World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022

Making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030

Imelda rolled to a fetal position as the pain in her abdomen increased. She clutched her stomach and stifled a groan. She lazied out of bed to get her hot water bottle.

As she turned on the light, she noticed a pimple break out on her left thigh. Her body vibrated with panic, she dashed to the bathroom and splashed water on her thigh, and began massaging in hopes of them disappearing. ‘Just go away.’ She mumbled. The pimples remained. She burst into tears and sat on the covered toilet bowl. ‘I wish you were here, I don’t know what is happening to me. I feel like I am going to be sick like you mom.’

Imelda lost her mom when she was four and since then, it had been just her and her dad. She had yet to tell her dad about the recent happenings in her body because she did not want to alarm him.

Mr. Frank switched off the television and went upstairs, as he passed by Imelda’s room, he noticed the light was still switched on so he knocked at the door, ‘it’s past your bedtime, you have school tomorrow.’ He announced.

Mr. Frank knocked again and when he heard no response, he opened the door. He found her seated on the toilet bowl sobbing. Immediately she looked up, she wiped her eyes. ‘Daddy, I was just…’

‘Why are you crying dear?’ He asked.

She shook her head, ‘I miss mommy.’ She replied.

Mr. Frank pulled her up from the toilet bowl and led her to the room. ‘I will tell you a bedtime story about mom.’ Imelda smiled and at moment the pain and fear that coursed through her halted.

*****

Imelda placed her head on the table at the cafeteria during lunchtime. Modupe handed her a cupcake, ‘it’s my brother’s birthday.’ Modupe smiled. ‘The party is this weekend and you are invited.’ Imelda was about to take it when she felt a blunt pain in her lower stomach. She gritted her teeth and shook her head. ‘Thanks, but I’ll pass.’

‘Are you still feeling sick?’

‘Yes.’ She replied. ‘I had to force myself to come to school because of the Maths test.’

Modupe patted Imelda’s back and placed the cupcake back inside the box. As soon as she started eating, Imelda stood. ‘I will be at the sickbay.’ She said. Immediately she stood, a sea of murmurs broke out. Imelda took guarded steps, wondering what was responsible for the murmurs. She thought to herself. Is my zip bad? She ran her hand through it and heaved a sigh of relief. It is not the zip, then what?

‘Imelda is leaking like a pot of spoilt stew.’ Abel yelled, contorting his face and pointing at Imelda.

‘Yuck! So disgusting. It just had to be in the cafeteria of all places.’ Tobi a boy seated beside Abel snorted. ‘My food is polluted.’

The cafeteria became noisy with laughter and giggles. Imelda examined her grey skirt and saw the bloodstain. She hid her face in her palms and scurried to the door.

Modupe rushed after her and handed Imelda her sweater. ‘Welcome to the club.’ She squealed in excitement…

‘Why are you happy over my humiliation?’

‘You should not be humiliated over a normal occurrence in your body. It is as normal as the air we breathe, so own it. I’ve always thought Abel was a dumbo and today, he made that clear.’

‘You bleed too?’ Imelda asked. ‘I thought I was sick.’

Modupe nodded, ‘Every woman does. It’s officially two months since I saw my first period.’

‘I had no idea. Maybe if mom was here she would have prepared me.’

Modupe hugged her, ‘I know but I am sure your dad will have some answers too. And you can always spend your next period at my house and we can have the baby girl treatment.’

‘Thank you so much. I think he tried to tell me many times before but didn’t know how to start. So, I’m going to ask him today. Thank you.”

Arm in arm, they went to the nurse to get some pads and pain killers.

*****

At the cafeteria, minutes after the giggles died down, Daniel nudged Abel, ‘Why did you humiliate Imelda? Couldn’t you see how uncomfortable she already was? Don’t you have a mom or a sister?’ He asked. ‘You are so stupid. How do you think women have children? ‘

‘Whatever.’ Abel replied, shrugging. ‘But I heard period blood is dirty blood.’

‘You are silly. It is a pity I can’t help your ignorance.’ Daniel resumed eating and Tobi pinched his nose in disgust.

Farida shook her head as she listened to their conversation. She resisted the urge to drag Abel and Tobi by the ear and force them to apologize to Imelda but she had bigger fish to fry.

She waved at Daniel as she passed their table on her way to the principal’s office.

‘Good afternoon, Sir.’

‘How are you doing Farida?’ Mr. Reginald asked.

