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20 April 2016
Last Thursday, 14 April 2016, makes it exactly two years that 219 school girls were abducted by Boko Haram insurgents in Chibok, Borno State. The fate of the Chibok girls makes it important for us to reflect on the challenges women face under capitalism and the solutions that socialism has to all these.
It is a well known fact that women face oppression. This oppression of women is rooted in class society, for the capitalists' benefits and double exploitation of women. The ruling class also view that women are suited for childbearing, domestic chores, sex objects for enjoyment; while ignoring the role they can play and the contribution they can make in improving the society.
Women are discriminated against in health, political representation, labour market, education, pension system and so on. As socialists, we take the fight for the liberation of women as an indispensable component of the struggle for socialism.
Statistics show that one in five women will experience sexual assault at some point in their lives. The way women dressed have nothing to do with rape, rape is about power and control not just about sex. Some men think they can control women in all aspect in life including sexually. Research shows that 75% of rape is planned in advance. The act of blaming victims of rape and not the rapist should be stopped.
Women with low income might not have the ability of leaving violent relationships due to the inability of affording quality and decent housing which may eventually leads to their deaths. Also, marital rape should be recognized as a crime as more than a man exercising his proper authority.
Underfunding of educational system means more girls will be out of school. This will have more adverse effect on girls due to complicated problems and needs of the home which the parents and guardians are yet to meet up with. Also due to the fact that some parts of Nigeria have the view that the girl-child should be more trained in domestic work rather than education. Also the rise in tuition fee alongside living costs and youth unemployment, means that students (girls) will be forced to take up unsafe jobs (prostitution, strip clubs etc.).
Underfunding of the health sector implies an increase in mortality rate of women during childbirth, pregnancy period and the deaths of women with curable diseases.
One of the wrong beliefs is that women cannot and should not have ambition in political areas or matters, due to our native laws, customs and traditional beliefs. However, Socialists disagree. We say that women should be well represented in politics, profession and workplaces.
In both manual and non-manual jobs (work of equal value) women earn less than men. Women faced lots of challenges in workplace like insecurity, sexual harassment, inequality in pay, insufficient maternity leave and so on.
Insecurity is a main issue that affects women because the management does not provide enough security for women in their workplace which may leads to rape, sexual assault and so on. Also, male employers harass the female employees for promotion and increment of salary/wages that ought to have been effective.
Inequality in payment of work of equal value is also an issue that can't be overlooked. This is supported by capitalists that female are weaker sex, that cannot perform work as the male. Meanwhile research has discovered that females can perform more roles and make contributions that can improve the society.
Insufficient maternity leave leads to physical and emotional stress for women. It also affects the efficiency of women.
All of these put together shows that there is need for women to fight for a different kind of society – without divisions of class, race, gender, run in the interests of the majority and not the tiny rich minority which is SOCIALISM.