Using her life’s experience and that of her friend as instances, Kosy Frances Anyawu shares why a lot of women are unable to achieve so much in their career.
I want to share a little of my experience building my career as a woman in Nigeria, why I think a lot of women are unable to push their careers forward and do what they want to do simply because they are women. Dear humans, never overburden the girl child with chores.
Everyone in the home should actively participate without specific gender role on who does what. I remember when I was learning to code in 2014, I travelled to the village (that is what we call my parents hometown) for the Christmas holiday.
I had a lot of take-home coding exercises to do and made a terrible mistake of traveling along with my family. In the village, I would clean, babysit, cook, etc for the extended family. There was a lot of chores to be done and the women in the house were tasked with doing them.
I complained to my parents and my dad was actively telling everyone that I needed to study and they were responding with things like, “Is she not a girl?”, “Is it the laptop that we will eat?”, “Should she not be in the kitchen?”
But my dad was not around me all the time to help me push back and I could do nothing back then. When my brothers went to help out, my uncles would ask them, “where is Kosy, what is she doing?” And they would reply, “She needs to study, she has coding exercises to do”.
They even said things like, “Won’t she get married?”, “Will her husband eat laptop?” I have not gone to the village since then. Why did I bring this up? Some days ago, I went to visit a friend whom I had been encouraging to learn how to code. I met her upset and really stressed.
She said her husband got back home earlier and went to sleep, but she just came back and had to cook because there was no food in the house and the husband was saying he was hungry. I was shocked. I asked why the husband did not cook, she said, that’s how he does.
But the husband knows how to cook. I was surprised because if it was my dad, he would have prepared food without waiting for my mum, me or my siblings. This still happens today though.
She was really sad and said to me, “Kosy, is this how I am going to learn how to code? Where is the time? My husband does not help with chores. I go to work, come back to cook and clean and take care of the kids and he is just there watching TV.”
That helped me understand more of why my parents encouraged me to push my career and not just jump into marriage after school, that when you get married, things get tougher, except you are married to someone who understands that a specific gender does not belong in the kitchen.
But in this time and age, a lot of people still have that mentality which is very sad. Dear men, this is the 21st century, you need to do better. Your wives and daughters have their lives to live and career goals to pursue. What is the excuse?