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The mystery of woman



A National Women Conference organised by COWLSO has opened in Lagos. As of the time of going to press details of the discussion had not been filed by the media—print or electronic. I will be surprised if the meat of the discussion, all said, did not focus on the place of the woman, her aspirations and gender issues generally. This column has taken a great deal of interest in what may be described as the place of woman and her inestimable role in life. Who for example was not born of woman? That is where to start. It is for this reason that since 1991, women affairs have featured in this column thrice. There was some hint only last August. Here is one written on 11 July, 1991. The fundamental issues raised then are undoubtedly the same today as they were 26 years ago. The article was captioned “The Mystery of Woman .” For lack of space, only the introductory part is being run today. It will be run in full next week, updated as may be warranted by the details of the resolutions reached at this current gathering. The introduction read at the time:

“A great deal of attention is being drawn to women in our time. It would seem there has been an upsurge recently in efforts to call attention to them and their plight with specific reference to their economic and political struggles and emancipation.

Last month, commenting in passing on women, this column wrote: There has been a reactivated battle on women and equality in this country in the last one year, and I had put it down to the rebirth of political activism in the land. Women with their gaze firmly fixed in the direction of government houses or on Ribadu Road, the gubernatorial or presidential aspirants, have dominated press interviews.


I have observed that the resurgence in feminal movement and renewal of interest in women struggle is global. Last fall, Time magazine produced a special issue solely devoted to women. The cover was captioned: ‘Women: The Road Ahead.’

The Guardian lecture on July 4 delivered by the renowned professor and multiperspective scholar Ali Mazrui is the latest in the effort to put the woman question in sharp focus.

Professor Mazrui lived up to his billing. The audience was enraptured by his eloquence, deep insight and the global perspective he gave to the subject: ‘The Black Woman and the Problem of Gender: Trials, Triumphs and Challenges.’

At night fall many went away satisfied that they had had a profoundly rewarding night.

The woman question will, for a long time to come, continue to intrigue the world. Debates upon debates will be held until women are given their rightful place under the sun. The women themselves will not keep quiet until the battle against men is won and the system that has kept them down is dismantled.”

Seeing you next week: The mystery of woman

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