Week Two: Challenges women face with regards gender equality

Gender equality is an issue that has come with it challenges.

However, gender equality can be realize if at every situation a woman proof that she deserve to be there!!! then we can talk about gender equality.

I think some of our mothers(women in general) think if you cannot perform in a particular sector!!! But the fact that you are a woman and there is an advocacy for gender equality because of that you deserve to be given that position.

Women should be first in class, perform than colleagues on the field.

Then we can discuss the equality.

I still write more on this topic.

Alhassan Abdul-Razack

It is disheartening that in terms of marriage, mostly women are not given the opportunity in terms of decision making. They are mostly sidelined in line with cultural practices that have place or subjected women as weaker vessels or must respect the authority of men.

In terms of employment, there is a gradual shift somewhat to a social force that gives women an upper hand to secure jobs more than men due to sexual luring or gratification.

There are some cultures that gives women opportunities to express themselves alongside men while others don’t.

Socio-economic, political and cultural biases are difficult to resolve but with time as such awareness are created through robust radio programming for gender equality it will gradually wane down and give both women and men a level playing ground.

I look forward to reading your comments on the above questions.

Women are human beings just like men. They have feelings just like men do. They have talents, innovations and desires to explore in life just like men but it is not easy for them.

Women face a lot of challenges to conquer their desires and opportunities which starts from their own society.

Some of these challenges are caused by traditional/customary religious beliefs. For example, it’s not easy for a woman to have access to traditional land because when a woman gets married, she will leave the land or house to go and live with the husband. It is in a rarely situation that when a man gets married will leave his village or house to go and live at his wife’s village or house. When they are divorced or if the husband answers God’s call, they become vulnerable. Society looks down upon them.

Why religious beliefs? Many believers of the Bible say God gave Adam a punishment of (to sweat for the family) tilling the land in order to provide for his family and commanded Eve to be remorseful to Adam. In short, man is the provider of his family and God commanded a woman is a helper. This has indirectly contributed to some challenges women are facing nowadays because it creates a picture that women cannot providers for their family. That, they do not need much because they are helpers to man.

Overall, with time, this has to change for better but it has to start with us journalists on this platform. Women need support from everyone in our communities. Let us encourage and assist them if it possible, to get access land, financial aid, education and many other basics of life. This should be done with honest by all parties involved.

Gender equality is a serious issues here in Nigeria as women are not giving opportunity to display their God give talent even though some have miss used their opportunity

1 Like

Hello everyone

Week Two continues! Here are a few contributions from WhataApp group:
Sungumo: Women faces allot of challenges in our society.For instance in our local communities women are not considered in decision making, even if they are invited to participate they themselves will decline there by looking down upon themselves.So women should be encouraged to work with the mantra that what ever a man can do a woman can do it even better.
Women in high position does not help their own,so women are first of all their own enemies.
Busi N: What do you think cause women to look down on themselves @⁨Sungumo⁩ ?
Sungumo: They don’t have self confidence and the old adage that women place is the kitchen seams to stay. They need to prove that they are up to the task.
Busi N: I am sorry to be asking so many questions but who are they supposed to prove that they are up to the task? Secondly are we talking about women generally or what group of women is this? Are they educated or they choose not to go to school, what kind of jobs are they doing? What do other people think?
Ngwenya Denis: I think they need to prove to the respective communities where they live that they are up to the task. For example, they could volunteer in their local areas for roles that have been traditionally for men. Roles like malaria fighters. Women can take up such roles and move from village to village fumigating the places. Those were roles mainly played by men particularly in rural setups.

Women who lack self esteem or who shy to take up certain roles are mainly those who are illiterate or have not managed to get proper education. They are usually afraid that if they volunteer or are recruited into certain jobs they will make mistakes. They usually don’t have confidence if you compare them with those who are educated. Women who are educated may or tend to feel threatened by men but if they do finally take up the tasks, they do with success.

