"women are increasingly find their voice in rural communities....Jos,Nigeria"
Recently,on a visit to the ministry of environment on an advocacy visit to the commissioner on environment, who incidently used to be my boss at an ngo here in Jos, Plateau State. I wanted to talk about some of the things we could do with our women group for the year 2008 on environmental sanitation next year. While we were chating a woman works in and they started talking about whether he should employ her or not( the ministry was employing about 1000 women as sanitary officers to help keep the city clean, she was there earlier he had asked her to confer and obtained her husband's permission before she would be short listed). So he asked my opinion whether it was okey to employ her because she would be leaving her husband and children in another town four hours from where she will be employed. He equally said the government was not trying to cause marital disharmony by providing this window of opportunity but was trying to empower women. So I said well these days women are worried about meeting their daily needs rather then just being married and improvished. Really! he asked, do I think that marriages are now based on economic reasons even for rural women? I said, well times are changing....Talking alone later with the lady who tells me to call her Asabe, I asked if she wasn't worried that her husband would marry someone else(a man in most communities in Nigeria can easily marry an additional wife if he wants, this would be a valid reason to do so!) if she moves to the city, she laughed and argued he would only do that if he had the money to. Besides, she chuckled he currently doesn't have a job either! I was trully amazed because a few years back it would be unthinkable for a 'village woman' as they would say over here to leave her husband and children and move to the city, rather it used to be the other way round.... so I guess gradually women are beginning to find their voice, which to my mind is finding expression through a need for financial independence.