How To Be A Respected Female In Nigeria

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For the purpose of this article, let me quickly clarify that in this context, female refers to a lady/woman who’s 25 years of age and above. Now, regardless of your background, qualifications, achievements, physical appearance or social standing, to be considered worthy of respect (which naturally translates to being successful) as a female in Nigeria, you have to first of all understand the peculiarity of the society you live in. And not just that, you must be willing to align your way of life to the realities of the Nigerian society. But, you need not worry about it. I’m here to lend a helping hand, as I discuss five foolproof ways to ensure you are respected as a woman in Nigeria. Let’s get right into it!

Get married: Let no one deceive you, if you plan to remain single for a long time or even forever, then you must be ready to entertain snide remarks and different shades of marginalization all through your days. As long as you live in these climes. It really doesn’t matter if you make history as the first female rocket scientist to ever come out of the country. It hardly counts if you have an enviable career, a family that loves you, or are named among the Forbes richest in the world; without that little “cuff” around your fourth finger, you’re zilch. Nothing. Nada. Look, your girlfriend’s husband might be the greatest drunk, a wife-beater, an irresponsible father, serial cheater or even a jail bird, guess what? She will be more respected than you with all your degrees, humanitarian efforts and high-flying career because she is married, and that’s all that matters. Karl Marx may have fingered religion as the opium of the masses. But, I dare say that in Nigeria, marriage is the opium of the people. It is the panacea for all real and imagined problems. You want to be respected? Just get married dammit!

Learn to cook: What’s the value of a woman if she can’t cook? That’s the age-old unwritten slogan of the Nigerian society. It is in the hidden section of the Nigerian constitution. To be considered a complete woman, thou shalt be able to “throw down” in the kitchen. I must emphasize that throwing down in the kitchen is not the same as an ability to make “run-of-the-mill” meals like yam and eggs or rice and stew. I am referring to a dexterity in the preparation of a variety of soups from different parts of the country. Soups in the mould of efo riro, edikaikong, oha and the rest of them, that will ensure the other woman never gets the chance to lure your man away with food.

Defer to every man: The two most popular religions in Nigeria admonishes women to submit to their husbands. That one man that she is married to. But, the unwritten rule in my country is that women should submit to all men, whether she is married or related to them or not. And so, when a random guy cuts into your lane abruptly in traffic, suck it up and move on, for he is a man. He has your “type” at home who worships at his feet everyday. Even when you are his boss in the office, you should learn to accord him a level of respect higher than what you show your female subordinates who are his contemporaries. When you are involved in an argument or discussion with a group of men, don’t be too opinionated. Topics like politics, football, and the latest cutting edge technology cannot be your forte. By virtue of the greater physical strength and penis the man possesses, he is technically superior to you. When you defer to every man regardless of their age or status, then you are a good woman who has earned her respect.

Don’t be too ambitious: You are allowed to get a first degree, maybe even a masters degree. But, a PhD? That’s going too far, particularly if you’re a singleton. What exactly are you trying to do? Chase the men away? Intimidate them? You’re a woman, you don’t need to be too ambitious. If you end up as part of the top management in your organisation, then be ready to contend with rumors that you either slept your way to the top, or are a modern day Margaret Thatcher who wears the pants on the home front, or that your career success must be responsible for your status as a single mum or divorcee. You cannot have everything, so say my people. Downplay your achievements and successes if you want to be respected as a female in Nigeria. Better still, be ordinary.

Excesses are not for you: In everything you do, remember that you are not allowed to have excesses, and if you cannot help them, be careful not to display them. You may be wondering what is regarded as “excesses.” Well, habits like smoking and drinking which are common to the menfolk should not be associated with you. As a lady, you are expected to be demure. Modesty should be your watchword. How dare you smoke in public? How can you down a bottle of beer with the guys when you are supposed to cut the image of a responsible mother or future mother. Forget that habits are what they are – habits, and anyone can pick them up regardless of their gender. Don’t use curse words, don’t wear mini-skirts, don’t apply too much make-up, don’t laugh out loud. You are a woman, excesses are not for you!

There maybe more, but, I can safely affirm that these are the basic factors you need to be a respected woman in Nigeria. If you have them covered, you are well on your way to being the model woman in these parts. The older folks and a huge number of men will encourage teenagers and younger adult females to emulate your lifestyle.

You may choke at some point for allowing society dictate a lifestyle that is not yours to you. You may lead an ordinary life, but at least you will fit in and not be tagged a rebel; or worse still an angry, sexually-frustrated feminist.

22 Replies to “How To Be A Respected Female In Nigeria”

    1. Hi! Of course it’s a backward mentality. But, it’s our reality here. Even when it is not verbally expressed, it is covertly implied. Thanks for you comments.

