Some years ago, I was with a group of friends, all girls. This well meaning woman came into our midst, and in an attempt to reign “blessings” on us, she said “I see wives of Commissioners, I see wives of Doctors, I see wives of Governors, I see wives of Senators, I see wives of Ministers, I see wives of Presidents”, in Jesus name I pray”.
Half of the girls said amen! I didn’t.
I decided to tell her, “Mummy, thanks you for the prayers, but didn’t you see Commissioners, Doctors, Senators, Governors, Ministers, and Presidents? Mummy, would you tell a group of boys that you see husbands of Governors, husbands of Ministers, husbands of Senators, husbands of Presidents? Then why say that to girls?”
And this brings me to the point.
Ours is a society that raises the girl child for a man. Almost every single stage of the life of a girl is aimed at raising her to make a good wife. The ultimate aim in the life of a girl child is marriage.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the boy child was also raised for a woman. It wouldn’t be so bad if the society puts in as much efforts in preparing the boy child to be a husband as much as they put in in preparing the girl child to be a wife.
We give girls the impression that their success has to be linked to marriage.
I will never tell my daughter that she will be a wife of the president, just same way I won’t tell my son that he will be husband of the president. I will tell my sons and daughters that they will be Presidents.
We need to stop killing the zeal and drive of the girl child.
When you tell your daughter she can be wife of President, you push her to aspire to marry and ambitious man. But when you tell her that she can be president, you push her to be ambitious.
This is psychological. My parents never told me that I will marry a successful man or a president. Even till this very day, my parents still tell my sisters and I that we can be Presidents and Governors. Exactly the way they tell my brother.
If you can’t tell your son that he would be husband of president, STOP telling your daughter that she will be wife of president.
There is nothing wrong with being a wife of president, just as much as there’s nothing wrong with being the husband of the president.
Dear parents of this generation,
The past generation didn’t get it quite right, and we need to do better.
While you raise you girls to make good wives, also remember to raise your sons to make good husbands. Because those your daughters will end up with those your sons.
Also, let your girl understand that marriage is only one of the many things to accomplish in life. Tell her she can be president, tell her that people like Angela Merkel, Theresa May, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala are female humans with one head each. That these people achieved much more than just marriage.
Tell her that even though you wish her to get married someday, that her happiness and sanity come first. That she shouldn’t stop living just in order to be married.
Tell her that her primary purpose on earth is NOT to exist for a man.
Tell her to be bold.
Tell her to remain true to herself.
Make her understand that she isn’t jollof rice or ice cream, so she can’t be liked by everyone. Tell her not to live to be liked, because no matter how much she tries, she can’t please everyone, even in death.
Make her understand that SHE IS NOT IN ANY SINGLE WAY INFERIOR TO A MAN. That all humans are equal as human, irrespective of gender, and deserve equal opportunities.
Let her understand that weakness is not femininity.
Teach her to have a healthy self-esteem.
Teach her to love and respect, teach her that she also deserves love and respect, and nothing less.
Happy international day of the girl child everyone.
By Nkechi Bianze.