Sunday, 1 February 2015

#ProjectKuuliza: "Gender Equality"

"In my secondary school, a boy and a girl were once caught in a "compromising position". The girl was beaten mercilessly...the boy was left alone."
- Oluwadamiloju Fatusi
Our impact-driven #ProjectKuuliza continued yesterday - Saturday, 31st January 2015. The topic of the day was "Gender Equality", and we had two lovely volunteers to discuss with our girls - Caleb Adebayo and Oluwadamiloju Fatusi.

The first session - "What is Gender Equality", was facilitated by Dami. She led the girls on a highly interactive and expository journey on the meaning of Gender Equality. The girls eventually agreed that Gender Equality does not imply that girls and boys are "the same" but that both sexes deserve equal treatment, respect and opportunities in the society. They also had a lot of stories to share about various ways in which Gender Equality is still a myth in their immediate societies. In the words of Kabirat Adeniyi; "When there are interviews, I have noticed that men are always interviewed first, before women."
Dami rounded up the session by pointing out that "Gender Equality starts with YOU".
Soon after, Caleb came on board to speak with the girls on "Gender Equality in Nigeria/Africa". Tracing the origin of gender inequality from the pre-colonial times, Caleb explored the various traditional roles of women in the society and the spiritual belief of men being the "mouth piece" of the gods. He tagged this perspective of gender as forming part of the African Narrative, which has led to women being an "endangered specie" in Africa. He went on to show the girls that many dynamic individuals in Africa who have fought to change this narrative have faced a myriad of challenges/controversies. With a few stimulating words, Caleb closed the session by challenging the girls to always make sure that their individual capacities are nurtured well enough to compete with their male counterparts. In his words; "Girls, it lies in your hands to change this narrative".
Damiloju had the floor once again, to explore girl-driven solutions to gender inequality. She encouraged the girls not to grow up believing that they ought to "wait for men to pick up all their bills". She also reminded them of the need to constantly prove themselves via hard work, setting daring goals/aspirations and being willing to compete equally with their male counterparts. Most importantly, Dami strongly urged the girls to see and portray themselves as being the "equal" and not "inferior" gender.
Inspired from the day's intense fun and learning, Super Girl - 15 year old Olaoluwa Opaola wrote this poem in a record-breaking 5 Minutes ;

 "Born of the soil,
Living to the toil,
Married to give,
No life to live.
A life of pain,
Is what we're expected to gain,
We are expected to live,
The African narrative.
We are wives,
Who give life,
Without knives,
Without Strife.
We should be treated equally,
Not rickety-rackety.
We are strong,
Never Wrong."

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