I concur with someone who said women suffer from the “PHD” Syndrome. I have seen the Pull Her Down syndrome in place several times. Say there are ten people gathered, 2 men and 8 women and a committee of 3 people has to be put in place. One would expect that 3 women will automatically take over based on the numerical advantage. Unfortunately it will be 2 men and 1 woman and the woman will be at the lowest strata. The women, being the majority won’t have one of their own as the leader. They will overwhelming vote for a man and they take lower positions. I think women themselves need to work hard and start to believe in one of their own. Sometimes women help men to oppress them…

Engaging men and boys to participate in gender equality initiatives as opposed to making it look like only women issue is very important. In schools in rural and urban Malawi almost all gender projects are girls empowerment projects and not necessarily gender projects proper. Empowering girls without presence of boys is not sustainable but simply planting hatred and not mutual understanding between the two.

At work gender balance and equality is easy to apply. On feature radio talk shows, better ones are those that are hosted by a male and female host. They simply need to avoid stereotypes. Or can delibaretly take head on injustice as they happen in community and role play it between themselves in a way that should induce discussion with audience.
.

1 Like

Hello everyone

I just came across this interesting story about a woman who started a village for women in Kenya. She is a survivor of an abusive marriage.

"The village was founded in 1990 by a group of 15 women who were survivors of rape by local British soldiers. Umoja’s population has now expanded to include any women escaping child marriage, FGM (female genital mutilation), domestic violence and rape – all of which are cultural norms among the Samburu.

Rebecca Lolosoli is the founder of Umoja and the village matriarch. She was in hospital recovering from a beating by a group of men when she came up with the idea of a women-only community. The beating was an attempt to teach her a lesson for daring to speak to women in her village about their rights. The Samburu are closely related to the Maasai tribe, speaking a similar language. They usually live in groups of five to 10 families and are semi-nomadic pastoralists. Their culture is deeply patriarchal. At village meetings men sit in an inner circle to discuss important village issues, while the women sit on the outside, only occasionally allowed to express an opinion. Umoja’s first members all came from the isolated Samburu villages dotted across the Rift valley. Since then, women and girls who hear of the refuge come and learn how to trade, raise their children and live without fear of male violence and discrimination…"

To read more you can go to https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/aug/16/village-where-men-are-banned-womens-rights-kenya

We all know that gender equality is not just about women, but all genders, men and women. If the affected group is experiencing gender inequality, they can achieve more if they stand together to fight for their rights.

Hello @Gladson

This is quite an interesting point.

If not done like that there will always be some form of discrimination as one group may not necessarily be comfortable living or engaging with the other. Both make and female need to learn to treat each other as equals , we are all human after all. The problem may be when women are orientated to believe they are the inferior gender and fail to stand up for their rights.

Challenges women face with regards to gender equality and solutions

Challenge

WOMEN are amongst the most vulnerable to ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION and are particularly affected by CLIMATE CHANGE impacts.

Solution

Recognize the important role played by women as custodians of biodiversity and communities’ well-being

Challenge

LACK OF ACCESS to land, credits, agricultural inputs, and markets increase
women’s VULNERABILITY TO EXTREME CLIMATE EVENTS.

Solution

SUPPORT EQUAL ACCESS to land, agricultural inputs, financial services and education FOR WOMEN to build a more sustainable future for themselves, their family, and community.

Challenge

Women are subject to CULTURAL, LEGAL, POLITICAL AND FINANCIAL BIAS preventing them from building their resilience.

Solution
Put in place GENDER FRIENDLY LAWS and INSTIL A CULTURE OF EQUALITY EMPOWERING women to become powerful agents of change

1 Like

Very true, the very act of communicating or educating people on gender and its related issues is not done well in some regards. Hence, many still believe it is a way of equaling men and women or at the extreme elevating women above men. Then also, I think we need to look deep into our (African) cultural systems and see if we can creatively find innovative ways of using the same to change things. Some people think that even the talk of gender equality is still a ‘‘colonised’’ idea imposed by the West on Africans.

1 Like

@Busi_Ngcebetsha, I agree with your last paragraph. The fact that these women are isolated is technically an achievement for those who perpetrated the acts on them. remember their goal is to make women less equal and ‘‘ostracised’’ ( if I may use the word) .

1 Like

@Busi_Ngcebetsha this case is an important note that needs to be put before the general house for discussion.

