WORDOC: Striving to ‘balance for better’ by closing gender gaps
THE Women’s Research and Documentation Centre (WORDOC) of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, in celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day, decided to screen UduakIsong’s movie, ‘House Husband’, to highlight important roles of women in the home front, as well as in the society.
The International Women’s Day, which is commemorated every March 8, is used by the United Nations (UN) to recognize women as key players in societal development and to address challenges restraining women from achieving their full potentials.
With the global theme ‘Balance for Better’, the occasion emphasises societal benefits that would be derived through male-female partnerships.
In his welcome address, the Director of the Institute of African Studies, Dr Ismael Jimoh, admitted that much would be achieved when men and women work together for societal progress.
Dr Jimoh commended WORDOC for the good work it is doing in highlighting issues affecting the womenfolk.
In her opening remarks, WORDOC Coordinator, Dr Sharon Adetutu Omotoso, said the organisation achieved a lot last year, especially in areas of women’s participation in politics, outreach to girls and grassroots mobilisations.
“It is not enough for women to only go out to vote during elections, but they must also put themselves forward for political positions. Following this year’s International Women’s Day’s theme, which is ‘Balance for Better’, both men and women must see to balancing their private and public lives, cultivating non-discriminatory, gender-sensitive spaces. This will be WORDOC’s focus in all her programmes this year,” Dr Omotoso said.
The chairperson on the occasion, Professor Olutoyin Jegede, said the theme explained the roles women and men play in the society. Professor Jegede said more advocacy is still needed so that men and women could work in synergy for a better society.
The screened movie, presented popular scenarios of working males and housewives who are believed to be doing next to nothing back home.
Despite the complaints of his wife, Chude did not care, as he kept telling his wife that she did not expect him to return home after struggling for family survival, and then start doing some house chores, or even cooking for himself.
After a while, Chude lost his job, and his wife, who had been expecting her husband to appreciate her for the work she was doing at home, came up with an idea that she had found a contract job.
Chude, being unemployed, now had to take care of the home front while his wife was away at work. This experience changed his perception of women!
A senior lecturer in the Theatre Arts Department, University of Ibadan, Dr Tunde Awosanmi, described the movie as one that described the average African man accurately.
Dr Awosanmi said many men believed that their responsibility at home is just to provide for the family, and not assist in other areas.
“This film allows us to assess ourselves; to know how balanced we are at the home front, workplace, society, among other places”.
“It highlights the decadence of capitalism from men to women and this is where balance for better comes to the fore within social structures,” Dr Awosanmi said. Other panelists including Mr. Paul Emokhare and Deborah Adeojo equally advocated for safe spaces for women across spheres.
While also speaking, Professor Bolanle Awe encouraged everyone to strive to close the gender gaps, saying “we should no longer have male and female chores at home, and this is the only way we can eradicate the gender stereotype.”
Professor Awe then commended WORDOC for its efforts towards projecting the cause of women in the country.