International Men’s Day: What We Can Do to Improve our Society

On November 19, the world celebrated the International Men's Day to highlight positive values men bring to the world, their families and communities. In this piece, Akingbolahan Adeniran urges men to do better in building more inclusive societies in Nigeria and Africa

Over the weekend, I accompanied a female relative and her baby to a clinic to see a doctor.

When the doctor came to get us from the reception, I noticed that he greeted me, but not her. Also, the initial questions about the baby were addressed to me. It was only after he realized that I was simply accompanying my relative that he started focusing on her.

Every now and then, I receive the odd request from female friends to book appointments for them with artisans because they believe the artisans take men more seriously.

Another time, a guy who used to drive me around reached out to me to refer other driving gigs to him. When I contacted him about an opportunity to drive a female relative, he declined, saying he did not like working with women.

These are just a few examples of deep-rooted gender bias I have noticed around me. Sadly, our women continue to contend with these barriers in virtually every aspect of their social and professional lives.

I keep saying it – Nigeria will continue to stagnate if we fail to unlock (sic: unleash) the potential of half of our population. Women and girls are held back from fully contributing to development by a myriad of problems, including discrimination, domestic violence, and sexual violence.

On this year’s International Men’s Day, I wish to refocus our attention on the issue of conscious and subconscious gender bias. Recognizing that we all have this bias is the first step to tackling the problem.

Akingbolahan Adeniran, a rule of law and international accountability expert, previously served as the Attorney-General of Ogun State, in Nigeria


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