Don tasks government, policy makers on women’s role in development

PHOTO: Johnny Greig

The founder of Feminist-Womanist Theories in Nigeria Dr. Olukemi Akorede, has hinged the development of the nation on the roles played by women and urged government to bridge the gap between the male and female genders.

Akorede, who teaches African Literature, Gender and Cultural Studies in the Department of English, Adeyemi College of Education (ACE), Ondo, said this at the college’s fifth inaugural lecture on Gender Dialectics: Imprisoned in the Castle of Her Being. This Is the Key, Where Is the Door?

She argued that feminism was not simply a struggle to end male chauvinism or a movement to ensure that women have equal rights with men but a commitment to eradicating the ideology of domination that permeates cultures on sex, race and class.

She lamented that the women folk has been subjected to series of humiliation and marginalisation, as reflected in the modern life and works of literature, resulting in social, cultural, religious, economic and political deprivations by the male counterparts.

This, she said, has robbed the nation of capable female governors, vice-chancellors and presidents, among others, adding, “I have never been an advocate of preferential academic treatment for females on the basis of being female.

“The brain has no gender, but the dominance of men in leadership and headship has become a cult in Nigeria.”

She identified women objectification, conceptions of female beauty and other social factors as strong weapons for low esteem in women, which subject them to all manners of pains and hardship, especially in the bid to look pleasant and attractive to the males.

Akorede, who is the first female lecturer to present an inaugural lecture at ACE, however, noted that intra-gender conflict theory also reveals that there are tremendous incidents of oppression among the female gender.

“I stumbled on the key that made male oppression of female almost a child’s play when compared to what females suffer in the hands of other females premised on the index of the varying degrees and use of women’s social, economic and domestic powers on other females within their scope of authority,” she said.

She, therefore, advocated the need for academic institutions to revisit current programmes with the intent of drawing attention to people who had become icons in the nation’s growth and development irrespective of gender, using literature and other subjects to expand women’s consciousness.



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