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WOMEN SUBORDINATION IN RELIGION, OCCUPATION AND EDUCATION (A CASE STUDY OF IBAGWA, ABAK L.G.A AKWA IBOM STATE)
Since early times women have been uniquely viewed as a creative source of human life. As individuals, women have participated in essentially all of the activities in human societies. As a group, however, women have been identified with particular roles ascribed to them by their societies. Marriage and motherhood are the traditional roles of women. This is not in denial, but women should have a wider choice of ways of life.
Throughout history, women generally have fewer legal rights and career opportunities than men. Wifehood and motherhood were regarded as women’s most significant progressions. Historically, they have been considered not only intellectually inferior to men but also a major source of temptation and evil. In Greek mythology, for example, it was a woman, Pandora, who opened the forbidden box and brought plagues law described women as children, forever inferior to me. (Compton’s Encyclopedia, Edition, P.1, 350).
Early Christian theology perpetuated these views. It Jerome, a 4th century Latin father of Christian church, said “Women is the gate of the devil, the path of wickedness, the sting of the serpent, in a word….. a perilous object” Thomas Aquinas, the 13th century Christian theologian, said that women were “ created to be man’s helpmeet, but her unique role is in conception…. Since for other purposes, men would be better assisted by other men. Bedn (2000) however has it that gender inequality have hampered the full participation of women in social development, and further agues that the rapid economic and social development in our societies requires greater participation of everybody, including women in all spheres of human endeavour.
The adoption of this system of inequality was never the result of deliberation, or fore whatsoever of what would be best for humanity or the good order of society. It simply arose from the fact that from the dawn of human bondage to some man.
The ancient India, for example, women were not deprived of property rights or individual freedom, but Hinduism, which evolved in India after 500 B.C, required obedience of women towards men. Women had to walk behind their husbands. Women, they could not own property and widows could not remarry. Samuel Kramer, in his book “the Goddesses and the theologians. A reflection on women’s right in ancient Sumer, 1952, PP4-5, noted that after enjoying the privilege of able to own a property, being educated and legally able to take more than one husband, Sumerian men achieved the right and status of women from that of men.
When, in the 19th century, professional opportunities for women in Global west began to decline, the required education preparation, particularly for the practice of medicine, increased. This tended to prevent many young women, who married early and bore many children, from entering professional careers. Although home nursing in hospitals was done exclusively by men, Women predominate informal employment jobs that lack formal contracts, security, benefits or social protection (international labour organization, 1Lo, 2002).
In most pre-industrial societies, domestic chores were relegated to women, leaving “heavier” labour such as hunting and plowing to men. This ignored the fact that caring for children and doing such tasks as milking cows and washing clothes also required heavy, sustained labour. The findings of Ekpo (2008) supported Witz’s (1992) demarcation strategy as male dominated all occupational sphere, controlling and directing the affairs of females. All those reveals female subjection in traditional African Societies.
Closing this gender gap constitutes achieving gender equality, which can be defined as a stage of human societies development, at which the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of individuals will not be determined by the fact of being born male or female, in other words, a stage where born men and women realize their full potential” (Lopez- Claros and Zahidi 2005, P.1). Based on above argument, the purpose of this research study is therefore to examine religion, occupation and education as agents of subordination of women in Akwa-Ibom, and the world at large. The role of religion education and occupation the realization of this harmonious balance between all artifacts of life cannot be over emphasized.
1.2 Statement of the Problem