WOMEN EMPOWERMENT: A PHILOSOPHICAL APPRAISAL
Women empowerment is human right that lies at the heart of development and achievement of millennium development goals. There is sample historical evidence to indicate that, there is discrimination against women all over the world and this is due to common belief that women are inferior to men. Evidence abound in philosophical circle about derogatory perception of women scholars such as Aristotle, Nietzsche, hegel and Descartes. Most women are discriminated against in performance of some duties not because of their inability to carry out the action but because of their sex.
This work is set to expose and appraise the sub-ordinate position of women in our society. In this chapter, we shall see what is empowerment, discrimination and the different aspects to women discrimination, such as the physiological and psychological aspects of discrimination against women.
In chapter two, we shall discuss the place of women in the society, such places like family, labour market and education, and we shall also address the question that often comes to mind “Are men and women equal?.
In chapter three, we shall discuss the implications of women’s discrimination to the well being of the society and the significance of women’s empowerment in our society.
The summary, conclusion and suggestion shall be finally articulated in chapter four. This work will help us to asses the value of women and the benefits of their empowerment to the development of the society.
1.2 CONCEPT CLARIFICATION
According to BBC English dictionary “empowerment is when someone is empowered to do something or given authority or power to do something”. Again is defined as to give somebody the power or authority to act. It is having more control over their life or more power to do something. It also means to give authority or power to authorize, give strength and confidence to. It is the legal roght to do something. Empowerment is having authority, confidence and the strength to do something.
Empowerments in relation to women is the ability of women to control and direct things which affect them. It is the provision of adequate opportunity to women to development potential and contribute to the development of the nations in particular and to the world in general. It is the provision of conducive environment and the opportunities to women to contribute their quota to the social, political and economic development of a nation it is the capacity to mobilize resources to produce beneficial social changes. Women empowerment therefore authority and power to act as their male counter parts do.
Oxford English Dictionary defines discrimination “as a recognize distinction between people and things or treat one person or group worse or better than others.”2 It is unfair treatment people because of their religion, race or other personal feature. It is the practical of treating one person or group of people less family or less well than other people or group. It also means a recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another or good judgment or taste. Discrimination is a sociological term of referring to the treatment taken toward or against a person of a certain group in consideration based solely on class or category. Discrimination is the actual behaviour towards another group from opportunities that are available to other group. It involves excluding and restriction on members of one group or rejection. It is the ability or power to see or make fine distinction, discernment. It is a treatments or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit. It refers to any instance of treating someone in a less favourable manner on the basis of that person’s characteristics.
Discrimination is not only one sided thing women discriminate against women, men against men, women against men, men against women.
In the course of this work, wish to discuss discrimination against women. Women has been discriminated against in so many ways, almost in every aspect of their lives. Though there skill exist discrimination among women, women discriminate themselves. There are some instances that it is the women tat does not want to give way to her fellow woman. Some stereotyped women believe that their place is I the kitchen and not the public sector. But we are going to discuss discrimination against women by their male counter part, at the level of culture, politics religion, economic and education.
Sex discrimination refers to the deferential treatment of women and men on the basis of their categorical membership, gender without consideration of individual differences in terms of ability competence, inclination and commitment. Women occupy the inferior positions and regarded as the weaker sex. They are the ones who receive the lesser (or no) are of the valued societal good. Aristotle as a philosopher saw women as naturally weak and licentious. To him women are “unfinished men.”3 from early childhood women learn that the world of individual achievement is closed to them and that their primary vocation is to please and serve men. In our society men are allowed, encouraged, to be daring to reach out and accomplish a project. Men are supposed to be rational, inventive and creative, but less is expected of women.
Women are always under the control of men, either directly or indirectly. Their discrimination starts from the family. They are expected to be dependent on the male folks and do as they are commanded or ordered to do so this they called “ the act of been submissive”. They are regarded as the second class citizens. Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women defines discrimination “as they distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or mulling the recognition, enjoyment or exercise? Women are discriminated through the following ways.
