point for positive change in your own community. Well Done and may you keep your voice loud and strong. Tina

  • Irmia Fitriyah
    Oct 15, 2010
    Oct 15, 2010

    Hey Damsel:

    I like your positive energy. I can feel it you have wonderful spirit! And I know it's hard to face the situation as you mentioned... 'cause that's what I always face...! :)

    But, we're never alone... There are always people who care... People like you :)

    Cheers: Mia

  • Jennifer Baljko
    Oct 24, 2010
    Oct 24, 2010

    Hi Thank you for posting this. You face a difficult challenge in breaking down the deeply-rooted a patriarchal structures, but you're right in saying that putting information into the hands of women is a good starting point. The next step, of course, is encouraging them to take action after they have the information. I'd like to hear more about what kinds of information you think would be essential for women in your community and what kinds of programs or support systems could be implemented to help women both receive and act upon the information. Well done, and best of luck. Jenn