Why some Nigerian men don’t want women in power – Amaka Madu

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Amaka Madu is a feminist and a broadcaster with UNIZIK FM. This interview with JIMMY CHINEDU at SheDecidesNigeria Open Mic, revealed why some Nigerian men don’t want women in top positions. she spoke on feminism and matters relating to women right, domestic violence, and women empowerment in society.
Excerpts:

Would you give us your definition of feminism?

When you talk about feminism, it walks side by side with feminists. Feminism has to do with equal right. Giving women their right, be it in the work place or political scene. Starting from the bible, God took a rib from the man and created the woman, portraying her as the weaker vessel. But in the real sense, what this is all about is to give women equal right, in all spheres and not looking down on her in any form, either in terms of holding leadership positions or religious assemblies.

Do feminists hate men?

This is where most people get it wrong, feminists do not hate men. I am a feminist and I am married, I love my husband, matter of fact, he is the best man in this world. Moreover, I have brothers; sons, colleagues and I cannot hate them. Again I say, feminists do not hate men, it is in Africa that we all get this thing wrong.

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Can you give us a narrative that portrays feminism in Nigeria?

A perfect story that went beyond Nigeria is that of Dr. Mrs. Okonjo Iweala, contesting for a position and even men in Nigeria warred against her, saying other qualified men could contest for the position. Some Nigerian men feel bad when a woman gets a position of authority. Some would say the woman will now be on top of them and wouldn’t give them chance to talk again. Imagine that some men in Africa were after Okonjo Iweala just because she is a woman. They would proudly say ‘ let her go and cook for her husband.’

Is there any difference between feminism and women empowerment?

Of course, these two are entirely different and operate differently. Starting with women empowerment, sometimes women even fight each other. Women empowerment is a means of eradicating poverty among women, giving them the opportunity for better livelihood whereas feminism is depriving the women that which belongs to her, denying them the opportunity to exercise their right.

Is it true that women empowerment increases the chances of domestic violence?

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No. domestic violence is a violence within the household. One of the causes of domestic violence is because the man is always providing in the house. When a woman is demanding from his man, at a point the man may feel stressed and react negatively. But if the woman is empowered and has little money in her pocket, could take care of certain personal and family needs. Some people wrongly feel like when a woman is educated could easily challenge the husband, that one is on individual basis. Women empowerment reduces domestic violence and not the reverse.

Is it mandatory that only females are meant to be feminist?

No, a man can be a feminist so long as he is after the rights of a woman. For instance, the director at Unizik FM Chinyere Okunna, my boss and who is the first female professor of Mass communication in Africa, keeps saying that her husband is a feminist. When we ask why, she says without her husband, she would not have achieved all she has because he was always advocating that what is right for a woman should be given to her duly.

In relation to feminism, describe the sexual and reproductive health right of women?

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The African man thinks that so long as he has paid for a woman to be his bride, he has total control over the woman’s body and can at any time have his way through without considering if the woman is in the right frame of mind. This is so wrong a mindset unknown to them, it has lots of health implication; just as a story of a lady that just put to bed and only three days after, the woman who was still in pains from the tears she had from childbirth was attacked by her husband seeking sexual consent. This is so out of place and the excuse they capitalize on to get their way through is that the bible says that a woman should be submissive to her husband, women should be submissive to their husbands, however, not at the detriment of their health. Let it be known that the woman has right of her sexual organs. They should be able to initiate intercourse as well as the man, she should not be seen as a flirt if she does.

What are your thoughts?

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