By Evans Ufeli
The earth literarily stood still for Abuja at the conversation held on the 7th of June 2015 by Joy Isi Bewaji and The Conversation crew. The Abuja edition was sponsored by Nneoma Albert-Benson of the BEFA FOUNDATION and was held at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja. The Heavens kept the rains to herself and the weather made a soothing light for the event to strive.
One of the striking observations of the Abuja participants of the conversation was the enthusiasm they brought to bear, to listen to a group whose understanding of the workings of society stretches deeper than the ordinary, share experiences and unravel acceptance limits in relationships. As the event took off, strong walls moved in the minds of men; a relief reminiscent of healing bud out of the expression of women with abused history and the clog of patriarchy was shred open for a new paradigm to take its course.
Joy questioned patriarchy stating that it is a leap into dark waters infested with snakes and dangerous reptiles. She said this event was never intended as a war against men and it is not a gathering of bitter women as it has been wrongfully perceived by some group of persons. It is a gathering of men and women who believe that the imbalances in the ecosystem must be addressed for gender equalities to strive.
Funmi Akinsola, one of the headliners of the event opined that when it is said that men should run half of the home people raise red flags in the society, they become ambivalent and apprehensive. That is the imbalance in the system that ought to be addressed. Men should take up some of the roles that have been left to women by default to entrench a new society.
Joy thinks the problem is not with the men adding that if only women will act in knowledge the men will follow. She said patriarchy is unfriendly to the system. “It’s anti- society. We are stocked in an age defined by prejudices of all sort.” Joy said. In her expression she said women should not be seen anymore as mere appendages to men. It’s not normal to reduce the worth of a woman to such outlook.
Some group of men voiced out their discomfort on the ideas espoused at the event at the early stage only to get a detailed understanding of what the conversation is all about. It became an exhilarating experience for them as they saw the true essence of the conversation which was not attacking, brash or malicious.
At the heat of every climax at the event, Bunmi Adeyele infuses her thought which aptly defines the balance at each session. “In a marriage relationship the best person should be allowed to do the job and that roles should be assigned to people according to their abilities.” She said
Nneoma Albert-Benson believes some women’s psyche have become disoriented and patterned for negative realities. She cries out that when women bottled-up their pains alone to themselves which many do, it could lead to cancer. As a lawyer and social worker, she said most of the women she has work with who stayed in abuse marriages and refuse to share their ordeals died of this disease. She called on women in these conditions to speak out, share their experiences and seek help early enough.
Prisca Egbukuchi said most of pains women undergo happen because they allow it, thereafter it festers uncontrollably. She thinks women’s indolence is one major factor militating against their well-being. She thinks women should defend themselves physically against domestic violence.
Amanda Chisom said it is delusional to make generalizations on issues of this nature given that our experiences vary in tremendous ways. This uniqueness in our experiences she thinks has shaped our lives such that they form an integral part of our judgment.
Being a man or a woman in the 21st century is a function of roles Ark Benny believes so and he laid a unique insight to this effect at the event. He believes that whenever a man brags about his status as the man of the house you know he is struggling with a sense his identity. He doesn’t know who he is. This battle is the fulcrum in the mantra of patriarchy which men hide under to cover up their inabilities.
The conversation left a remarkable experience in the Abuja metropolis as the event was graced with people from all works of life. It has herald the beginning of the desired change that our society needs to entrench the value system and position us for the next level of human adventure, social discovery, conflict management, gender discrimination and economic justice.