I live in Nigeria and when it comes to diversity and inclusion, we suck!
I mean it is my country where you will attend a “women’s empowerment event” and they will say things like “the man is the head and you are the neck” or “feminism is affecting the home front.” In Nigeria, disabled people are not treated with dignity and cannot even use public spaces. God forbid you are in a wheelchair in this country and see how you can get into a bank or even take the BRT. Let me not get started with the rights of LGBTI persons. That is another discussion entirely. There is a law that everyone and their mother will use to condemn, discriminate and even kill (mentally and physically in some instances). Case in point, the arrest of 42 men in Lagos or the recent arrest of Bobrisky.
I was on Instagram when I came across Pamela Adie’s picture of her tattoo.
The picture jumped at me and resonated with my beliefs. Equality. The one thing that gets Nigerians uncomfortable.
Why? I am clueless.
“We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” ~ Malala Yousafzai
There is a systematic failure in our country and it is not because women are demanding for their rights or the fact that there are gay people in the country. If we look inwards and search ourselves we know the truth. Those with privilege (male folks) cannot imagine a world where women have the same access to the opportunities that they have. They would rather stick to the status quo; not knowing that they are holding back their daughters in the process.
We need to get to a place where people are allowed to be. Let that woman fight in the army and let that boy dance in his heels. Let the disabled lady be a CEO and let women express their sexuality the way men are allowed to. Let women have more leadership roles from the private sector to the public sector and consider disabled people when constructing public spaces. Let us remove laws that criminalise sexual expression between consenting adults. It is 2017.
There is strength in diversity and we all cannot do things the same way. It is time for us to speak out against the injustice in our society and take a stand for minority groups. In the words of Desmond Tutu:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. “