Guest Post by Kelvin Eyinagho..
Male child preference is one cultural value In Nigeria, that is also a problem, especially in Igbo communities. In this tribe, most women tend to achieve recognition and status in their communities by the birth of their male child or children. In other words, a male child is more valued than a female child in the eastern part of Nigeria. Some will argue that it is because men are considered as assets to the family and the sustainers of lineage. However, does this mean that women are liabilities if men are assets? Others will argue that it is because men are considered as the head of the family, but could this be because females children marry out of their family to another?
This cultural stereotypes associated with gender has affected a lot of homes in Nigeria. Back in the days, men were dominantly given access to education based on this cultural stereotypical idea while women were forced into marriages. These shouldn’t sound new to many of us. Fast forward to the present age, a lot of women are unhappy because of the ignorant choices made by their parents in the past because of the devalued privilege associated with being a woman in the 70s and 80s.
Though civilization has had a significant impact on our society, paving the way for women to go to school and achieve as much as they want just like men; however, it hasn’t changed the Male child preference in some families. Especially in the eastern part of Nigeria as established earlier. Why does the gender of the child define the importance of a child to a family?
A child is a gift from God, whether male or female.
I believe it’s time we wake up and count our blessings. There is an urgent need to give closer attention to female children in Nigeria. Gender of a child doesn’t make him or her more or less valuable. This stereotypical cultural gender preferred treatment to male children needs to stop. We need to give the female child adequate education, training, encouragement, support, and love as much as will give the male child. Just like the famous saying goes; “If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate the society.”
Let’s fight against the cultural stereotype associated with gender in Nigeria.
Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions. I am looking forward to reading them.