Preference, Son or Daughter?
For the past few days, I have been working day and night, trying to attend to loads of outstanding domestic, personal and official tasks; especially those that have strict timelines. Reminds me of the very familiar 2011 VOF Application Classroom Instruction “Post your article in your personal journal on PulseWire by…………..” Yesterday, in the midst of my doings and thoughts, a question posed by a female presenter on a daily morning TV Program caught my attention. Not a few people who watch that particular news program will agree with me that it is exceptionally informative and educative; especially as it has a parliamentary approach to news reporting. Usually, the Program links up to its network of TV Stations across Nigeria. The presenters were always on standby to dish out news on specific and carefully selected topics from their localities. Which would you prefer as your first kid, a son or daughter? Then followed footage of the views gathered from people, in a particular community in Nigeria. The first respondent, who said he was an aspiring groom, was quite emphatic about his choice. His words “In every family, there must be a representative; as a matter of fact, I want a male, someone who can stand in my place”. Whatever that means, I mumbled to myself. The next respondent was a married man. I was not surprised when he reminded the reporter that he was an African man, and so he needed a son as his first child. I could not but mutter again to myself, is it an African rule to have a son as the first child? I could barely wait for the next parliamentarian (?). Thank God, a woman at last. Go ahead and speak up for us! I spoke to the lifeless TV as if my voice could reach her. Her words, “For me, the incontestable choice is a daughter, and my advice to others out there, is that they should desire a daughter above a son; my reason is because daughters are known to always take good care of their parents, especially when they become aged”. Oh my God! I exclaimed. I was not going to take pride in her reason. Of the many invaluable attributes of femininity, is that all there is to a daughter’s worth? When I was going to conclude that the all too common issues of gender stereotype, prejudice and marginalization had become the norm in our society, the next respondent, an elderly man said “I don’t mind the sex of a child, anyone that comes first is okay by me. It is God who gives children; society should frown at sex discrimination, one’s sex should not be used to judge what one is capable of making out of life”. With this view coming from a man, yours sincerely was almost reaching out to him for a handshake, which I immediately converted to a ‘Thumbs up Sir’. Who’s Next? For God’s sake, another man (a Gynecologist/Obstetrician); it seemed it was a men’s day out (no prejudice intended, just pointing out the need for gender balance in all spheres of life). I listened on, with rapt attention all the same. He explained that the sex chromosomes are the primary factors in determining the gender of a child. The male sperm carries two sperm cells, that is the X and Y chromosome, while an egg, the reproductive cell produced by females have two X chromosomes. When a sperm with an X chromosome unites with an egg, the result is a child with two X chromosome that is a female. When a sperm with a Y chromosome unites with an egg, however, the result is a child with one X and one Y chromosome (a male). It is noteworthy also that the X chromosomes moves slower but lives longer, while the Y chromosomes lives shorter but moves faster. He concluded by saying that it is the father that determines the gender of the child and personally, he had no preference for one sex above the other. Well said Doctor! Coming from a man, for me, this was a winning viewpoint. The reporter made this concluding statement, “God did not make a mistake when he created us male and female. Male or female, no gender is superior to the other. God created both genders to complement one another, so no gender should be discriminated against. The program came to an end but for most part of the day, I questioned the basis for and the motive(s) behind the question. Why should such a question ever arise? What was it meant to achieve? Is the question not engendering bigotry? Isn’t it stereotyped? Does it positively address the problem of gender inequality? Just thinking outside the box of Environmental Stewardship, thanks to VOF 2011 tasks!