I wrote in one of my books that some husbands may faint before objecting, should their State Governor tell them that their wives are being considered for appointment as Commissioners. One would have expected their excitement and appreciation, but they will not. It is the fear of being bossed by their wives. In the past, when jobs were seeking for workers literally, even at the high echelon, some men rejected job offers, if their boss was a woman. Woman bias!
Some men, especially the illiterate ones, believe that women are not intelligent like them and cannot therefore, be entrusted with high responsibilities. It pains me when the literate ones join the queue. They forget how, in the university, some ladies were making Alphas, while most of the men were contented with Cs. I taught in a mixed-gender college, where our best two students in academics, were girls. One of them is now the Acting Vice Chancellor of a major Federal University. In UNN, in our class of 35 students, 5 were ladies. For three years, of the 13 students, who maintained the Cumulative Point Average of Second Class Upper Division, 3 were ladies. It meant that 60% of the ladies were on that Cumulative Average, depicting a better academic performance than us! I have come to the conclusion that we are not brighter or better performers than women in any way. Our edge over them is that we are often given more opportunities than they receive. Individual gifting is thus, not gender-sensitive.
In the illustration above, I used the cumulative average because some people are quick to conclude when a lady makes it to the top that she must have slept with a lecturer. No man in my class was in doubt about their degree result. One of them was in my private study group, where we would read till 1am, almost every night. No lecturer, student or staff member, molested her sexually. In industry, once a lady is appointed a Chief Executive Officer, gossip will take the centre stage immediately that she must have slept with someone. The gossip, sadly, is not limited to men. It is the stock-in-trade of some women too. The implication is that it discourages aspiration to higher responsibilities by some women, more so, the ones that live clean lives. It does not mean that the rumour is not true all the time, but the bow is often overdrawn.
The bias has been long. Most parents, in the distant past, would send their sons to school and their daughters to the farm. Their untenable reason was that sooner or later, their daughters would be given out in marriage and the dividend of their education would be reaped elsewhere. It made their sons to be conceived as having greater value than their daughters. Irrespective of the knowledge we gleaned from the biology we studied in school, even till today, some couples divorce or their marriage is in jeopardy, because their wives delivered only female children.
A husband may fly from Lagos to Abuja and may not tell his wife until he arrived there. His defence, as usual, is golden – emergency! Aunty will, as usual, accept it, though with a pinch of salt. The only urgency in it, anyway, is that Grace, another man’s wife, called to inform him that she was travelling to Abuja by the morning flight and asked if they would meet there. Can a wife fly from their house to the next bus stop, without her husband’s visa? Some men sell their cars before telling their wives. If a wife, no matter her status, does so, wahala go repete. Her spouse may even believe that the buyer might have cheated her, as if women are nuts!
In those days, my boss, living in Victoria Island, was buying their domestic needs, claiming that he was preventing his wife from being cheated. His sickness was really about trust. Imagine a manager in an oil company, stooping down to buy tomatoes, onions, fish, et cetera! That was a man, who drove his air-conditioned car for five years, without switching on the AC. His justification was to reduce its deterioration.
Some husbands do not share intimate issues with their wives, but with their so-called friends, who are competing silently with them. Their ready defence is that their wives cannot keep secrets. After split seconds, they told their friends something, it would go viral with painful modifications. If they discover and decide to end the friendship, the friends have little to lose, but the information passed out by them, cannot be retrieved. A wife rises and falls with her spouse. This is a great challenge to women, more so, to those in the habit of disclosing intimate discussions. This is why we teach couples how to relate during couple’s seminar. A man should remove every bias in his mind about his wife and learn to trust her.
The way I started to relate to my wife after our wedding, was not comfortable with some people, especially, those that had boundary limits for women, including their wives. They were wondering what it would lead to. Today, after forty-two years we are married, nobody is left in doubt that I was right and they were wrong. We live as if our nuptial knots were tied yesterday. My wife’s sister, for instance, sent her a letter once, by post and I read it. I replied it and posted my reply before she saw her mail. My motivation is driven always by the fact that, if I forget anything that happened during our wedding, it is not that God joined us to be one till death.
Whatever bias we have against women, and whatever justification that support our position, God’s attitude to them is different. It was Mary, a lady, and not Uncle Joseph, who was betrothing her, or any rabbi in the synagogue, that God gave the revelation about the Virgin Birth of the Lord Jesus. Trust! Mary’s pregnancy was confirmed by her Aunty, Elisabeth, a woman. Trust! On the resurrection morning, the men did not remember it, but Mary Magdalene, a woman, did. She went to His tomb and saw that it was open. When she took Peter and John there, they saw the visible signs of His resurrection, but could not wait to see Him. Mary, a woman, did! It was she, a woman, who the Lord Jesus, then sent to inform Peter and the other disciples. President Obasanjo understands this well. When he was our President, he appointed women into top positions and they delivered well.
Notwithstanding, more is expected from Christian women in the family, Church and industry. They should work on their weak areas that bring conflicts. One of such is their emotion. A guest minister, while ministering, may detail the number of people he has raised from death in distant places. He may be right, but most of the time, it is not so. Most of the women will believe him and sow the seed he mentions, while their spouses are reserved, still reconsidering the issue.
For further comment, Please contact: Osondu Anyalechi: 0802 3002-471; [email protected]