It was in my secondary class 1V, I posed a question to my English class teacher: ‘Why’, I asked, ‘do we read about Tafawa Balewa, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Ahmadu Bello, and not a word about their wives?’ Don’t they have wives? I asked further’.
My English teacher, a reverend gentleman, took a good look at me and said: ‘Never mind, my boy. These are kitchen workers. Nobody talks about kitchen workers’.
Everybody in the class laughed. But I was not amused.
I had always been fascinated, impressed, indeed mindful of my mother’s influence on, and contribution to my life, my upbringing.
And I had concluded, even from the end of my primary school education, that women matter as much, if not of greater relevance than, as men in the life of a home and of a nation.
I observed as I waited patiently in the queue of those of us called for an interview for admission into Molusi, College Ijebu-Igbo that more than 90 per cent of the parents who had taken the trouble to bring their children for that interview were women- mothers!
And the day I commenced studies at the Ago-Iwoye Secondary School, all those who escorted me to the school, inclusive of my dear mother, were women.
Women care. If men were the head that shoulder the burden of society and of the world, I dare say, women are the neck on which that head rests. Without the neck, forget it.
Women deserve attention, recognition, respect and commensurate reward-in their own right. Not as the so-called weaker vessels, but as human persons, in the belief and recognition that the Mind, the master of man, knows no gender.
Human faculties, and the products that have issued therefrom, are not subject to gender branding. The human brain is the human brain.
Indeed, in terms of hours of physical labour, sleeping much later at night and waking up earlier than every one else to prepare the family for the day’s work, women come tops.
In terms of combining so many cares–care for the children, care for the husband, care for the relations of the husband, care for the job that provides food, and care for the home, women come tops.
The word ‘multitasking’ must have been invented by women.
And of course the pain, the agony, and the anxiety of reproduction; from conception to weaning the child, to school age, to adolescence and finally to seeing the child start their own life as bride or bridegroom, women come tops.
When therefore some people think that the place of a woman is only in the kitchen, and she should neither be seen or heard, I believe such people talk out of shameful ignorance.
It is not for fun that the saying: ‘Behind every successful man there is a woman’, has gained worldwide currency and acceptance.
In fact, majority of men, if only they will be courageous and magnanimous enough to admit it publicly, owe their successes in life to the steadfast support and enabling environment given to them by their wives.
No man, however brilliant, however resourceful, however hardworking, can ever make it to the top if his home is in shambles.
The role women have played and would continue to play in the theatre of life makes it mandatory that they deserve being spoken about, being written about, and being singled out for adulation…
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