I have come to realise that the root of this problem is the home. The way parents talk to the girl-child paved the way to their future competence.
If I have a kobo for each time that my father has said things I find derogatory, I would by now have a truck load of naira, the annoying part is that the old man have no clue he was being offensive. Most of the time I had argument with my father, it has nothing to do with me in particular, more about what he says about people around me that I pick on.
Once my sister was negotiating repair work with a builder. In Nigeria, you need to haggle for just about everything otherwise you’d be ripped off big time. My father doesn’t like bargaining too hard so he interrupted my sister and said to Emmanuel, the builder “Hey, Emmanuel, don’t mind Bola, you know that is how women are – pinching pennies.” so Emmanuel turned to my father to say “Thank you daddy, you see aunty didn’t want to spend money.” My sister was offended so told Emmanuel that if he really wanted the job he should come to her shop the next day to agree on the price. She didn’t say a word to my father because Nigerian girls aren’t supposed to correct their fathers.
This is a small case and need not be blown out of proportion but it is what the message represents that hurts especially when it happens at home
Talking to a friend sometimes a go. He was driving his family to Lagos from Ife, the trip he really didn’t want to make. His explanation was that Ife to Lagos was a long journey and women don’t do well on the motorway hence he didn’t think his wife could cope. Everything he said reinforced the derogatory stereotypes about women ability in our society. In the car were his family including his two young girls so from early age, these girls hear from their father that there are many things they could never do just because they are female. Distance between Ife to Lagos was about 200km, the wife in question drives to neighbouring towns including Ibadan a lot. Most people on Lagos roads never had proper driving lesson anyway, how would women make that any worse? I asked why he was wasting his money sending his girls to expensive schools if he really did not believe in them? He didn’t see it the same way as I did. The girls were there everyday hearing their father reinforcing stereotypes as facts, I later explained that it is such remarks that children carry with them from young age to their later years.
So I asked Kola if he had a speaker in the car or any hands free device as we have been talking for a few minutes, to which he said no. “Who is the careless driver?” I asked him.