[OPINION] These Times And Mystery Of Woman – Abdu Rafiu


The gender issue came to the front burner about three weeks ago in our land, arising appropriately in the wake of International Women’s Day 2022. For the period the activities marking the Day lasted there were women protests at the National Assembly in Abuja, and town hall meetings in some other towns to sensitize women on what 2023 means to their fortune. In one which I witnessed, there was talk about increasing women representation in legislative houses as well as an admonition for women to use their voting cards wisely. The old has passed away, the new laden with opportunities for women to take their destiny in their own hands is lurking in the shadows of dawn, knocking for day break and light. There is an awakening and it is obvious women will not keep quiet until they are given their rightful place under the sun, until the battle against men is won and the system that has kept them down is dismantled. They can no longer accept a situation in which out of 109 Senators, only eight are women; and in the House of Representatives that is 360 strong, only 13 are females. Of the 991 legislators in all the Houses of Assembly in the 36 states put together, only 44 are women. Indeed, there are 15 states out of the 36 that do not have women representation—at all. Yet, since the soldiers were driven out of the corridors of power and there was return of democratic order, election analysis shows that more women than men always go out to vote.

To redress what they call reinforced bias against women, they marched on the National Assembly three weeks ago to protest the rejection of three gender related bills that they had hoped would shore up their representation and make for balanced inclusion in governance. They are asking for 35 per cent of political appointments to go to women and creation of special seats for women in National and State Assemblies. It was not surprising, therefore, that the International Women’s Day 2022 campaign theme Hashtag is “BreakTheBias.” They asked the National Assembly to take another look at all the gender bills they rejected in the course of constitution amendment efforts.

The woman question will for a long time to come intrigue the world. Debates upon debates will be held whether in legislative houses or outside of them until the world understands the women and their clamour is heeded. A lady colleague sent me this as food for thought: “Imagine a world that embraces and practices gender equality. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A diverse, fair, equitable and inclusive world, where differences are valued and celebrated.” Naturally, the psychological trauma is incalculable when a person is made to feel he is second rate in a social system. There is loss of confidence and loss of self-esteem in subjugation or a feeling of inadequacy and discrimination. How instructive it is to hear many a woman say how she wished she had come as a man. Marriages that ought to provide support, succor, security and self-worth on women are breaking down like a pack of cards.

The clan of single parents resulting from marriage collapse is multiplying by the day. Studies have shown that every 42 seconds there is one divorce in America. That translates to 86 per hour, 2, 046 per day, 14, 364 per week and 746, 971 divorces per year. An online publication quoting researchers, says 41 per cent of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce; 60 per cent of second marriages go the same way and 73 per cent third marriages end in divorce and it is being forecast that 50 per cent of all marriages in the US will end in divorce or separation as time goes on. Five years ago, studies showed that divorce rate in the United States peaked at 40 per cent, varying from one socio-cultural group and educational background to the other. The statistics revealed for example, that 50 per cent of Blackman’s children were living with single parent mothers, Hispanic 28 per cent, White 19 per cent and all groups 24 per cent. Pew Research Centre studies reveal that in the United States, 23 per cent of children under the age of 18, more than three times the share of children around the world live with single parent. In China it is three per cent, India five per cent and Nigeria four per cent, Kenya 16 per cent, but in Canada, 15 per cent and UK 21 per cent. Today, 60 per cent of all divorces involve couples aged between 25 and 39 per cent in America. In this entire decline in relationships and in sanctity of marriages, it is women who are at the receiving end of the stick. Take Australia said to be a saner country as an example, the percentage of children living with single mother parents nearly tripled from eight per cent to 23 per cent between 1960 and 2016 and the percentage of those living with single parent fathers rose from 01 per cent to 04 per cent. In the United Kingdom, one-third of marriages end in divorce.

