WHY WOULD A GIRL BE THE CLASS PREFECT?

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“So you mean all of you were here and a girl took the first position in this class? Now, all the boys step out; after flogging you would each bring 500 Naira each on or before Monday”. That was the form teacher of my cousin’s class. My cousin came back from school that day, telling me he won’t pay for it.

Throwback to my second year in junior secondary school; what we do call J.S.S.2. We were about to round up this class and this class was taught by one of my favourite teachers. Either Physical and Health Education or Social Studies; I think it had to be social studies. She then gave us an assignment; “Write down the responsibilities of the father, mother and children in a family”. I remember how we all laughed at someone who wrote “My father also cleans and cook for the family”. I did laugh too, because I was stunned; how could your father actually be cooking and cleaning for the family.

Another deep throwback to primary five or was it four; I was about nine or ten years old. We were taught by a teacher named Maureen; who picked a girl as a class prefect. No assistant? No, no assistant. As far as Mrs. Maureen was concerned, Ann was enough. Ann, well turned out to be ruthless; our names were always in the list of noise makers. When I toppled her from her first position; I thought she’d like me and maybe I might just be the new prefect. Nah, It was not to be; I was then very much despised by Ann. The boys, even those who were even not in our class; hated Ann for being the class prefect.

Now, let’s take it forward; I happened to meet a friend while in the senior secondary school who said he wanted to be a nurse; the laughter that erupted from me and the guys there must have been what shoved him to medicine.

I don’t know if its just in my country; but many times, you find teachers, parents, older people making comments to girls like, “you are too rough, you don’t know you are a girl”. or you find them telling a boy who’s just been injured, “why are you crying too much? You don’t know you are a boy”. Even in families, a junior brother might even be seeing disrespecting the older sister and when she seeks to confront, you hear statements like, “leave him please, you know he is a boy”.

Over time, the society has honed males and females into recurring stereotypes; where the females are to be a beautiful ‘damsel in distress’ house wife, while the man becomes a violent all controlling figure. This has led to so many cases of gender abuse, physical abuse of women and the likes. Never was a man the assistant to a lady all through my life as a student. Teachers gradually stereotyping the careers of children. You’d hear things like, “you don’t know you are a girl; you are playing football. If gender equity is to be attained; then I think we have to go to as far as the basics and of course re-orient ourselves greatly.

Do have a pleasant afternoon!

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