‘I am fine, I wanted to discuss something that just happened at the cafeteria.’

Mr. Reginald looked up and removed his glasses. ‘I am all ears.’

Farida narrated what happened with Imelda, and Mr. Reginald furrowed his brows. She had not even finished narrating when he yelled. ‘Get me, Abel and Tobi, I will make them scapegoats to serve as a deterrent to other students.’

‘No sir.’ She shook her head. ‘I think educating the whole school that menstruation is a normal occurrence in women and girls and not some disease will yield better results.’

Mr. Reginald nodded, ‘Amazing, that is a wonderful idea. We can organize a seminar. The school nurse will anchor it.’

*****
Menstruation is a natural and healthy occurrence for many young girls and women around the world. Menstruation occurs monthly in most women and girls for about 2 to 7 days. It is an important aspect of reproduction as the menstrual cycle prepares the body for pregnancy.

According to UNICEF, around half of the female population (in the world) is of reproductive age. As important as menstruation is in reproduction, it is still stigmatized all over the world. It is treated like a disease and most girls and boys are denied the opportunity to learn about it. It is appalling that women and girls have been denied the right to learn about their bodies. Boys and men are taught to be repulsed by it and girls and women are taught to be ashamed of it.

But menstruation could perhaps be likened to metamorphosis which is normal and essential. Who would see a caterpillar bloom into a butterfly and frown in disgust? Obviously an ignorant person. Sadly, gender inequality and toxic customs/traditions are common reasons for stigmatization against menstruation. This negatively impacts the quality of life of women and girls. It makes them keep silent when they’re on their period or experiencing complications. It also denies girls and women access to quality sanitary materials like pads and tampons.

We need to destigmatize menstruation because it is a normal aspect of life. Girls and women have the right to be free from discrimination about something that makes life continue. They have to stop feeling like they should be silent or hide when they are on their periods.

Let’s destigmatize menstruation. The way we can do that is to start talking about menstruation it in our offices, schools, markets, bus parks, etc. Let’s demystify it and stop talking about in hush hush tones like it’s something to be ashamed of. Menstruation is not a crime. I’m challenging you today to make the change. Making menstruation normal by 2030 begins with you.

Cyberbullying targeted towards Women

‘Hand me the phone.’ Anita said, stretching out her hand. Anita looked at the crease lines on Toyin’s forehead as she scrolled through her phone. Toyin shook her head, holding up a hand. Her phone had been burning up since morning, her Facebook notifications were off the charts. Usually, she got notifications but this time was different. Her eyes burned with tears as she read the comments.
‘They are supposed to be congratulating me.’ She yelled. ‘I just got a million dollars seed funding from Cruce. Why am I being vilified?’
‘Is this rhetorical?’ Anita asked.
Toyin put her phone down and looked up ‘Seriously, I want to know.’ She quizzed.
‘You should know by now that a woman’s worth according to society is not in the success or wealth she possesses.’ Anita replied.

Toyin’s phone beeped again, she snatched it and Anita groaned. ‘For the one-thousandth time, get off that phone. It will do you no good to stay on it.’ Anita pleaded.
Amongst the sea of negative comments, one caught her eye. It read;
I may not be the CEO of a tech company but at least I am in my husband’s house. Stop deceiving our girls with all this feminist hogwash that they don’t need a man.

The negative comments from the men did not hurt as much as the ones from the women. Another comment read;

See dis evening newspaper ooo you get money, you no get husband who you wan impress? Getat!

Anita snatched the phone and ran off, leaving Toyin with her stormy thoughts. Toyin threw on her robe and walked to the floor-length mirror. As she looked at her reflection, memories flashed before her. She whimpered on remembering Frederick Lawson. It was an investor meeting turn lunch date. Toyin had walked into Debonair restaurant decked in a navy blue pantsuit. Her hair was neatly wrapped. She looked around and noticed it was deserted.

‘Good afternoon sir.’ She said.
Fred who was sitted at the table at the center flashed a smile. ‘Fred’s fine. Good afternoon.’ He replied.
‘Where is everyone?’ She asked. ‘I thought your partner was supposed to be in attendance.’
Fredrick chuckled and pursed his lips. ‘Too inquisitive.’ He drawled. ‘Have a seat.’ He motioned to the one closest to him. When Toyin was seated, he placed a hand on her thigh.’
Toyin flung his hand away and stood. ‘What was that for?’
‘Stop acting dumb.’ He replied. ‘You scratch my back, I scratch yours.’
Toyin burst into a peal of humourless laughter. ‘I will never scratch your maggot-infested back.’
‘Good luck getting funded, you won’t last.’ He snapped.