Now given women’s level of education and exposure, their access to mass media—social media, print and electronic—and all kinds of literature within reach in the global village in which we all are today, the iron resolve by women to throw off the accustomed yoke is understandable and deserving of support. During the sitting of the National Assembly to consider the amendment to the Constitution, wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari and Dolapo Osinbajo wife of the Vice-President were at the National Assembly, Aisha at the Senate and Dolapo at the House of Representatives, to push the case for the UN Affirmation Action of 35 per cent placement of women in government. They are taking off from where Stella Obasanjo and Patience Jonathan left the struggle, which was a drive for women’s inclusion at a very high level of governance. They have women prime ministers of some countries as examples beckoning to them even if the years of Golder Meir of Israel, Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka, Indra Gandhi of India and Margaret Thatcher are fading from memory. I am referring to Helle Thorning –Schmit, Prime Minister of Denmark; Yingluck Shinawarta, Prime Minister of Thailand; Johanna Sigurdartottir, Prime Minister of Iceland; Sanna Mirella Marin, Prime Minister of Finland; Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand; and Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the first female Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago –to mention just a handful. Angela Mikel stepped down as Chancellor of Germany only a couple of months ago. Theresa May was the predecessor of Boris Johnson as the British Prime Minister and Nicola Sturgeon is Leader of Government in Scotland called First Minister in Scotland. Women from other lands want to emulate them, to number among them. If Jacinda Arden at 35 can call the shots in New Zealand and Margaret Thatcher was in the saddle for 16 years in the United Kingdom why would a young lady not do the same in Nigeria? And so young lady Okunnu-Lamidi has joined the fray to occupy the Villa come 2023.

However, the arrows being fired by women under whatever guises—in movements, protest marches, conferences and seminars or outright rebellion—are often aimed at wrong targets. Dr. Azikiwe it was in 1969, who upon returning from exile during the war, said: “I love to fight, but only when the enemy is clearly identified.” The enemy the women are fighting has not been clearly identified. Who is the enemy? Is man the enemy? Are women their own enemies? Is it the social system or plain ignorance? Are women in bondage really—designed or self-inflicted? The answer lies in first unraveling the mystery of woman. Who is woman; who is she? Why does the world revolve around women even when they do not utter a word?

A woman can be defined as the female aspect of human species, distinguished by her nature and the nature of her activity. She radiates her personality which is manifest in her make-up as well as her unseen, but strongly felt and perceivable features. Some of her features which the society, indeed, human beings generally, hardly notice any longer or which they take for granted, are those things which reveal a lot about woman. When woman is discussed these features are regarded as too obvious to deserve mention. A woman is fine and delicate. Charming and graceful. But these days it is women themselves who do not want to see themselves in that mould or characterization as they dismiss it as patronizing, and socially, economically and politically inhibitive. The sing song therefore is “what a man can do a woman can do, even better.” This contention stems from the misunderstanding that their subjugation derives from unfair political, cultural and economic power wielded by men. However, hard as they may try, they cannot throw out of the window those physiological characteristics without which a woman will not be a woman.

It is instructive to note that, simply from the differences in words, which in any case express meaning, woman cannot be the same as man. For that reason, their roles must be different, although complementary. For that reason also, their role must have a purpose distinguishable from those of man and subversion or abandonment of which can bring only grave consequences. Neither man nor woman created himself or herself. As such neither created and assigned roles, implying that the answer to the gender question lies beyond their wish or will. The nature which distinguishes a woman from a man is not a biological accident. The woman is tender, fine, gentle, sensitive and perceptive. The man, on the other hand is dense, rugged, coarse and aggressive. The nature of each gender is a reflection of what it is inside. The science of radiations has proven, at least, that every tangibility is a coarse manifestation of finer essence. In other words, the outward physical differentiation of man and woman merely reflects what must be substantial differences in the nature of their core, their being, their nature.

Contrary to the widely held notion and conception in modern times, women are not men, not just in the biological differences or connotation, but in the nature of the gender of each group of the human family. Similarly, contrary to generally-held belief, especially in modern times, it is not the society that assigns roles to woman or man, but Nature. In most mobile creatures, we see male and female. And in plants, we see that each part has its own roles which are akin to the different roles the genders of the human race perform. The root of a plant, for example, is coarse, like man, and like him provides the materials, that is the ingredients and water for the plant’s sustenance. The leaves prepare them to feed the whole, to beautify the whole. The leaves, because of their finer nature, collect fine rays of the sun which provides energy. Is it any wonder the Whiteman hungers for the tropical sun in winter? Or when the waves of COVID-19 were sweeping through the land, doctors admonished Nigerians to walk through the sun for between 15 to 20 minutes every day! The leaves also collect carbon-dioxide and turn them into oxygen through what scientists call photosynthesis. These are all fine activities. Fine as a woman’s caring and tending. But the roots battle with tough, coarse, not fine activity: with rocks under the ground while at the same time, together with the stem, protect the leaves, the delicate part of a plant.

