Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gender inequality and Peace education – My Reflections

Discrimination in any guise is a form of structural violence and thus an impediment to the evolution and entrenchment of a sustainable culture of peace.

Being a sociological attitude that usually acquired and adopted in the context of what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ in a society, gender inequality usually goes unchallenged in many societies because the oppressed group (the women) grow up being conditioned to passively accept the ‘natural’ roles foisted upon them by the society.

With such general acceptance of the stereotype roles, even cases of physical abuses are accepted as being ‘normal’ in many societies because of the chauvinist orientation that pervades the social structure.

To achieve a culture of peace in our societies, everyone must be free to participate fully to best of his/her abilities without any form of limiting prejudices or discrimination. Our learners have to be guided to see both males and females as being capable of becoming the best in any field of human endeavour they feel inclined to follow.

We are in a world in which the definition of POWER has moved away from physical brute strength to mean scientific/technological prowess, and getting learners to see things from this angle will make them realize that a man does not in any way have a superior advantage over a woman. This will help them to learn to see women as equal partners who are endowed with all the innate abilities men have.

Our mostly societies are still mostly male dominated and thus the various policies and societal rules are made by men. The few concessions that are allowed to women are made from a male point of view, and mostly don’t consider the actual needs and capabilities of the women. So, instead of working towards the creation of a level playing ground for all, what you have are mostly concessions being made to women on the basis of male perceived requirements and needs.

To me, gender equality that would contribute to the entrenchment of peace should be grounded on giving EVERYONE equal opportunity. Women shouldn’t beg or fight for ‘their’ rights, they should be free to be part of the society to the best of their abilities without their sex being a condition for ‘granting’ them concessions.

Considering the natural compassionate nature of women, their participation in world issues on an equal basis would certainly reduce the tendency of our society to be violent.


  1. Ibrahim,

    Women shouldn't have to fight for their rights but I'm afraid that they will be waiting a long time if they don't. I'm not sure there has ever been a time in history where any oppressed group has not had to fight (violently or non-violently) for their rights. It is unfortunate that most leaders, or people in general, cannot see the merits of equality for all.

    In there any kind of women's movement in Nigeria?


  2. Gwen,
    There are lots of women movements but their efforts is not much proactive.
    The leaders of most of the organizations are simply with minor political and public offices which carry little weight in terms of policy design and implementation.
    The few women who get to the top of their careers aren't much active in the gender rights efforts.
    While the task is for the women, the more we men are able to accept women as capable equals, the easier it will be to actualize the vision of gender equality in the society.

    It'll certainly change, but it will take some time


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This work by Ibrahim K. Oyekanmi (mallamibro@gmail.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.