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#GirlOnTheStreet: What Has Gender Inequality Cost You?

Updated: Mar 24, 2020

Every day, young women and girls across Africa lose out on something important because of systemic gender inequality. From missing out on quality education, to being rubbed of their childhood as they are forced into early marriages, to not having access to equal pay or to job opportunities that could change their lives. According to the British Council’s 2012 Gender report, "in Nigeria, 80.2 million women and girls have significantly worse life chances than men, and their sisters in comparable societies. A Nigerian woman can expect to be paid 20 to 50 percent less for doing the same work as her male counterpart. Fewer girls than boys make the transition from primary to secondary education and even fewer from secondary to university level". These figures are not alien to us. We have seen these issues remain the same year in, year out, despite the awareness created and advocacy efforts of public and private institutions.

This week, we wanted to dive deep into this issue to really understand how these statistics affect real women in their daily lives. We spoke to 5 women 'on the streets' from different works of lives and at different levels and these are some of their stories on what Gender Inequality has cost them:

Agatha, 24

Gender Inequality cost me a brighter future.

My dad was a traditionalist. He never wanted me to go to school from the very beginning. After, high school, he only agreed to pay for my brother’s university education. I was asked to go learn a trade. Today, I’m running a local kiosk and my brother is a banker. I know I would have achieved more with my life if I went to university. I still will.

Halimat, 41

Gender Inequality cost me my innocence

I was just 13 years old when my mother told me I was going to marry 'the Alhaji'. I thought she was joking at first. Before I knew it, I was being decorated in the finest garments and whisked away to this old man’s house. He stole my innocence from me and has dictated what my life should be ever since. 28 years later, all I have to be proud of are my 6 children. I wanted just 2 though, but, he wanted 6 children. I'm grateful for all of them nonetheless.

Bimbo, 34

Gender Inequality cost me my dream job

I had successfully passed all the stages of the interview. All the members of management I had interviewed with were excited to have me on board. Then, I got to the final interview with the CEO. As soon as I walked in, his first remark was, “I really do not want a woman for this role… women are too emotional”. I persisted still and had an exceptional interview, or so I thought. I never got the job. The company later employed a less qualified man.

Nkechi, 39

Gender Inequality cost me my Independence

If I had known better, I would have waited to be more accomplished before rushing to marry my husband. I was just under this pressure from society to marry before 30 that I said “Yes” to the first proposal, fresh out of university at the age of 22. Now, I feel trapped because I have not really experienced life on my own. I’m scared to, but, I will, eventually. Although, it is harder now, with kids.

Regina, 27

Gender Inequality cost me my Sexual Freedom

I really do not believe that women should not be sexually confident. I should not have to be discriminated against if I chose to be intimate with men that I am dating. As long as I keep myself protected and it is something I want to do. It is very annoying that I face abuse and discrimination for this when men are praised and rewarded.

The ugly effects of Gender Inequality continue to show up in our community in different forms every day. It is not enough for us to just talk about it in passing, we must make conscious effort to ensure that we fight this vice from the grass root and at every point it manifests. How do we do this?

  • Speak up to counter any action or inaction that discriminates or victimizes us or any other woman/girl because of our gender.

  • Fight to be treated equally in every situation and within every institution of society

  • Be visible and present as forces for change in business, politics, economy and the overall society at large. The more we are seen, the more we are heard.


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