The enormous contribution of women to agriculture is well documented across sub-saharan African countries whose populations largely practice subsistence farming for food, and crucially, household income. It has been an established fact that the farm labour of women is crucial to the world’s overall access to food. Women constitute about 43 percent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is the reason why gender equality or women empowerment is a key strategy in assuring food security for all. Women do a variety of the farm work such as crops, livestock and fish farming. They also produce food and cash crops at subsistence and commercial levels.

When it comes to our communities, women’s activities support natural resource management and agricultural development, such as soil and water conservation, afforestation and crop domestication. Yet they are often disproportionately affected by poverty and hunger than men due to patriarchal cultural traditions and social structures. Farmland availability and ownership are crucial factors determining the food security of individuals and households throughout rural communities and some urban areas of sub-saharan Africa. Thus eradicating hunger and poverty largely depends on how people gain access to land because livelihoods are based on secure and equitable access to and control over farmland.

Many women have no control over land, and only a few get access to it due to a contradictory tenure system, which is characterized by pluralism, in which customary and statutory laws co-exist in a complex relationship that produce ambiguities and tensions with regards to land governance and its distribution. Women’s limited access to land restricts their role in the food production process; the decisions about what and when to cultivate food or even how to use harvests are largely determined by the male relatives who control land usage. Also the customary rules of succession across most cultures tend to discriminate against women. Male children are by default the next of kin in the event of the death of a traditional title holder or property owner which is in part to blame on the failure of statutory laws to address decisively the issue of distribution of property by sex in the case of inheritance.

In light of these facts, my dear friends, what role has traditional and modern governments played in the reinforcement and legitimization of male domination over women? How has social structures in your country (education curricular, religion, civil society) contributed to discrimination against women?

Finally, what is your view about the issue of “patricahal dividends”?

1 Like

@somedshahadu you raise a lot of important and valid points.

One journalist Kim Jurgensen once wrote: "gender equality is a pipe dream unless men relinquish their patriarchal dividend. She further said in sub-Saharan Africa, the inequality gap between men and women can only be probably closed in 135 years’ time. That is really a long way to go while we need to see change in our time.

As you mentioned that many women have no control over land, I would like to share this resource Backgrounder: gender inequalities in land rights in Africa 112-Backgrounder-Gender-inequalities-in-land-rights-in-Africa.docx (64.9 KB)

The male dominance in society has been there for decades especially in our African countries. It starts with when families are reminded that the man is the head of the household. Instead of learning ways of being the best leader ever, they abuse or misinterpret the power given to them. In as much as we sometimes think women are not doing enough to empower themselves, they need to work with men to achieve the desired goal of gender equality.

Our resource person @somedshahadu asks:

@mrndegwa @pprincehasevi91 @Mamsul @Gideon @Gladson @GiftMalambo @imintah

  • Women face the challenge of not owning land especially inherited land. This affects maximisation of their potential in crop production and other development. When married to a husband who owns the land, the woman strives to till the land, look for the inputs and at harvest the husband controls the proceeds from sales, sometimes the woman may never benefit anything from her sweat.
  • Women also face the challenge of shouldering too much responsibility in running homes compared to their male counterparts which limits them in advancing in careers.
    Case in point, woman wakes up cooks, cleans and prepares children for school among other things she does before her actual career job while a an will prepare get out of bed, shower, dress up , have breakfast as he meditates on the day ahead and later off he goes to work; these two are expected to deliver equally if for instance they do a similar job i business or service provision. I am not going into the after work chores and rest time for both genders.
  • With the increased competition on the job market and pressure to hit targets, give returns on human resource investment, this pits women at a disadvantage compared to men especially on their choice to bear or not to bear children and the consequences that arise from taking maternity leave or not taking it.

Solutions:

  1. laws that that are considerate to women on land ownership.
  2. Husbands participate more in doing home chores even if traditionally apportioned to women and at work place fair evaluation of targets and work out put should be considered for women though not to a level that can be seen as an easy way up the employment ladder.
  3. Implementing regulations that protect the right of women to bear children and still have job security.
1 Like

