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The Unvarnished: Girls Club… But Who’s Speaking for the Boys?



Am I the only one who sees gender equality and forgets that it’s actually about the equality of both sexes, not just the equality of females to males? Males have been held as the standard to which the equalities are measured and every feminist, whether of the third or seventh wave will continue to strive for this until the equalities are set.

These inequalities are experienced differently. For example, in Nigeria, there is no inequality as to pay. Workers usually key into a structured payment scheme or are paid according to their negotiating power. But we still have rampant cases of child-brides and Female Genital Mutilation.

Conversely, these cases are very rare in the Unites States and Europe, but the women there earn less than their male counterparts – even with the same (or more) qualifications.

Now, I wonder, if Hilary Clinton had won the presidential election in the United States, would she have earned a salary commensurate to being a female president or commensurate to being president?

The female child in this century has enjoyed an unprecedented and gradually tailored advantage(s) that seeks to set her at par with the male child: unapologetic strides that are to negate the effects of the inequalities suffered through the ages. We think, and deservingly too, that the female child should have the same privileges and chances at development as her male counterparts. But should we be doing this at the cost of the stagnated development of the male child?

Let me be quick to state that I am well aware of the statistics; and beyond numbers, I bear my own scars of this misogyny. A lot has been done and more needs to be done to edge out the gaps in the disparity. I will not sniff at strides made since the laws were passed that recognized the rights of women to hold properties, vote, or have the right to the voice with which I speak today. There is no denying that the efforts of such organizations including ONE, OXFAM, or the Wadi Ben Hirki Foundation are hard won battles that have been fought over and over on many fronts. These are struggles I continue to show up for whenever the call is made. One thing you learn quickly with this cause is that sometimes you will still have to fight already won battles.

There are 130 million girls in the world who do not have access to education. If that were a country, it would be the tenth largest country in the world. That may seem like a lot of girls staying at home. Until you consider that there are 230 million children and youths out of school in the world. What about the boys? About 100 million of them, if we are right. Who speaks for them?

This might be an unpopular stance to take right now: advocating for the equal development and opportunities for the male child. Females are still being abused, prioritized over male children, given off in child marriages, subject to abominable cultural practices, and two fifths of them are never born due to preference for sons. But we are creating an epidemic. A gradual see-saw like effect of what it means when the equities are unequal just as they were several centuries ago.

It is may be quite telling that what we view as advancements for females may actually be a sort of negative inequality. The truth is that, the men of this age are becoming less equipped academically, emotionally and financially to partner with females in marriage, at the work place, and in leading the nation.

The equalities are only becoming set because men are gradually becoming as ill-equipped as women. Since a larger percentile of females still suffer major disadvantages in the world, the number of women helped does not negate the inequalities because we have gradually deprived the male folk of the same support and help system that has aided the female child. How do you teach something is good for both while depriving one of them of it?

In 45 developing countries in the world, there are more girls in school than boys. And if you think this is a ‘developing world” problem, girls are 58 per cent more likely to apply to the University than boys in the United Kingdom. Prime Minister, Theresa May, said just last year that “If you are a white, working class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to University”.

Nowadays, to qualify for opportunities, you have to be have some sort of societally perceived disadvantage(s) set against you. You have to be female, a minority or from the MENA regions (Middle East and North Africa). Few programmes such as “Ashinaga” are unbiasedly targeted towards any deserving student. Hardly would you see a program that is focused strictly towards the male child.

Let me reiterate that there is still a lot of work to be done. According to the UHR report, 15 million girls of primary school age would never get the chance to go to school. Over 9 million, which is more than half of this figure, live in sub-Saharan Africa. Some of you have them as maids in your houses.

But it is a pyrrhic victory we offer if we continue to focus on the females alone. Let us ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past by attempting to clap with one hand. Let us reconsider these kernels of acts that give without solving the larger problem. Let us start with us.

