A tale of two women [Mister Mobility]

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two women

Actually, it is not one tale. There are two tales. But do you really care? Let’s go!

I had some business to do at the residence of a senior citizen, an accomplished woman. She lived in her own home, a decent edifice in a quiet section of town. It wasn’t my first time there. I arrived just after dawn, parked my jalopy on the street and when I got to her gate, found her gateman missing. He was always at the gate. This time, he wasn’t there. After she let me in, she hit me with what was up: the security guard had misbehaved consistently over a period of time and she had given him the boot. But she told me that he had just looked at her and without saying a word, strolled to a nearby building along the same street where his friends congregate. She had shouted and waved to get his attention, but he simply ignored her though he heard and saw it all.

She was a single lady, retired, in her 60s, and lived alone.

Naturally, she was distressed. I asked her to show me where he was, and so we both stepped outside. When we got to the street, she pointed out his location and I called out to him. To my hostess’ surprise, he promptly got up and walked over without a fuss. I asked him what it was his “madam” asked him to do, and he replied that she wanted him to go. “So, why your things still dey here?” I asked. He replied that he would come and get them when he was ready. I replied that she wanted his things out now. He said “Okay,” walked in and began to pack his things.

My hostess was shocked beyond words. She went on about how the man had not even acknowledged her at all since she told him off. Nothing she had said or done seemed to bother him. It took a man showing up for him to be galvanized into action. She owned the house, had paid his salary faithfully, yet the fact that she was a woman meant that she never commanded his full respect – and I suspect that was why he had consistently misbehaved. She was a woman.

A friend of mine needed an apartment once. But everywhere she went, the landlords kept asking her for “uncle” or “daddy”, and as long as she told them that she was single, she had no chance of getting an apartment. She had her money and was a decent person, yet I had to become her escort before she could secure a place. I had to show up with her to inspect the apartments and be a part of the negotiations for her to stand a chance of finding accommodation.

In both stories, these women had their incomes. They were both educated and presentable people. They were not destitute and in need of sustenance. But in both cases, they were more or less second class citizens simply because of their gender. It is a travesty. A woman should never need a man by her side to have her instructions to an employee or subordinate carried out. A woman should never need to have a man by her side to obtain accommodation from her honest earnings. A woman should never need to have a man by her side to get help from the Police or any other government agencies. A woman should never need to have a man by her side to book a hotel room. A woman should never need to have a man by her side to get respect from anyone.


Sadly, we are not yet out of the primitive woods completely here in Nigeria. In many places, a woman is still less than a man. But I dream of a Nigeria where our sisters, mothers and daughters can be all that they desire to be without being held back by gender prejudices. As a father of a growing a girl, I would hate to see my daughter suffer just because of her gender. If I were to drop dead today (yeah; I know: God forbid, abi?), I would hate to think that my wife would find certain things tougher, not because she is incompetent, but just because she is a woman.

What can we do? I think that our strongest strategy is education: we must start by training and teaching our young ones properly. A woman is not less than a man, and so is entitled to the very same privileges that men enjoy in the society. Education, both formal and informal, is key. And we must start now. Yes; we have to fight discrimination anywhere it exists now, but if we want to see this change happen on a wholesale basis, the best place to start is with the next generation of children.

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  1. I was worried about the older lady and her gateman. His behavior hints that he’s gonna retaliate in some bad way. The way he ignored her and went to his friends to gist. If I were her, I would try to increase my security 🙁

  2. This was precisely my thought for Nigeria on International Women’s Day.
    Nigeria still has a long way to go, esp at the North Pole

  3. Great sounding. Lofty exhortation.

    Unfortunately, it’s the way of the world.in many cultures, women are definitely second class citizens. perhaps because, from inception, the Almighty decreed it so?

    In lots of religions, it’s the same thing, too.women pay second fiddle.

    when you combine culture and religion, on arriving at a position,, you have a mindset that’s unstoppable.

    I have daughters myself and my Mum happened to be a woman too (surprise!)

    Even in places where female inferiority is not openly assumed, there is always that implicit assumption.

    In the fight between education and (culture,+ religion) culture , education/logic always lose, so I doubt education will change this attitude.

    It’s similar to the battle between logic and religious convictions. religion almost always triumphs.

    So, like the people urging the networks to create a special tariff for Android users, this battle is lost before it has even started.

    Do I think women are subordinate / inferior? Check the story of creation (sure men wrote the bible, so the male supremacy has been there, right from the beginning..)

  4. Funny enough, I watched a programme on BBC about the status of women in India, and the experience of Mister Mo’s friend looking for a flat is similar to a single Indian lady doing the same thing. In fact it’s even worse in some cases – and the estate agent presented some of the scenarios.

    I’m under no illusions about the unfair treatment that goes on, but I don’t think education in any form will make a difference. It really is about a the individual choosing to change their mindset. How do you change the mindset of culture and belief?

  5. A nigerian movie icon(Omotola Jalade Ekeinde), had already told the world that men and women ain’t equal. So trying to change culture and religion will be near ad-impossibilia.

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