Toyin had worked so hard that she thought she would die of mental and physical exhaustion. Her weekends were super packed with meetings and work. She took a year off social media to focus, it got so bad her boyfriend broke up with her. Her family quarreled with her for missing the monthly family dinners. In the end, her hard work paid off. The number of sexual advances from prospective male investors was nerve-wracking. As a matter of fact, about eighty percent of male prospective investors made advances at her. It felt like a battlefield with the world as her opponent. She was about to throw in towel when Cruce called her over the pitch she sent almost a year ago. Tables had shifted, she was the queen with the world as her playground.
Zynpro had been on Toyin’s mind after she finished her masters. The idea behind Zynpro was to help source for funds for farmers through investors who wanted to explore new opportunities in agriculture. She confided in her elder brother who laughed her off. ‘Why don’t you just work in one? Why must you start one?’
‘But it is my dream.’ She replied. ‘I want to be CEO of my own fintech company. I want to contribute to society in my own way.’
Tayo scoffed, ‘a dream that will drive suitors away. You gonna make men intimidated. You can contribute to the society by being a wife and a mother.’
‘Watch me, Tayo, watch me take on the world. I will be CEO of my own Fintech company and you will be sorry for marginalising me.’

After breakfast, Toyin settled down to send some emails before going to the office. She sipped from her favourite mocha mug while she worked. She noticed a strange mail, when she clicked on it. It was an invitation to the Aurora Tech Summit in Dubai.
‘Anita!’ She yelled.
Anita rushed in looking perplexed. ‘What is wrong?’ She asked.
‘I just got an invitation to the Aurora Tech Summit in Dubai next month.’
Anita placed a hand over her lips, ‘Aurora Tech Summit?’
Toyin nodded, ‘and that is not all, Aurora Magazine would like a feature. I am so overwhelmed with emotion, here I was brooding over the hateful comments on Facebook.’

We are all influenced by stereotypes and rules. These rules tell us what is and not. Our society is governed by gender roles, females and males have specific roles attributed to them. These stereotypes have made females to be viewed as inferior or weak. When a female tries to break the rules or stereotypes, she is bashed. It is almost like, females are told to fly but not too high. A female’s success is measured by marriage and family. They almost make it seem like being a female is a curse. Denying people the freedom to choose their path in life because of their gender prevents them from fulfilling their potentials. If Toyin had listened toTayo and the voice of society she would have been unfulfilled. On our social media space today, successful women are constantly trolled to get married while their male counterparts are lauded. Everyone regardless of gender has greatness embedded in them, let us throw away the gender bias so that society will become better. If Cruce had not believed in Toyin’s dreams, she would not have been able to proffer a solution to one of the many societal problems.

Artificial Intelligence and Gender Equality!

For a long time, intelligence was only connected with humans. It was utilized by scientists to demonstrate a clear distinction between humans and animals in terms of our ability to think, be creative, imaginative, and propose solutions. These attributes are fundamental to human beings, and intellect was once thought to be unique to humans. Things have changed since then. Human intelligence is no longer the only form of intelligence. Our technological geniuses have produced Artificial Intelligence. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI), we see robots and computers playing the role of humans in data collection, analysis, projections, and all the rest. These devices are programmed to store memory, proffer solutions and help in decision making. They are also programmed to work as smart assistants, conversational marketing robots, autoresponders, chatbots, help desks, and the like. They even work virtually and physically to take and dispatch orders in various sectors of the economy. Nearly every field of human endeavor can and has incorporated AI into making their products and services better. In this piece, we are going to look at a few ways that AI can help foster gender equality.

Gender Equality is simply the belief that both genders are equal and should have equal rights and access to opportunities. In the society, the females are relegated and seen as subservient especially in Africa while the men are seen as kings. When a woman is ambitious or career-driven, she is seen as loud and arrogant but when the coins are turned to the side of the male gender he is seen as productive and his praise is sung by all. These subtle biases may seem insignificant but they play out in people’s perception of hiring female leaders, promoting female staff, and in some cases salaries paid to female workers.

AI can increase gender discrimination by affecting women. Since AI does tasks that people can do, it can limit women’s chances of getting into roles like customer service, support, and so on.

