It is sad that many African men still believe that the place of the woman is only in the home, no matter her qualifications.
Like many other women, Nigeria’s former ambassador to Malawi and Zambia, Folake Marcus Bello, thinks that the notion is becoming outdated, because more Nigerian women are challenging the status quo.
Folake, a lawyer, politician and an entrepreneur, in a chat with Tayo Gesinde of Tribune, appeals to women should do more to support their husbands financially.
I am lucky in that aspect. I wasn’t raised to be a woman or a man. I come from a family where we were raised to be a human being, to be confident, independent and to believe in yourself. Apart from the home, also my faith; I am a Catholic and in the Catholic faith we were raised to be human beings.
The most important things are your heart, charity, prayer and outward appearance. It is your personal relationship with kindness, discipline and act of mercy that are important.
So, the Catholic Church and Catholic schools I attended trained us to be independent, to have the I can do spirit and to be honest. I know that a lot of women are raised to believe that a woman’s place is in the home but that is changing.
And I want to appeal to our women not to hold on to that excuse and not support their husbands and do what they want to do. I know that culturally, women are still held back but that is changing and it has changed for a lot of women. In Africa, 60 per cent of households are headed by women.
The men are either dead, in war, not responsible to be there for their families or polygamists and the women are left to take care of themselves and their children. The truth of the matter is that women are unfolding; they are coming out of the shell.
Also, if you want to keep a woman in the kitchen, do you have the capacity to provide for all your family needs? One income is not enough to take care of the family these days that is why the woman needs to work in or out of the home.
We should not deceive ourselves, not many men can afford not to have their wives not working in Africa. Even in Islam where women who are not allowed to come out of the house, they have their handcrafts that they do and sell.
So, a woman’s place is not in the kitchen. Moreover, when we are getting education, there is no difference, we are seen as human being who must get educated so why should there be discrimination afterwards?
Read her full interview on Tribune