‘‘Patriarchal Dividend’’ is simple – men receive rewards as participants in male gender orders, and this takes the form of status, command ( authority) and material assets. This is the unwarranted social or professional capital that men have accumulated. This dividend doesn’t just happen — it has to be reproduced and maintained for future generations. It is to simply say that, even if the woman did it, credit goes to the man. If men recognize this and take responsibility for it, then we can begin to make positive changes.
Murray Knuttila, puts it this way in the context - ‘’…Yet, developed world agricultural industries operate in a policy, media, and industry environment that is hegemonically masculine (Knuttila 2016) and that rarely acknowledges the significance of women’s input to successful farm production. Consequently, although women’s work is acknowledged as crucial in the private family sphere (Alston and Whittenbury 2014), women have struggled for public recognition of their contributions and may feel powerless to shape their own destiny.
A look at farm women across the developed world continue to expose the critical nature of women’s work to a farm enterprise, by focusing on the significance of gender to farming and the deeply embedded gender relations that shape, and are essential to, family farming. The African customs, such as patrilineal inheritance practices and farm organizational leadership roles, that continue to disempower women are rested on patriarchal systems such as farming rest on hegemonic masculinity. This is to say that, men are farmers, and so farming is male dominant and all credit and acknowledgment are due to the man. This has continued over generations and therefore, all men benefit from it - whether they are worthy or not.

1 Like

I am Edwin,
In recent time there has been a motive to give girls priority and it leads for girl to feel weaker in terms of competition. Gender equality and it’s challenges balance is important.

Some insights from our whatsapp group:

Ngwenya Denis: Great… it’s always good to hear how people in other areas overcome challenges

Busi N: But do you think it is a solution? Isolating women from men?

Ngwenya Denis: It could be a temporary solution but never a permanent one. Women need men and vice versa. Women can only be separated from men for a specific time like for example if they are recovering from trauma.

Busi N: It looks like these women are making things happen for themselves.

Gideon Sarkodie Osei Adars Fm: Very interesting case study for our discussion. Am very busy now, let me finish quickly and look into this story.

Alex Malambo: Good, but I feel it is not a lasting solution to the problem of gender equality. One does not need to become a rebellion to over come the problem. No matter what situation we are going through, we still need to sit down and talk. We still need each other at some point.

Gideon Sarkodie Osei Adars Fm: I don’t think it is a rebellion…but I agree with you that we genders equality in a peaceful coexisting society. They quest should not lead to segregation which in itself is another problem

Ngwenya Denis: Hmmmm fascinating story indeed. I’m realising something. The cause for violence in this video is mainly cultural practices. Things like FGM and child marriages are two ways examples though rape is not cultural. It is important to confront these cultural practices that no longer have a place in the modern world. I understand FGM was usually done to make sure the woman does not cheat in the absence of her husband but what about the men? No such practice to make sure he doesn’t cheat when his wife/girlfriend is away. I honestly think communities need to be educated in order to realise that women are not objects for punching.

Emmanuel Alonkunaab Radio Builsa: The day I watch this documentary I wept.

Abdul Froko: This is wonderful. I see a lot courage in the women but that cannot solve the problem.

Joshua Baba Madaki Nenzit FM: Women are learning quite fast to liberate themselves from the stereotypical formation of them not having rights to live and fully express themselves in business, leadership, politics, agriculture etc. It’s gradually gaining ground in some African cultures.

Abdul Froko: Gender equality is one of the human rights issues people all over the world are grappling with. It has challenges as a result of the fact that societies are not same in terms of their practices, behaviour and conduct. But the most important in the challenges of gender equality has to do with culture and religion.

For instance, various cultural practices of Africans, for that matter Ghana has not given women and girls their rightful places in society. women and girls are not allowed to make their voices heard in public places or decision making gatherings, but only listen to their male counterparts. They are talked to but not allowed to talk back. The only reason assign to this is that “our culture does not allow it”. This situation has led to men taking opportunities much more than women. when it comes to sharing, men and boys take the chunk.

Religion as it were, do not allow injustice what so ever but the practitioners of some religions misconstrue them and filtered through them some beliefs that denigrate women and girls in our societies.

Sungumo: You don’t run away from the people you need to stay and solve it once and for all, but I like her courage.

Mariama Sierra Leone: Thank you Busi for sharing. I admire their courage. That is very good but in future I’m sure men will live in that village. Looking at the video I saw boys who are definitely their children. It would be difficult to chase them away. What I personally learnt from this video is women can do whatever they want if they have the opportunity. Society needs to give women the opportunity they need to grow.

