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Opinions of Friday, 10 March 2017

Columnist: Samuel Ayobami Ogunlana

The ‘Hidden Figures’ movie and its many lessons about gender parity in the World

By Samuel Ayobami Ogunlana

From the film 'Hidden Figures' I learned a lot of lessons on gender parity as it relates to societal development and that is why I recommended it, and I still want more people to go and watch that film especially guys.

America and Russia were in a hot space race around 1961, the Russians were clearly ahead of the US and the Americans were badly humiliated with every progress Russia made. NASA like every other American Institute was very racial in policy and operation, it was also very sexist to say the least.

However, the director and other white male bosses later realized that the knowledge required to catch up with and beat the Russians was in the cranial cavities of 3 black women working under terrible situations there in NASA. One was an engineer, one a programmer and the third one was a mathematician who did ten thousand calculations per day before NASA purchased an IBM computer.

Without these 3 genius women the Russians would have left the US far behind even today. Now the question is this, why are we making the same mistake in Nigeria 56 years later. Many men and even women still believe women are to be cut to size and not be allowed to do certain things or not be given certain opportunities.

The same is true of the home front; we are limiting our potentials for growth as a society by putting limitations on a gender that constitute half of our population. NASA almost learnt the hard way, and we can do better.

I think fear is the reason some men act irrational, they fear the liberated woman will trample them down, they fear the wife with a PhD will subjugate them because they only have a HND. Fear breeds all sorts of negative emotions but it doesn't achieve anything. If you know your onions as a man, then you know that you cannot be subjugated or relegated to the background.

If your rep is built on your modest contributions to your family even if your wife is the president she won't be able to stampede you, even if she wants to. If our worth stems from our good works as fathers, husbands and citizens and not the mere fact that we have big muscles or a virile penis, then nobody can oppress us no matter what height they rise to.

Many men are living in poverty today simply because they never allowed their wives to aspire for greatness.

In a fragile economy as ours, it is suicide for only one partner to be productive; companies are downsizing and closing down like it's a competition so if you don't let your wife be great you will be the first to suffer. Women should aspire for greatness, the ancestors that said you should not be great were illiterate and are long gone, so don't limit yourself.

Fear made parents to stop their sons from playing football, now footballers are the richest among us.

Fear made some fathers lock their children up in the house all through their childhood, but as soon as those kids enter campus, they become rotten, they fill free for the first time and want to explore everything.

Such girls are toasted with suya and Fanta and are eager to do anything and everything.

The boys join bad gangs with the first opportunity they get. Even wives that do not submit or respect their husbands do so mostly out of fear, because to submit means to become vulnerable. Let's wake up from the slumber of fear, this same fear of domination destroyed the soul of the racists and made educated people act like they had never been to school.

All I am saying is that: We have nothing to gain by subjugating women, rather a lot to gain as a society if we let them flourish. We can't continue to be at the butt of the comity of nations because we don't want to change.