Breaking the Chains: Empowering Women and Girls Through Equality and Opportunity

Article by Uko Onome Treasure Clerk VOGP

Girls all around the world today are faced with challenges of different kinds. From gender discrimination, to education inequality, it never seems to stop. Though the world has seemed to evolve,  the majority of people still have a traditional mindset about gender roles and all things related.

Gender discrimination takes place in different settings. At school, at work, and even at home too. In schools, the teachers automatically assume that a boy should be the class representative, usually not minding academic or social efficiency that the boy possesses. In a situation where the girl speaks up against this, she is called disrespectful or rude. At work, people express surprise when a woman or lady is the head of department, or the boss herself.
At home, parents think a girl’s place is the kitchen and that they do not need education. Some women fall victim of rape and domestic violence, because they are viewed as lesser humans. This is a very wrong view of course, but unfortunately it is the case, not only in Africa, but in different places in the world.
I once heard a saying: “Women are to be seen, not heard.” Why is that? Women and girls are full of potential, and all they need is an opportunity to showcase their skills, abilities and talents. There are several women in Africa who have shown determination and resilience in their chosen career paths. Some of such women are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Obiageli Ezekwesili, Chimamanda Adichie Amina J Mohammed, among many others.

Although some people are sold to the idea of a woman taking up the top leadership role, they only support from within themselves, hesitant to take steps to ensure that happens. Because of the discrimination, some women have low self-esteem, which stemmed from how they have been treated as children. I have witnessed various scenarios where the girl is scared to say something because she is worried about how others might react to it.
We all play a part in the fight against gender discrimination and inequality. From the way we treat little girls in our various communities to our attitude towards other women and girls we meet outside these places. Let’s learn to treat people as people, and not have higher expectations for one gender over the other. Let’s all work together to break the bias.

Let’s say no to gender discrimination. No to gender based violence. No to workplace discrimination. And let’s say yes to gender equality and unbiased treatment.

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