If you read the story, it seems men have their own village close by and they call it Samuel. Only one man is allowed in Umoja to help with the animals. Women give birth without even being married and rumour has it that they sneak in their boyfriends at night and they leave very early in the morning.

Mariama Sierra Leone: Interesting. They still need men though. Men and women should co habit. The isolation doesn’t make any sense

Alex Malambo: To cut the long story short, they are now directly abusing themselves and children who are growing up without fathers. Remember, I ealier said it all. No man is an island, we all need each other in one way or another. Their children will some day are going to grow up and later start abusing their mothers or sisters because they have feelings or the other way round. I foresee problems to come in that village. We should coexist as human beings.

Does it make any sense; telling someone to get out of your sight and never be near you but at the same time you are saying “don’t go forever” I will need you when I want help from you

Ngwenya Denis: Well said colleague. The story of these women will always provoke mixed reactions. But the reality is that these women need men for procreation and general sexual needs. It boggles the mind how they continue to have children but the way their partners visit is a mystery. Probably the men sneak under the cover of darkness and enter the village and then they depart early morning. Hypocrisy of sorts. They shouldn’t be entertaining any lovers. If they have made a decision to completely cut off men, then they should live their lives like nuns. My humble opinion

Busi N: Do we understand the women left to be on their own to avoid abuse of any form.? Yes being separated from men doesnt address the situations as it shows we need each other.

Ngwenya Denis: Yes… in other words perhaps we could say “they only need men to fulfil certain duties that cannot be done by them”… rather than saying no men are allowed coz it’s clear that at a certain point, the services of men are needed in this women only village

But I admire them for standing on their two feet… never relying on men to provide for them

Alex Malambo: I agree with you. That is my line of thought too. Imagine producing fatherless children!! What kind of stories are they going to tell their children when they grow up? That their fathers used to sneak in at night in the dark.

Busi N: so this case study was one way women decided to deal with the issue of gender inequality and this discussion or analysis is teaching us something. It is a known fact that gender equality isnt just about women having challenges, it is about men too. Women cannot live without men, men too need women, there should be a way of addressing the challenges and inequality to live in harmony with each other. How would you advise these women, yes life is better for them economically and other ways in their own space but when they go outside they still experience the same challenges they were running away from

Emmanuel Asamoah Radio 1: I don’t discriminate on gender line but I am a believer of " some jobs are for men and others for women". The are works I won’t risk a lady for it .
I have just signed a maternity leave for a lady in my office and we will pay her during her stay at home.

What I don’t accept is the fact that rules be bent for someone because she is a lady .

I am also a believer of been equal and don’t give a job to someone because she is a lady.

If we are not careful on this, we will come back in future to build capacity of men because women have now taken over and the men are no where to be found.

As the saying goes, if you educate a man, you educate an individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation.

I also say, if money get to a woman, is for her but when money get to a man is for many.

We should think about this!

Joshua Baba Madaki Nenzit FM: Absolutely,
Different cultures have shaped and still are shaping the depth of gender equality.

I do hope that women will take proactive measures like the example to forge a common front.

I have met and interviewed a female carpenter who shared her inspiring story of how she went into carpentry as a profession. Breaking away from the stereotype of men dominated profession Hannah is doing better than many male carpenters.

Some women are very industrious, hard working as well as men, but it will interest you to know that some are just waiting for the opportunity to come before they utilise it.

Being proactive is key to making a difference in one’s life.

Joseph Mchome: The Umoja village story is very interesting. I am real moved on how the leader Rebecca Lolosoli getting abused, and start thinking on how to solve the problem. Problems are created by people and can be solved by courageous people like Rebecca. Yes problem is not but creating an opportunity to be solved. To me I don’t see women only at that Umoja village, but I see children both boys and girls, who will eventually form a transformed society. They need gender specialist who will assist them to make some few adjustment and lead them to fulfill their dreams. Very encouraging story I like the way they tried to solve and platform for gradually changing their community. This is a strategic move will no have an overnight result, but with good condition they will transform their community. Joseph Safe Mchome, The Director Ileje Community Radio.

