(Modest Thoughts with Ayuba Yilgak’ha, 08116181263)

Every March 8, a day after my birthday is celebrated as World Women’s Day (WWD). It has always been a constant reminder to me given the circumstances which surrounded my birth. I was not there but grew up to be told that my gallant, resourcesful and caring mother, Saraya Dipti Ayuba, who was heavily pregnant with me stepped out to ease herself at the back of the house in the early hours March 7, only to deliver me out there on the heap of ashes. Those who are conversant with village settings will understand this better.

At our relatively remote village of Gochom which is about Seven (7) kilometres away from the nearest maternity clinic, at the time, that strong woman gave birth to me and six others. Not only this but together with her loving husband and our great father, Nde Ayuba Jitong Kwashi, she nurtured us to maturity until we lost our eldest, Late Nenpinmwa Emmanuel (Mrs) in march 2011. Therefore, when WWD comes, the idea of what women meant for the world and for children born of women comes to me afresh. I rarely forgot this day and World’s Mother’s Day (WMD) which is observed and celebrated every second Sunday of May from 1914. The two celebrations, WWD and WMD, are two coins of the same sides, really!

The WWD has been the practice since 1977 following the United Nations General Assembly’s (UNGA’s) resolution. Unlike the WMD which celebrates the virtues of mothers generally, the focus of the day (WWD) was to remember and celebrate the specific role of women who advocated and sustained activism against gender discrimination towards gender balance and justice for all in the world.

There is wisdom in setting days like the WWD. I hate all forms of inequality with passion. Observing days like this one will help in strengthening global advocacy against all forms of inequality arising from gender, race, religious and culture. In an increasingly democratic world, there is need for deliberate deconstruction of dualistic contradictions amongst humans. There should be no mentioned of socially constructed abnomalities like ‘blue blood’ (kingship) but all humans should be seen as red blooded (ordinary) mortals who will live and bow to to their shared mortal nature whenever fate beckons!

Women are special purpose human beings, creations of God that are endowed like any other human being to work and contribute in making the world a better place. Education, is a formal or informal illuminating process of learning to dispel human darknesses (ignorance and moral tendencies) as way of allowing for the internalisation of needful skills and capacity to produce or relate with the rest of society optimally and, in the most civil manner. Gender equality or balance is a social arrangement where people are treated equally irrespective of their natural gender make up (male or female).

Here is the main thesis of this discuss: I subscribed promptly to the shared resolution and conviction that all human beings are born equal and deserve equal opportunity to develop and express their enhanced-and-god-given gifts, talents and capabilities for the common good of humanity. I believe that no human being is destined to be a fan or liability in the world of the living. The living, whether man or woman, should have direct access to opportunities that motivate them to contribute in the creation and appropriation of wealth of nations. The present 21st century which is primarily anchored on free choice of enterprise, as its driving philosophy, has no greater motivation and commitment!

The theme for this year’s WWD celebration is “Inspire inclusion”. There is no better time to consider issues of inclusion as it relates to women than now. The justifications for the inclusion of women in all that we do in this world are more than I can count on my fingers but for want of time and space only a few will be considered in this exposition.

The first justification is that inclusion and sustainability are ideas whose time have come. It was Victor Hugo who, in his master piece, “The Future of Man” wrote, “Nothing else in the world…not all the armies…is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” That is a fact. In the wisdom of contemporary world development experts, no development will be celebrated as development when it is lacking in critical elements of equality in access (inclusivity) and sustainability. Any development that excludes any segment of society under any unreasonable guise – baseless gender considerations, for instance and/or cannot extend it gain to the next generation is not worth it at all. Therefore, the setting of development goals at all levels, whether local, national and international (global) must reflect these key elements to be taken seriously.

No wonder, the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) no. 5 and the Beijing Affirmative Action (BAA) which 189 countries signed in 1995 captured need for women inclusion in all development programmes, especially, in developing countries where they are culturally, economically and politically relegated to the background. For instance, out of the 12 policy decisions which those countries signed, specifically, affirmed that 35% of elective and appointive position be given to women in all countries.

Secondly, women are human beings just like any other person. As humans, they have purposes and dreams to be achieved in life. Women are specially created as anchors of human reproduction. They have roles that only them can place in the human sustainability equation. For instance, without women, there can never be procreation. A man could donate sperm (semen) cells but it takes women alone to nurture a feotus for nine (9) months before delivery. No matter how resourceful a man can be, he lacks the capacity to shoulder this responsibility!

