Tue, 26 Mar 2024 Feature Article

Between Misogynist And Successful Women

Between Misogynist And Successful Women

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English succinctly defines misogynist as “hater of women”. There is no denying the fact that many misogynists have been waging several wars and equally campaigning against women’s freedom, emancipation and empowerment.

A misogynist does not believe that women should be given formal education beyond the secondary school level. He does not believe that a woman should inherit the property of her late husband. He equally does not believe that women should work in offices or engage in other businesses. Rather, he is often driving his point home on why women should remain in the kitchen and be absolutely domesticated. He does not even think of anything good on women sexual life. It is therefore not surprising that he has remained an ardent crusader of women circumcision.

In the today’s corporate world, a misogynist is naturally disgusted seeing woman been promoted to the zenith of her chosen profession. To him, virtually all women that rose to the zenith of their professions are undeservedly perceived to have slept their way to the top.

When he overhears or read in the news that any woman has being promoted in her office, he would sigh and instantly mutter in Pidgin English, “I know say dem go promote am because she and chairman Na five-and-six.” Without bothering to peep into such woman’s CV, and even google to have an understanding of her career, professional and academic antecedents, a misogynist would instantly concoct a story that would be capable of tarnishing the hard earned image of such woman.

Clearly put, in most offices, a misogynist sees her female colleagues who are regularly promoted as those who are wont to sleep around with top male managers. This, to me, is apparently discouraging most career women from being hardworking since they are always seen suspiciously whenever they are promoted through hard work. Even in some homes, the husbands find it difficult to trust their wives when their promotions become rapid. Many a husband may become paranoid to managers that are close associates to his wife.

In the corporate world, particularly in the banking sector, female bankers who are no doubt round pegs in round holes, by virtue of their experiences, professionalism and etiquettes are suspiciously seen by the society as those that are sleeping around with their bosses.

Without any iota of equivocation, the society in general is misunderstanding womankind, and this has become a collective stumbling block on women’s path to progress.

This writer is a man. I know you may have asked, “What is this writer’s stress?” The plight of women is the plight of all of us since we all have wives, sisters, aunts and mothers. Somebody has to speak for them or add voice to the already sounding voices of various women-focused non-governmental organizations that are at the moment working round the clock to address the gender-issue of women.

The pigeonholing of women as never-do-well or wayward by the misogynist is so pervasive that it is at the moment negatively reflecting on the proportion of women holding corporate offices across various sectors of the economy. The majority of the women that are today holding various corporate offices worked hard to get there, they never played hanky-panky as misogynists would wrongly accused them of.

At this juncture, it is expedient to make reference to an opinion article titled “Zenith Bank’s new MD and the burden on successful women” published in several newspapers, and the PM News of 23rd March, 2024, and authored by Farooq A. Kperogi, a Professor of Journalism and Emerging Media at Kennesaw State University.

Kperogi, in the above referenced article, which no doubt shares this writer’s contextual sentiment, wrote, “It so often happens that whenever a Nigerian woman makes the news as having been appointed to a high position that is, has been or, in the minds of male chauvinists “should be,” the exclusive preserve of men, she becomes the object of (social) media slander, unconscionable belittlement, vile gossip, slut-shaming, and malicious smears.

“That is the fate Zenith Bank’s Mrs. Adaora Umeoji Nwokoye has been suffering since her announcement as the first woman Group Managing Director and CEO of the bank. In what is supposed to be her moment of joy, she’s contending with an avalanche of mean, nasty remarks and misogynistic bullying from insecure men with fragile egos who, instead of being happy for her, choose to question her qualifications, obsess over her looks, and ascribe her rise to a reward for sexual favors.

“The most egregious of this came from a widely shared Facebook post by one Azolike Nonso Afemefuna who wrote that Mrs. Umeoji-Nwokoye looked “like a hook up [sic] girl” and that he would “NEVER take [Zenith Bank] seriously again” for appointing her its boss.

“When he was challenged, he doubled down on his evidence-free moral stigmatization of the woman by insisting that she “knack her way to the top,” a Nigerian Pidgin English expression for she slept her way to the top, a sentiment one Nelson Chiduben Okoye re-echoed in another widely shared Facebook post.

“As the father of three girls, these dreadful patriarchal putdowns and vilifications of a successful, high-flying woman by some idle worthless scum of men hurt me on a personal level. Mrs. Nwokoye embodies what every responsible parent should want their daughter to grow up to be. She got the job because she was more qualified than anybody for the position.

“She has multiple degrees, including advanced ones, in sociology, accounting, business administration, and law—in addition to three decades of experience in banking. She was, in fact, the Deputy Managing Director of Zenith Bank in the last eight years that preceded her elevation to the status of GMD/CEO of the bank. In other words, she had functioned as the second in command of the bank”.

At this juncture, it expedient to remind misogynists that there is a saying that has it that “What a Man Can Do Can a Woman Do Better”.

However, in as much as the foregoing has remained one of the most controversial saying to interpret on planet earth as its debate has raged from probably since record keeping began, it is expedient to let them realize that the state of women in the workplace today is one of progress and promise. Despite a long history of discrimination and gender inequality, more women are entering the workforce than ever before. But, an even more exciting fact is that women now occupy positions of power in traditionally male-dominated fields, ranging from government to corporate leadership.