These matters are not personal matters but matters which impact on society and ultimately, also translates in the level to which a nation is characterised by the quality of her citizens in civility and progress. That the finer essence of personal hygiene, civility etc. are now lost or in that downhill, is visible in all areas of life in Nigeria- from those serving in public eateries, to the major hotels, events and all places where etiquettes and finesse add to the flavour of the finer essence of being human. It calls for attention and action. The government should not only be interested in revenue generation but ought also to take interest in matters such as regulation of the minimum standard expected of public events and should therefore have effective inspection and monitoring structures.
Society engaging the role of women and compensating them in the area of participation in societal exploits may provide a balance in women’s role as women and mothers.
As the eminent Political Philosopher, John Rawls states so aptly in his last work: “Beyond the […] considerations founded on the equality of women, the principles of justice also impose constraints on the family on behalf of children who are society’s future citizens and have claims as such. As we have noted, a long and historic injustice to women is that they have borne, and continue to bear, a disproportionate share of the task of raising, nurturing, and caring for their children.
When they are even further disadvantaged by the law of divorce, this burden makes them highly vulnerable. These injustices bear harshly not only on women but also on their children [our?] and they tend to undermine children’s capacity to acquire the political virtues required of future citizens in a viable democratic regime. Mill held that the family in his day was a school for male despotism: it inculcated habits of thought and ways of feeling and conduct incompatible with democracy. If so, the principles of justice enjoining democracy can plainly be invoked to reform it” (John Rawls Justice as Fairness – A Restatement ed., by E. Kelly (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England: 2001) 165-166).
Echoing these sentiments for Nigeria, the renowned jurist Jadesola Akande stated: “As we approach a new millennium, there is an urgent need for change, not only in the status quo, but in the attitude and political disparities born out of the exclusion of women.
The bone of contention is the inability to treat women as an integral part of the development policies. It is time to break down the apartheid in gender and practice integration and inclusion. Nigeria is a country whose human and other resources continue to erode due to the exclusion of women. Change is inevitable and it cannot be avoided. The wind of change that is sweeping through the world ought to serve as a serious lesson to us. Whilst we may wish to retain our culture and tradition, they cannot be those that exclude more than half of our total population from the processes of development…. It is time to end sexual discrimination and all other shameful practices that oppress woman in our society. The apartheid in gender has no place in a modern society. It is dangerous to think that a part is better than the whole” (Ayodele A. Atsenuwa, ‘Constitutionalism and Legal Feminism, 2011).
Women have a role to play in society. The nurturing of children in an organised manner to bring out the finer essence of the individual should no longer be overlooked or delegated to schools without monitoring or delegated to persons incapable of imparting same. Schools should engage curriculum that adopts teaching of ethics and etiquettes at an early level.
Entrepreneurial skills should encompass training for staff who serve the public on ethics and etiquettes. These should be patronised. Regulation providing minimum standards for public events should form governmental objective and policy. Religious groups should also promote scholastic non-revenue generating endeavors that enhance etiquettes, ethics and culture in women and girls.
Professor Chinwuba, BL. Is of the Department of Private and Property Law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org