“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important”. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In the words of Ban Ki-moon “We must unite. Violence against women cannot be tolerated, in any form, in any context, in any circumstance, by any political leader or by any government”.
Although female genital mutilation is gradually being relegated to the background; Sexual abuse against the female gender still sits on the front burner in the society, as physical abuse on the female gender stares us in the face. The psychological effect of the socio-cultural placement and installation wherewith the female gender is treated can never be over-emphasised.
Discrimination and marginalization against the female gender is an aversion to societal advancement and development. Over the years, girl-child discrimination has posed great concern. Even though Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides freedom from all form of discrimination, on the bases of gender, ethnic group, religion, circumstance of birth, disability and origin. Notwithstanding, the issue of gender discrimination still stands strong.
Now, gender talks most definitely in one way or the other has an influence on us all. Gender norms tell us what is suitable for a girl-child and for a boy-child, what is suitable for a man and what is suitable for a woman. Because of gender stereotypes, girls and women most times treated with less value and tend to be placed on a lower social status.
It is obvious that the female gender is more on the receiving end of the negative consequence of obscure and rigid societal norms and perspectives surrounding gender matters. Hence, they are more disposed to suffer deprivation of their rights and freedom. They experience epileptic degrees of violence and harassment across societies of the world and have little or no chance to have a say how their lives turn out.
Striping individuals of the chance to pick what path life takes due to of gender reasons hinders them from attaining full potentials. It may seem like a futile move, trying to build a more gender-equal society but taking a stand to challenge discrimination and marginalization against the female gender when we see it is a great step towards attaining a better society wherein the female gender and their right is taken into great consideration.