Culturally speaking, women have been discriminated against. Men are considered naturally more analytic, aggressive and interested in success while women are considered as nurturing, compassionate better at child bearing and care worse at exciting decision making. In our culture women are treated as the second sex. Men behave as if they are the subjects, treating women as the objects, thus disproving them of the responsibility for their own life for example the T.V cultural in Nigeria permits men to offer their wives as entertains to their visitors. According to Dobkin “natural derived women choice and make them to attend the interest of others, husbands, parents and lads in place of their own”.4 culture demands women to marry on time, otherwise, she would find it hard to get married at a later data. I came to a conclusion that culturally or otherwise girls are considered as milk once split, it cannot be picked up. They are not expected to choose their mate. Culturally women are considered desirably by men or sex and child bearing.
Most religions either directly or indirectly discriminates against women or support their discrimination. Christianity and some other religions believe that women should be submissive to men. In Gen 3:16b 1 quote “----- and they desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall over thee”.5 women are excluded from the position of priesthood in the Christendom, as well as the Muslims. Women are more in number yet most discriminated against. In water town church Rev. D. Timothy Labouf dismissed Mary Lambert as a Sunday school teacher for an adult class after she’s been on the job for over 50 years, making reference to 2timothy 2:11 and 12.
Women are expected to learn in quietness and full submission. Woman are not expected to each or have authority over a man, she must be silent. According to Aristotle women are unfinished men.
Women have skill, potentials, intelligent, brilliant, smart but why is t that up till now they are not fully given, if at all, women are expected to go to minor position and not major ones like the position of president and the vice-president. They are seen as inferior to men and regarded as second class citizen and should be subordinate to men. They should nor seek for tops in political level because they would not even be considered. They are alleged that thus has to do with patriarchal hierarchies in society. Politically women are sublime in budgetary consideration and participation in matters of self interest.
In united states of American, only three women have served as their governors. And in Nigeria a women was made Governor for three months. None has become the presidents or the vice- president. They are excluded to some extent from political offices.
Most women are now educated not like the ancient times where women were not regarded as people who should be educated. But skill educated women are advised and convinced to stay in their place because they are expected to work in women’s jobs and one wonders if really men and women always do different works. But what causes job segregation today? Is it that women are not seen as men capable in doing the jobs regarded as men’s job?.
At working place, women are sexually harassed. An organization arose to fight against all forms of discriminating acts, with the aim to liberate women from the stereotyped roles which they have been wicked into and prevents their development for example the CEDAW (convention on the elimination of all forms of disc rumination against women. Economically women are poor; through women have also contributed indirectly to increase in productivity and long run economic growth through unpaid work, both at home raising children and in their communities. Women are not given greater economic opportunities. Women are regarded as not economically capable to produce goods. More so, they lack capital. This is evident in the men’s domination of virtually every sector of the country’s economy like the import and export, industrial, transport, agricultural and commercial sector. The effect is that women participation in public affairs is drastically reduced because they do not possesses the material base for political and socio-economic self-assertiveness6.
1.3 Different Aspect to Women Discrimination
Women has been discriminated against because of their physical nature. They are regarded as been physically weaker than men, women’s destiny is said to be rooted in their physical nature or can be traced to biology. The characteristics of women is used against her for example in Oragite in Anambra state, where i come from, a woman is not allow to climb a pal or tree because of her bodily features or characteristics. Women’s physical nature makes them to look less perfect in the eyes of their male counter parts. According to Aristotle, he believed that women are colder than men and thus less perfect and therefore like infertile men. Women are regarded to be in virtue of a particular inability.
Women are discriminated physiologically. The mental characteristics or attitude of a women is said to be irrational.
According to Aristotle; woman is more compassionate than man. More easily moved to tears, while at the same time being more jealous, more querulous, more apt to sold and to strike. She is more prone to despondency and less hopeful than the man, more void of shame or self-respect, more false of speech, more deceptive and more retentive memory7. Women are regarded as the non- thinking being