Monday, November 12, 2012


Pulling Each Other Down

How many times have you heard how safe it was to approach the males in an establishment before the females? You are warned how Mrs. Y is such a wicked woman whose highest point in a day is snarling and talking down at people. When you think that the people who have issued this warning are just meddling busybodies who hate Ms. Y and then go ahead to try to discover for yourself the angel that these “busybodies” might have missed in their “unfair” assessment  you discover to your shock and horror that the “busybodies” were right and Mrs. Y is the most horrible human walking the side of your planet. You are even more surprised to find out that Mr. Z who is Mrs. Y’s superior is far more approachable and willing to help with your problems. I have been in this situation several times and every time I come out of it, I am plagued by the singular question – why? 

After several “whys”, I finally decided that women are like crabs in a bucket. For many people who do not know about the crab-in-the-bucket syndrome, it is one of those syndromes used to refer to situations where people trying to escape an unfavourable situation are kept from doing so by others either out of envy or just maliciousness, so that at the end of the day, neither party gains freedom. This syndrome is the biggest problem facing women today.

It is always rare to see women take a united stand on issues that affect them. From feminists who disagree on the right ideology to pursue to the mother in law who holds down her daughter in law to be beheaded to the vicious and unfriendly female exec who hates you for no apparent reason, women have become their own enemies. Some of us have become short sighted and petty and there is no hope for emancipation where members of our specie lack a constructive unified type of thinking.

While there have been obvious advantages to the women liberation struggle as can be seen in the emergence of powerful female leaders, more needs to be done as women continue to struggle on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder. To enjoy a level playing field in all sphere of human activities, women must learn that only a unity of purpose can help them. As an advocate for gender equality, I have lost count of the number of times I have had to debate with men who quickly point out the fact that women are less sympathetic to themselves than anyone else. This is our greatest problem and we must address it.

In all, one can only hope that true emancipation of women will be realized in my time, if not, the future is indeed very bleak because like crabs in a vicious competition to nowhere, our bucket will always be our prison.

Umari Ayim


  1. Touche, but it appears to be a syndrome poignantly peculiar to the African continent with commonplace examples in Nigeria, at least in the sense used here. Women in other climes are more professional in their working environments. However, they are generally insecure when it comes to relatinships, (which is another matter entirely). Conversely, Nigerian men, especially those in the higher social strata, are the very fine examples of dogs in the manger! They are exceptionaly outstanding in the way they hoard what they usually have no use of rather than see it go to the benefit of the man in want.

  2. Not all women are that way
    The women who are that way don't ever succeed anyways.


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