  1. Haaaaaaaaa,Lolo ooooo

    I kept laughing reading these. Haba!!!!
    I beg to differ on point 1. Some Females in Nigeria are highly respected singles. Some are divorcees too but respected.
    I feel it has to do with one’s personality and composure. Some ladies earn their much deserved respect without a husband.
    Some loose their earned respects after marrying drunks or a chronic womanizer.

    Our society encourages ladies getting married and some people think getting married is an achievement too or a platform of progress. It’s a mentality, I call it inferiority complex too.
    Just as Some ladies can not do without introducing themselves with the ” Mrs” title some hardly use the Mrs…..
    My name is Ngozi and has always been, I detest using the Mrs title (my ring shows that already even when im not wearing my ring, im at peace and get my deserved respect)

    It’s nice to be married, but no matter our societal pressure, I always encourage ladies to build themselves and avoid being a liability to a man or clinging to the annoying belief of a female’s success and respect, attributed to her having a husband.

    Nice one dear!!!!

    Ng Anwuli

    1. Point 1 is even the most important I tell you. Yes, some women are still respected in spite of their single or divorced status, but trust me, they will probably earn more respect if they were married. It’s a warped way of thinking. But, it is the way our society is wired. Thanks dear.

  2. Seriously, this is chronicle of facts that’s put in our face and strictly other people’s opinion! Your article seems like highlighting the carcass that our society but to me, it’s not a reality, it’s a proposal which I can accept or rebuff! Reality is a personal journey, it’s not external, rather it’s internal! Our reality is our personal story and it will definitely vary.
    By the way, what is our definition of respect sef?! Why do I need it? If I don’t have it what do I lose?Who do I need it from? And if I don’t get from those I need what do I lose? Do I have an alternative to the ‘respect’?
    For me, I personally like to differ from the norm! It’s more fun! It’s fluid and dynamic.

    1. I agree with some aspects of your submission. But, you have to agree that not everyone is as strong as you are, and to a large extent societal expectations takes it toll on most of us. Again, I wouldn’t say our reality is only internal. We may not agree with what the larger society says, but it doesn’t negate the fact that things are the way they are. To posit that it isn’t so is just denying the obvious. Thanks so much for your comments.

  3. Hehehe. Things are changing Lolo. Very fast and to the advantage of society. And sometimes, I think the women, more than men need to truly know themselves and go after their heart desires. Its only at the point that everyone is able to become who they want that Nigeria will make progress. Lovely piece

    1. Good to read from you! Things are definitely changing thankfully, but oftentimes many pay lip service to the idea of a woman being seen beyond the kitchen, or a docile partner who shouldn’t have lofty aspirations. Unmarried women are still viewed as somewhat incomplete. Even if it isn’t voiced out, it can be seen in the body language. Thanks a bunch.

  4. Waouw what a bullshit article ! Rubbish and backward ! Please tune yourself into modern times. Women with high degrees do get married and have children including myself. A PhD is not necessarily a demonstration but an expertise in a certain field that could generate earnings for a family.

    1. Thank you for taking time out to read and comment on the article Adeola. Frankly, I’d have been shocked if I didn’t get a response like this at some point. But, you need to take it easy. Surely, you must have observed the sarcastic undertone of this article. It’s a satire! It doesn’t represent my views on how women should be anywhere in the world, but my honest observation of the unfortunate prejudice against women in Nigeria, even though things are changing gradually. Anyone regardless of their gender, age, sexual orientation, achievements etc deserves to be respected. Cheers!

  5. As funny as this is, It is sadly true. However, we can do better as women and men. Don’t let society push you to do what you know isn;t right for you. You have to be strong and rise above the pressure because even your parents, friends and extended family will push you.

  6. A single old lady is usually frowned at, especially by her mother when she drives around in her car, the mother will be like “you want men to run away from you?, how do you want a man to see you in your car?” Lol!

  7. Nice piece. I like the direction you take here just for laughs even though it is not really what is your true opinion. However, you make the right point that this is how our society is and it will take serious efforts to change the psyche.

    All you have mentioned is similar to women in the Muslim world. Most of them move on with life without complaining and from my findings are treated well by men. There’ll be the over-the-edge husbands of course but hey that’s society for you. You either leave with it or get out regardless of respect earned.

    1. Of course it’s a far departure from my personal beliefs, but it’s a reflection of the society we live in. Honestly, I don’t think it is peculiar to any religion though.

    1. Hiiii Uzoma! Great to connect with you here. Thanks for reading and commenting too. Glad I could make you laugh. And yeah, that’s the hope…

Drop a comment, will you! I appreciate them.