Women are closer to Nature than men are. This is as a result of their inner make-up which contains a part of higher spiritual essence which is lacking in men. With the higher spiritual make-up, she is put in a situation that she is a firm link and channel of radiations and influences from higher and purer Light Realm, indeed, Paradise. She is thus blessed with richer intuitive and perceptive faculties to sense the Will of God at all times and in every situation so she can guide. She is put in the position to readily distinguish between right and wrong, between good and evil. Thus in women are converged the rays of love and the rays of purity. Woman therefore becomes the storehouse of power. With her fine nature coupled with the fact that she stands half a step higher than man, even psychically by virtue of her make-up, she is to absorb the rays of power and mediate them to the dense man, thus passing strength to him for use in his coarse activity.

Man senses some power emanating from woman and he feels drawn to protect this inexplicable treasure. He also feels overwhelmed by woman. Man, through science, has encountered this overwhelming power in nature but has been unable, up till now, to relate it to the nature of the female species in whatever form in all levels of being. In the tiny atom, a storehouse of power, the nucleus holds the activity-prone electrons together in orbiting the shells. In the gigantic solar system the storehouse is the sun. The galaxies and the universes, too, have their own storehouses of power and so does humanity. That storehouse of power for humanity is woman! For all species of life are subject to Law, the Will of the Creator Which affects every species according to its nature. The woman, as the storehouse of power, is to keep the society, the family, etc. moving and active, a role that can be likened to the nucleus of the atom. The nucleus is a passive core surrounded by rings of electrons at distances from the core which are open to various activities subjected to chemical reactions and changes.

It follows that, with this peculiar endowment, a woman who is a mediator to men cannot be said to be the weaker sex. Man is only stronger physically to protect the woman and fend, but the woman is just as powerful in her own nature and tasks. Man and woman (male and female) represent the state of necessary balance all too evident around us; equilibrium in the activity of the positive and the negative forces of life; negative in not the derogatory sense but as designation of a passive, unobtrusive, complementing equal role. Doctors worry when the blood system is out of balance, which is when the Ph shifts from neutrality towards alkalinity or acidity. Soils similarly not in tune are infertile and are even prone to restoration of balance by natural forces such as earthquakes. Woman as a counterpoise to man is the bridge on which he must journey back home, by which is meant, without her he is lost in the world of matter. It is obvious that Nature deliberately endowed woman with a finer essence, which her body mirrors so that in the ensuing homogeneity with the finer and purer currents of life, she may easily link up with these forces, and absorbing them, mediate strength to her menfolk, who being coarse and alien to these forces, cannot reach out to them on their own. On the other hand, the sturdier man is to reciprocate, for balance, with her protection and sustenance through the facility of his own coarser natural gifts. Where either forsakes its role and duty to the other, the structure inevitably collapses as in the chaos that follows an uncontrolled splitting of the atom’s nucleus. Could the distress in the world today not have arisen from such imbalance in the activities and weaving of human species?

With the mystery of woman now revealed drawing from the unique higher knowledge available to all mankind on earth today, it becomes necessary to draw attention to what flows out of the recognition as the passive force with all pervading influence on man and children. With woman constituting the bridge and mediator of sustained power, she forms the support, holding the balance in the family. Her special attributes enable her to draw virtues from On High which she uses to beautify and ennoble her community as well. With her finer and deeper sensing ability she is more readily able to tell the nature of wrong and right as evidenced in the dream of Pontius Pilate’s wife during the trial of the Lord Christ when howling mob and the high priests wanted Him crucified. She said to her husband: “Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him.”

Through this ability, a woman is said to have sharper sixth sense otherwise known as intuition which she uses to sense dangers even before they approach, and she alerts the man who gets ready to ward them off. She is able to notice fine points in a child and any stain in his dress or anything untoward in his breathing, or even notice cobwebs or water on the floor or on the table which man in his obtuseness may not see readily, if he sees at all. With her gift of discerning wrong from right her sense of judgment is striking, direct and correct. She is in a position to guide her husband in business, who his business partners should be, in government as prime minister or president who the ministers, and senior functionaries, should be. Something talks to her.

In love and care, a woman can be absorbed in the care of others, her husband and children to the exclusion of her own comfort. In selfless love she throws herself on the side of right with absolute disregard to her personal consequences. To know a woman is when her child faces a threat of danger. Like mother hen she will throw herself completely into the danger with total disregard to her own safety, regardless of her level of education, exposure or social standing.

How these political pursuits and exertions by women entering executive fray is compatible with roles assigned to them by Nature is a poser for each person to answer. Meanwhile with abandonment of priceless gifts and perversion of roles and tasks, we can all see, in consequence, that the world is upside down.

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