Emmanuel Fasalejo: I am Oluwole Emmanuel Fasalejo of Ejule-Nen 93.7fm Igbodigo Okitipupa Ondo State Nigeria. The case under discussion is an extreme case. It is not going to address gender inequality, rather it will creat an abnormal situation.
One how will the male children in the community be handled? Will they be killed or sold off when they grow to become men? Will they be changed to men? How will the community address the partanity of the children in the community? Will Rebecca the leader be the father of all the children?
When new children need be made how will they get the opposite sex to do their own part of the exercise?
If care is not taken the few boys amongst them will be sexually abused by some of the ladies who sometimes need them. With time there will be quqrells or fight over the few boys within the community. Nature can not be cheated.
Apart from these facts stayed women after some times will not be ready to be submissive to the order of their fellow women. They will want to now out

Jamila Maiiyali Freedom Radio: Good morning all
Well to me the people umoja. Decision is quite good but it’s Temporary cos men and women are meant to live together we all need each other
But the issue is that in some society religion has made men superior than woman but never the less not to the extent of maltreating the woman
In my society most men always show their superiority in a very wrong way and tries to justify their right religiously
Example a man will marry more than one wife and don’t have the capability to cater for the children nor the wife and the worst of all is not allow her to trade or work just because he is the man and religion has given him the power to do so where a he has forgotten that there were instances that a woman can go out to work in other to take care of her family
Most women are faced with so many challenges in marriage just because they have a very low knowledge of the religion they are practicing and so do not know who to fight for their right
Secondly in my society single mothers are not given much respect they are mostly seen as wayward women just because ahe decide not to marry after a breakup

Esther Mwangabula Tanzania: You are right I’m sorry to say that,religious is giving too much room to women oppression. Whereby a women is meant to respect only and not to reason,which makes many women’s suffer in their hearts with no where to breath. Jamila have raised a very critical issue here,Man can marry more than one wife BUT women can never ever ,even she love another man. When is caught will be in trouble.
It is religious teachings which puts down women .
I’m Esther mwangabula from Tanzania

Jamila Maiiyali Freedom Radio: Danny it is the Mis interpretation of religion by some men for their selfish interests
Religion has spelt everything out accordingly if a woman is not interested in a man she can just quit rather than staying so also the man that right is there
But the issue is that so many teachings has been hiding from women
That why it’s goo to get educated about the religion one is practicing in other not to be missed used

Hello everyone

This was quite an interesting week. We looked at the challenges women face with regards gender equality. We know gender equality is not all about women but includes both sexes.

A lot of challenges were addressed and some solutions suggested. Social and cultural structures were seen as the main contributors to gender inequality.

We shared a case study from Kenya where one woman started a village for women only, most women in the village are women running away from abuse be it early marriage, female mutilation, gender based violence etc. In as much as this was an interesting story with better economic benefits for women, it is not a permanent solution as women are only safe when inside the village and if they go out they may still be subject to the same abuse. We also shared a resource on gender inequalities in land rights in Africa.

As I was preparing to write this round up, one of the participants beat me to it and now I am sharing his own summary:

Dennis Ngwenya

  1. In most of Africa, gender inequality happens mainly because of cultural practices and religion inter alia other things.
  2. Most women face a lot of challenges arising from gender inequality like oppression, lack of economic opportunities, lack of right to be heard etc.
  3. When tackling gender inequality, it is important to involve both males and females not to involve people of a particular sex only because you won’t really get a solution.
  4. The Kenyan example of women of Umoja is a typical of women who refused to be silenced but stood up for themselves and got a victory of sorts. However it’s a temporary solution which has brought new challenges like the lack of sexual needs for women which makes them smuggle their boyfriends into the village. The other challenge is how they will coexist with the boys who are quickly becoming men. In conclusion, you don’t solve a problem by creating another one though the women of Umoja are applauded for that bold move.
  5. Gender inequality will have to be addressed if communities are to develop. Women have to be given their space in order to prove themselves.

Have a lovely weekend!

1 Like

Women are going through a lot of trauma in their lives, one of the things that worries them is when a husband or partner dies and leaves farms, houses, cars and so on.

When the widow finishes her husband’s relatives, some of whom begin to sit in on the deprivation, and file a lawsuit in court when she sometimes has no one to represent her in the litigation case.
In the end the case defeats him and loses his right.

1 Like