However, our focus now is not on gender equality but on the role of girl child(ren), and women’s voices in building an equal future. It is important to understand that equality in this context is beyond mathematical calculations. Equality in this context refers to fairness, and access to the same opportunities. This may sound like a broken record but when we look more closely in the world, we realize that only few women attain certain socio-political heights in the world, except in very few matrilineal societies where inheritance is matrilineal— which is also not a guarantee for the women still.
Another point to be established here is that the voice of a person is necessary for the validation of a person’s wants or needs, and a person’s decision. Without hearing a person’s voice or opinion on something that concerns them, an alien opinion has been enforced, and a voice has been made dumb.
You are shutting voices:
When you tell a girl to satisfy your sexual needs in order to get a job.
When you deprive her of education for economic reasons yet you send her brothers to school.
When you treat her as a property, instead of a human that she is.
When you force her into child marriage.
When you cajole her for being a spinster at a certain age.
When you reduce her to just a cook or a baby making machine.
When you declare her unfit for a job because you assume her gender isn’t fit for it.
When you define her only by the gender roles that society approves.
When you shame her for having a blood stain from her menstrual flow.
When you verbally manipulate and abuse her.
When you are domestically violent with her.
When you consider her a lesser animal, or a sex toy.
When you sexually harass, rape and abuse her.
When you tell her that the “Mrs.” title is her only hope of societal relevance.
There are so many other ways women and girls are made dumb, and such should not be made a norm— because women and girls are first human, before their sexes are identified at birth.
Most importantly the perpetrators of these acts are men, women, and a larger number of the society.
Fortunately, a good number of women have risen above limitations and their echoes of their voices have been heard locally, and globally. Some of these women include: Dora Akunyili, Ngozi Okonkwo-Iweala, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rose Park, Oprah Winfrey, Kathryn Kuhlman, Folorunsho Alakija, Mary Slessor, Mary Sumner, Florence Nightingale, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, and so many other women both of blessed memories and living legends.
A lot of young women today are still rising above these circumstances— leaving their footprints in the sands of time. Indeed, history will surely note them, and posterity will recognize them as legends.
If men and women coexist in a society, it means that both men and women must create the future they want to be— hence, should be given the same opportunities.
Nobody can explain the miracle of gestation and childbirth, hence the girl child, like the boy child must be allowed to groom and use her voice because “your voice and My voice will build our equal future”.