Thirdly, women have talents that need to be invested as a way of adding value to humanity. Through their talents, women have demonstrated their innate abilities to create value around the world. The world have no short of tested and proven amazons. When names like Rosa Parks, Angela Merkel; Helen Sirleaf Johnson, Condoleeza Rice, Ngozi Konjo Iweala, Obiageli Ezekwesili, Arikana Chihombori-Qua, Ibukun Awosaki, Aisha Yesufu, Kemi Nanna Nandap, etc, are mentioned, no one is left in doubt regarding the resourcefulness and doggedness of women. When a traditional man or myth maker who does not believe in the ingenuity of women meets these Amazons at their respective duty posts, the tendency is to deny the erroneous fact that he is the ‘man’ he thinks he is. Their gallantry and prowess which can be acquired through the power of education will prove such a lazy thinker and myth maker so wrong.

Fourthly, women are almost at par, in population, with their male counterparts in the world today. Out of the estimated 7.95 billion population of people in the world, women have 3.95 billion people (Statista, 2024) which represents about 49.69% of the world population. Therefore, it will be absurd not to mobilise and appropriate the energy, ingenuity and capacity of women in the world of productivity and value create. By excluding women in the scheme of things, the world would have missed the greatest opportunity to harness the biggest source of human resource in the world and human history.

Fifthly, human skills both hard and soft can be learnt. By their creation, there is no visible impediment that stops women from developing their human capital. women are morally, intellectually and emotionally should and responsive. Just like their men counterparts, they can learnt the processes of creating value. They can build sound moral code, excellent aptitude in academics and emotional intelligence. The idea that women are ‘weaker vessel’ must be understood in context because they are strong in learning and productivity!

Sixthly, to be treated equally is an undeniable human right. It was Rosa Parks, one of America’s vocal civil rights activists, who was thought to have refused to vacate her bus seat for a white racist because she was old and tired explained in her autobiography saying, “I was not old… I was fourty-two. The only tired I was, was tired of giving in” (to white discrimination). That resolve was an extended one. This implies that should any one is contemplating the resolve of women to assert the freedom, the person should have a second thought because women will only be “tired of giving in” as far as their fight for total liberty is concerned.

In view of the above justifications and many others left unsaid, what else does the world need to give women equal chance? With the reality of wars and other pressures of life that are consuming men in their numbers, its glaring that whether men are willing to give a chance or not, those unfolding realities will sooner or later concede the world that is largely man’s to women. This evolutionary process or possibility will not be the best but a fated one that men and even women sceptics might come to in time.

The best that is desired by this author is the evolution that is midwived by the conscious realisation that all human beings irrespective of gender or race or religion have all that it takes to contribute to human progress. Aside the nature imposed task of donating the eggs (XX chromosomes), nurturing pregnancy and early breast feeding by women and, that of donating the sperm (XY chromosomes) by man as process of cross fertilisation and early child upbringing, no any other role (s) should be conceded or denied another gender under any mundane reason or consideration. Apart from reproductive system, God did not no vary any other human system that will warrant the underestimation of women in the world of work!

The women folk must, also, come to the conscious realisation that in a competitive world, no advantage can be leisurely given or received on a platter of goal through gender concession(s). Although, there is strong advocacy for ‘gender equity’ which advocates concessional considerations, on moral grounds rather than ‘gender equality’ which seeks equality on legal grounds, the former is hard to come by in a free competitive system.

In a free competitive system, every reward system is objectively and primarily conditioned upon personal performance (merit), rather than socialists’ motivation or concessional arrangements which are mostly subjective and ad-hoc. In other words, the survival of ideal women in any free capitalist and democratic system will solely depend on deliberate effort of those gender to rise to the occasion to be the best they can be through hard work, determination and lobby the same way any man is doing. This is necessary so that those of us who are advocating a chance and change that favours the women will do so within the context of merit as as selling point not weakness!

In the principles of successful negotiation, the best and most fundamental approach is to negotiate on the basis of strength not weakness. The total liberation of women from cultural, economic and political discriminations or hinderances will be realised sooner that expected when the women folks massively learned to develop the capacity to receive through conscious learning and participation in all fields of human endeavour. The institutionalisation of girl child education without down playing or compromising support towards male child education is a recipe for gender balancing and collective human progressive. This is the foundation upon which this civil struggle will be successfully laid and pursuit!

The women folk deserve empowerment but nobody does that for them better than they will to themselves. My understanding of the psychology of capitalism and democracy is that any concession one enjoys is a short-run palliative that cannot be easily and willingly sustained in the long run. This is not the kind of empowerment and freedom I crave for this gender and even the rest of us. Merit through education and skills acquisition are the leveller! As the world celebrates the day of the women, our partners in progress, let their voice and ours be in sync with their action and be heard louder and clear and, be honoured in every nock and cranny of the earth.

All things being equal, a man who has not prepared himself cannot stand the superiority of a woman who had prepared herself educationally, just because he is a man. No, not at all! Interestingly, when ideal women win, the world wins too. Therefore, I implore all women everywhere in the world to stand, prepare themselves and be counted! There is no limit to the value they can add to the global value chain. Happy WWD celebration. My voice and those of millions who believe in the power of mental, intellectual and emotional preparedness is with you now and always!


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