Women belong everywhere; especially in Political Office.

I remember my female colleague in the office telling us the story of how she was verbally assaulted by some men who had catcalled her on the road and when she refused to respond, said ‘After everything, you will still end up in the kitchen as someone’s wife.’

I am by no means disparaging marriage or belittling the institution; but I believe it’s a worrying development when people in 2019 still believe that the only place for women is the kitchen despite the enormous challenges our world faces as a global community.

In 2017, during a woman’s march in Washington, a locally elected official Atlantic County Freeholder named  John L. Carman  in New Jersey put up on social media a picture of a woman stirring a pot of stew over a stove and captioned it, ‘Will the women’s protest be over in time for them to make dinner?’ Needless to say, a woman ran for his office in the next election cycle and won.

Women, over time have proven to be resilient, strong and incredible change-makers. They’ve proven it in business, entertainment, sports, science and technology, finance, education and in every other field you could think of except, politics. Why? There’s a huge mammoth ceiling of perception, culture and inequality that hinders us. In my country Nigeria, we have a year of compulsory National Youth Service and during my year of service, I was posted to Ibadan – one of the largest cities in West Africa. One morning while we were being addressed by one of the officials in the Local government, she prayed and said, ‘One day you will be the wife of a governor or president.’ I said to myself, I don’t want to be the wife; I want to be the president.

Inequality is the greatest bane that could befall a country because it suppresses the uninhibited and incredible potential of those whom society has placed in a lower class. It’s worse in more parts of the world. Women who dare run for office are threatened with the deepening inequality, violence and all sorts of societal vices.

All this begs the question, why exactly don’t people want women to run and be in office? At the heart of the matter, we’re not trying to compete or prove that we’re better than anyone. We are simply just asking that we be accorded the same liberties to explore our potential. Moreover, we want a chance to make impact on our world, through whatever way we choose and even if that involves running for office. People often fear what they do not understand, and are wary of what seems like a threat. Your strength and determination might unnerve some; but is needed in a world that breaks every second. History will remember us, not for our timidity or fear but our courage and tenacity in spite of the crazy odds.

Slaying is about living our best lives here and now, and sometimes that might involve running for office and making your voice heard for issues that affect your community. Global warming, climate change, domestic violence, poverty, and disease do not choose gender. It inflicts all; and that is why we all must solve them, women and men.

Nafisa Atiku Comment