Commemorating International Women’s Day 2018:

(Oops!! This should have been posted over a month ago to commemorate International Womens Day. Anyway it’s better late than never….)

Below is an article, published in This Day Newspaper (click here to read) to commemorate last week’s International Womens Day. Hope you enjoy it and looking forward to your feedback –

While being interviewed by a national newspaper shortly before publishing a review of my book, “Overcoming Painful Emotions: A Guide”, I was asked by the reporter: “in view of the contents of your book, would you say you are a feminist, Mrs. Oni? “I shuddered inwardly and quickly replied that I was not a feminist and had nothing to do with the feminist agenda. I wanted to be as far away from feminism as possible, without even understanding what it meant.

In the Charismatic/ Pentecostal circles where I belong, to call one a feminist is virtually an insult, almost like you are denying your faith. When speaking at an all women’s event, the first statement I made was that men and women are equal. In my naïveté I thought that was pretty obvious, but I was al­most stoned out of the hall. In horror, I listened to women accuse me of stating near blasphemy in their own minds equality of the sexes. After a very difficult session in which more than half of the women vehemently disagreed with me, a woman met me outside and accused me of subtly trying to introduce my feminist agenda into the system. She even quoted George Or well in Animal Farm some animals are equal than others. I was so offended at being linked with feminism, and was literally stewing days after.

When I got back to my base, I was still angry; firstly, at being labeled a feminist and secondly, that in the 21st century even8 people still think that women are inferior to men. I didn’t understand that I was contradicting myself. I was so furious that I recorded something for Youtube, which, thankfully, my son deleted by mistake or providence, because it was so laden with emotion and would have exhibited my ignorance (the recording was my way of ventilating my angst).

Different Types of Feminism

The word “feminism” and its derivatives have dogged me for the last few years. I even listened to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on ‘Ted Talks’ make a case for feminism “Why we should all be feminists”. I asked a professor friend who has written several dissertations on gender issues about it, and for the first time I learnt that there are different kinds of feminism, including Liberal feminism, Marxist feminism, Socialist feminism, Radical feminism, Separatist feminism, Ecological feminism, Christian feminism, Biblical feminism and Islamic feminism. With mouth open, I asked her which group she fell into and she declined to give an answer. See another one run­ning from that word!

So what’s with this word? An­other friend and I dis­cussed the is­sue, and when she asked me if I was feminist , I couldn’t avoid answering. By this time, we had both learnt that feminism is actually open to so many interpretations. She finally pinned me down for my own interpretation, and I had to ad­mit that, yes, I am a feminist, because I firmly believe that men and women are equal in value, but different. I also believe that every woman should be enabled to attain wholeness and expression, thereby maximising her God given potential. I believe in equal pay for equal work.

Even after this confession, I was still in awe of this word, so one evening, I typed in my search engine, “what’s all the brouhaha about feminism”, and to my delight, I happened on a collection of essays edited by Margaret Helen Hobbs and Carla Rice titled, ‘Gender and Women studies in Canada: Critical terrain’. I was able to see that my fear of the word feminist, is actually because of the negative stereotypes associated with the word such as feminists hate men and God, feminists cannot be stay at home mums, all feminists are prochoice, feminists hate the idea of family, all feminists believe in the same thing, and men are not feminists.

Definition of Feminism

Going by a dictionary meaning of the word ‘feminism’, which is (a) a belief in the socio, political and eco­nomic equality of the sexes and (b) the move­ment as­sociated with this body then I am unashamedly a feminist and a Biblical feminist for that matter.

That’s why I am joining my voice with millions all over the world to wish us Happy International Women’s Day. Let’s make it our day, and do what we can to truly make a positive difference in the lives of women, and foster gender equality. We don’t all have to picket or carry placards, but let us do something which could be as little encouraging that teenager to fully express her God given talents, telling that woman to go for that job or start that business, or say no to that abuse.

That’s why I am joining my voice with millions all over the world to wish us Happy International Women’s Day. Let’s make it our day, and do what we can to truly make a positive difference in the lives of women, and foster gender equality. We don’t all have to picket or carry placards, but let us do some­thing which could be as little encouraging that teenager to fully express her God given talents, telling that woman to go for that job or start that business, or say no to that abuse.

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