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Men as allies for women, and women as allies for men


Last week was the anniversary of my father’s passing, and I think of him the most around this time of the year. In the same week, I posted on social media about the Men as Allies project at JPMorgan Chase – an extension of Women on the Move.

I make this connection as I definitely remember my father being one of my strongest allies. Why? Because of his insistence on our education – the same for his girls as well as his boys. The project at JPMorgan Chase “brings men and women together to talk about how we can all work to even the playing field” and I believe taking advantage of getting an education is the first step to levelling that field. I feel so grateful that I had this advantage and was taught to try something different – if that’s what I desired. I was equipped to be independent, if I needed to be.

My father, though traditional, welcomed having strong daughters (he has 6 in total). This notion of a woman having her own father as an ally plus a good education reminds me of what one of our upcoming panelists, Chiekezie Dozie said recently:

“As a father of girls I try to raise them to be precocious; to challenge the status quo; to be daring, adventurous and insatiable in their quest to be women of the modern world. Their education as well as upbringing from both parents will ensure that if they can’t get a seat at the table, they’ll have enough within them and around them to create their own table!”

What Chiekezie says is so true. Things won’t change unless we women also take charge to make those changes. Dare I say, that some of the problems in Nigeria stem from the corrupt characters of women, as well as men. If some women won’t go out and make an effort to make a decent living and expect the men to provide for all their needs (including unreasonable ones), who are we to complain about the existence of corruption and financial fraud which stem from the pressures certain men face to be the sole breadwinner?

Corruption and unreasonable expectations to access finance is not gender-specific, it’s about the attitudes of both men and women. We all need to work hard and face our education (if we are lucky to have this opportunity). Everyone has to try to bring something to the table, otherwise why fight for a level playing field? Investing In Women likes to look at the full picture and not point fingers. Women need men as allies, but men also need women as allies. Let’s work together- no pun intended.

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