The gender and equal opportunities bill

Sir: I recently read the gender and equal opportunities bill drawn out by the Nigerian Senate and I want to start by commending those who put it together. Nevertheless, I must in the same breath say that it has some loopholes, which calls for revising. With respect to parity in the enrollment of boys and girls, it should be specifically directed to co-educational schools, as we also have single sex schools. On the aspect of discrimination based on gender and disability, which I presume, is with respect to job placements, I do not think it will be feasible to employ a lame man or woman to run errands, just because I do not want to discriminate. And again, the candid truth is that there are jobs better suited for men than women. A woman for example, might not produce excellent results in a cement factory, which involves carrying of heavy cement bags etc, compared to a man.

My boss sometimes teases us women by saying that when he suggests for a volunteer to do a job, all the women start saying “I am a woman o, sir ask the men to do it”. Because whether we like it or not a man has a stronger build than a woman, even though we know both complement each other. Then with respect to widows having rights to a man’s property, I have always thought a man’s property belonged to the children, which the woman guards until they come of age. I think it will be unfair if the woman carts away half of the man’s property, which the children from her next marriage would benefit from, leaving the children from the first marriage to grapple with the remaining half. This surely will be a lack of Justice.

Again, with all due respect I do not think I agree with the right of the woman to terminate a pregnancy in case of sexual assault of whatever kind. To advice a woman to carry out an abortion in the first place leaves the woman more traumatized than the earlier evil.

There are so many women out there battling with post-abortion traumas, and serious psychological complications. I think what a victim of sexual assault needs is love, understanding, support and care from her family and she can give up the child for adoption afterwards if she wants. We are talking about killing a human person, (an innocent child) who is a consequence of his/her father’s crime, but not its cause. We might as well kill the woman to save her from further sufferings. Abortion in whatever form it comes is inherently wrong except in cases of ectopic pregnancies, whereby the baby is already dead.

I must say I agree with all the laws of violence against women. Many women have become toothless overnight or lost other body organs or even their lives thanks to irresponsible men who can’t face up to male colleagues at work, but come home to pour their frustrations on their wives.

*Omosefe Oseghale,
Benin City.

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