There is a growing contemporary notion that women do not stand up for each other or are the first perpetrators of injustice against their kind. This belief is not necessarily true.
Age-long African traditional practises prove that women are and have always served as a pillar of support and advancement for their wellbeing.
History proves that women excelled in political, social, and spiritual roles assigned to them from time immemorial, indicating that women had the intricate ability to coordinate their affairs.
For instance, political groups like the Umu-Ada and Ihemona in the Eastern part of the country, the Olori and Iyalode in the West, and the Jamiyar Matan Arewa in the north are all centred around the protection and promotion of women’s dignity and interests.
Therefore, cases of man’s inhumanity to man, should be seen and treated as crimes perpetrated by choice.
So, when a crime is committed by a woman against her counterpart, the perpetrator should not be identified based on gender but as an individual.
Another argument is that some traditional institutions run by women still hold demeaning practises like hair shaving and inheritance of widows, female genital mutilation, early marriage, denial of inheritance, and many other petty superstitious beliefs that are, unfortunately, still, vaguely practised in some parts of the world.
Some of these issues remain today’s challenges, which must be dropped first by women themselves with the support of men.
This mechanism has been employed over time, to change aspects of cultures that were unkind to women.
Remember Mary Slessor, the Scottish missionary to the country during the colonial days? Mary Slessor fought for the abolition of the killing of twins. Also, the brave women who protested unfair taxes in 1929, popularly known as the Aba women riot, Queen Amina led wars to strengthen her Kingdom’s economy, and the Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, who, in spite of a bullet shot to the head, continues to champion girl child education.
Mrs. Eki Igbenedion, wife of the former Edo State Governor, helped track, repatriate, and rehabilitate hundreds of young girls trafficked to European countries for forced prostitution. Chimamanda Adiche, through her pen, continues to demystify dogmas that had held back the female gender and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose foundation has sponsored programmes for the improved health of thousands of women and children as well as providing millions of free treated mosquito nets.
The wife of the former president, Aisha Buhari, championed the cause of women through her Future Assured project, and Queen Moremi of Ile-Ife paid the ultimate price of death for the emancipation of her people.
Aside from the contributions of these women, many others are taking actions to improve the lot of women all over the world.
So, rather than patronise the misleading perception that women are their own enemies, it is better for people to dedicate their time, talent, and treasure to the advancement of the cause of women so that issues affecting them can be heard and addressed.
It is also important that the great women who were recently conferred with National honours and inducted into the Nigerian Women Hall of Fame by the First Lady, Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, continue to bear the torch for women’s emancipation through their continuous devotion and service.
It is also pertinent to note that intensified efforts and campaigns by women are what are first needed to push and attain goals aimed at edifying the female gender because little drops of individual effort will create that ocean of change.
The commentary was written by Adaku Eneh of our news and current affairs department