Monday, March 4, 2024

May be the country should consider setting up a women’s development bank

Dignity for women is still something that we often hear more about but which in reality is not happening.

There is still a lot of discrimination against women.

Violence, which manifests itself in rape and physical abuse, is still very much endemic.

The situation is worse in more rural areas where we often see traces of modern day slavery, not to mention forced marriages for young girls.

But this is not to say that urban areas are in any way immune.
For many women security and safety are everyday worries, economic discrimination is still subtly condoned and more often for them to succeed women have to work more than twice their counterparts to attract the same recognition. This cannot be right.

Sadly the more successful women among our nation are in more ways than one conniving and conspiring with their male counterparts to suppress fellow women and ensure perpetual degradation which has effectively relegated a good majority of women in this country to being second class citizens.

Ours is still very much a feudal society that is paternalistic in outlook, chauvinistic in attitude and patriarchal in its structure.

From a very early age, daughters are made to believe that somehow they are lesser people than their brothers, including in the eyes of God. More often than not, daughters are taught from an early age to sublimate their energies towards taking care of their husbands, while sons are themselves socialized to become leaders with wealth and ambition in their sights.

While daughters are trained from an early age to defer to their male counterparts, sons, on the other hand are socially prepared to aim for higher and bigger responsibilities, including the running of their communities.

Of course, on account of our pretentions to modernity, we often try to hide these realities, but the truth of the matter is that behind the high walls of our families, even the so called modern and westernized families practice the same. This is mainly because paternalism, at least as a way of socialization, is deeply engraved in our societal belief system as an impregnable way of life so much so that it is encoded as a kind of DNA arrangements that are, without choice, passed from one generation to the next.

Embracing women’s rights as human rights has to go beyond just the rhetoric.

As a nation, we have to wean ourselves from the complacency that often conceals the fact that woman are still far behind economically.

We are of the view that even as there is a handful of women who have really made it by way of breaking the ceiling into the power structures that are laden with men, those women have not really shown sufficient passion to become role models or inspiration for other women.

That is unpardonable.

Other commercial banks have within their halls already established more distinct banking products, including those that are religion specific.

It should be a source of shame that the said banks have still not seen it fit to come up with banking streams specifically tailored for women.

In that respect, it is our view that it may be time the country seriously thought of establishing a development bank specifically for women, especially those in the rural areas whose distinct circumstances and needs are not addressed by existing banking facilities.

Many women would want to start businesses, but for assistance they have to approach the same institutions that have been created and continue to be dominated by men.

These institutions are not sensitive to women’s economic, much less social peculiarities.
No special dispensation exists for women. Because no such dispensation exists, it is, in fact, not an exaggeration to say that those institutions serve to further consolidate the already existing economic differentials that we see before men and women in our society.

As a modern society, there really is something wrong when we have a good majority of our people still feeling helpless even as they desire to economically liberate themselves from the institutional system that from a closer look does not appear very much different from the seventeenth century feudal system.


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