Photo Credit: Kadettmann | Dreamstime

'Bimbola Adeluwoye is a lawyer by training and an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) enthusiast. She is also the founder of Ma Belle, an organization that teaches social and emotional skills to youths. A Peugeot lover, she can be reached for talks and commentary at [email protected]


  1. i said it na

    August 22, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    See, i said it long ago.

    The focus is on women and we can see the negative impact already.

    In most offices now, you have 70% female workers to 30% men ratio. These ladies by the virtue of being empowered or favoured cos they are females, have an upper hand than their male colleagues they graduated from school together….and since no lady will date/marry downwards, we now have many successful, employed and so called rich girls left with no husbands to marry.

    The high rate or divorce is also linked to this as these so called empowered girls feel there is no need for a male figure in their lives or better still wash their partners with all manner of insults and derogatory statements all in the name of i have arrived

    Every job vacancy, you will see at the bottom ( females are advised to apply) bla bla bla

    Very soon, i forsee rich men marrying road side mechanics and shoe makers or majority of them turning to lesbians.

  2. Ada

    August 22, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    I’m just going to call this one #Boyslivesmattertoo <_<

    You don't need to talk about feminism or equality to make the case for why boys need an education. *mshew*

  3. Tayo

    August 22, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Lol I hate when people try to hide their misogyny under the guise of advocating or being fair. All around the world, boys are not denied going to school because they are boys, it’s because of poverty usually, but girl are denied schooling just because they are girls and poverty. There are groups that deal with poverty and in those instances BOYS are not denied opportunities.

    Girls go to school more because guess what a lot of us are aware it is a privilege that we can and secondly we know it is probably the major way to compete in a patriarchal world. If you’re a white working class man, the world is your footstool. Did you ever think that in societies where females are more in school, it might be because the population is more female? Females are not taking opportunities from boys, those opportunities are there, so why aren’t boys making using of them?

    Equality is not about giving the same treatment, it’s about Fairness, boys don’t need that many programs because the world already caters to boys, they are the normal, our culture caters to boys, those programs are to equal the scales. So pls stop with this whining, it is pathetic.

  4. Anon

    August 22, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    So….what’s your point? You acknowledged that patriarchy is a system created and maintained by men used to oppress women and set men as the default, so what exactly do you want women to do? Are you just afraid of coming off as angry? Because women are offended then shamed for being angry

    *ps feminists don’t want to be men, they just want the choice to be whoever they are without being shamed. And the choice to air their grievances without being shamed. the choice to be a housewife or childless career woman or married career woman or makeup lover or slay queen or not

  5. Nahum

    August 22, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    ???? Why do you people do this? Why?? You know exactly what the feminist are fighting for and why and yet you spend so much time trying to derail or distract the march towards full equality of the sexes.

    NOBODY is ignoring the male child, maybe you are. School programs focus on the emotional and mental well being of ALL kids regardless of race or gender, yes, more attention may be paid to children with an obvious disadvantage (financial, physical or mental) but it does not change the fact that’s ALL children must leave school properly equipped to face the challenges that life offers. Once these kids become adults, the get into the workforce, then programs to address disadvantages (gender, race) are addressed to level the playing field. So kindly explain how the male child is ignored?

  6. Berrie

    August 23, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    have y’all noticed the ratio of women who are bread winners in the family to men? in the name of “the girl power movement” some men have become so comfortable to sit in the house, chill with friends and enjoy his “strong girl-powered wife” provide everything for him and more women are taking into the same setting. we even have more independent women who just need a man to call husband, they don’t mind the bills.

    we need to open our eyes and see how boys are becoming less cultured, less educated, less motivated, less confident, less ambitious; and nobody cares.

    the equity is when we offer opportunities again for the male children; because the silent and unnoticed neglect we offer them is building a generation of unmotivated men; and this transforms them to become the kind of husband you don’t want, the kind of leader you won’t vote for, the kind of colleague you can’t trust, the kind of boss that lacks competence.

    I believe the essence of the feminist movement, and that is why it is necessary to prepare competent men to support and be companions to them.

    Good job, Abimbola.

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