Can AI promote gender equality? Yes. Since AI makes tasks easier and faster and helps in data collation and analysis, AI can be used to identify areas where women are being discriminated against. An example where this can be very useful is in hiring candidates for executive roles. AI can be used to monitor the hiring processes. If any discrimination is noticed, it will be investigated and addressed. In a similar light, AI can be used to monitor bias in election primaries, access to education, or certain privileges like grants, funding, scholarships, membership of boards, and so on. AI can also make it easier to report suspected cases of discrimination or any form of ills against girls and women. People can connect with sites, software, or messaging platforms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and be led to the nearest NGO, government official, or assistance center AI by developing sites, software, or messaging platforms. It has the potential to save many girls from child labor, and child marriage, and keep them in school. In combat zones, artificial intelligence can help make access to pads and other feminine hygiene supplies easier. AI has the potential to make education and health care more accessible to girls and women in locations where people may find it difficult to travel.

Finally, UNESCO recommends that more girls and women be encouraged to pursue careers in technology, particularly artificial intelligence. When more girls and women get interested in AI, they will strive to provide solutions that will benefit other women, level the playing field, and reduce disparities. We can all contribute to ensuring that this technology brings us closer together. Let’s learn more about AI and put it into practice. Let’s also urge our young females to pursue AI training and research how to apply it to promote gender equality.

World Day of Social Justice 2022

Today is World Day of Social Justice, a day set aside by the UN to promote poverty eradication, by the promotion of full employment and decent work, universal social protection, gender equality, and social justice for all. This year’s theme is achieving social justice through formal employment. The idea behind this is that when we formalize employment, we reduce poverty and inequalities faster.

Informal employment is employment with no full employee benefits. A good number of Nigeria’s employed population is engaged in informal employment. These workers are usually hired by word of mouth and can be fired at any time the same way. They have no employee rights, and little or no holidays. They are not protected by any labour laws because there’s no proof that they are employed by the organization. This percentage of people, mostly women, are most likely to be affected when there is an economic meltdown. This is why we should champion the transition from informal to formal employment.

Why do people engage in informal employment? Most women have no choice. The unemployment rate, lack of opportunities in the formal economy, their caregiving role, and sometimes, family or societal dynamics play a huge factor. They may also be living in a location that they are unwilling to relocate from. Hence, they are forced to pick up these low-paying informal jobs that have no security and no incentives.

Women also seem to be more affected by this inequality because they have been conditioned (by upbringing) to be content and quiet even when a situation is not favourable. They have learned to take what they’re given instead of reaching out for more or asking for what they’re worth. This is one barrier I am passionate about tackling. I want more women to shatter stereotypes and make demands in their workplace. I want women to know their worth, apply for jobs they’re qualified for, negotiate their pay, and be appreciated for the job they do. I want women to know that they deserve to be valued.

Can we make things better for women? In addition to advocacy and creating awareness, I strongly believe that legislation can be put in place to make this transition from informal to formal contexts easier. If a staff member is qualified, putting in the work, and providing value for the organization, she should be made a formal staff within a specific (short-term) time frame. This time frame will depend on the company size and how soon they can provide full employment benefits. That way, we would level the playing field, ensure social justice and protect our women from poverty and starvation in economic crises.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2022 – Temitayo Ayeni

Long ago, it was unheard of for women to venture into STEM. Many women who loved science, mathematics or technology were seen as unusual. In some extreme cases, they were called witches and burned. As time went on, although people stopped burning women for being ambitious, parents and people in society still discouraged their girls from studying science. They felt that women were too fragile to handle STEM education.

Right now, the narrative has changed and more women are exploring the field of STEM and navigating it with so much passion and excellence. But despite the changing narrative, there are still a good number of people in Nigeria and Africa who are not used to the idea of women in STEM. As a result, there’s still a huge gender gap in STEM. It’s because of this gender gap that I love to shed my spotlight on women in STEM who are shattering glass ceilings, breaking gender barriers and achieving amazing things.

Today, we will be chatting with an incredible woman in STEM, Temitayo Ayeni, technical business development manager and a trained electrical and electronics engineer. She believes in gender equality and loves writing articles and blog posts in her spare time.

Sit back, grab a cold drink and enjoy this exciting conversation.

1. Can we meet you?

My name is Temitayo Ayeni. I am a technical business development manager and a trained electrical and electronics engineer. I currently work in the Fintech industry where I drive market development by deploying payment services, and support businesses throughout the process of integration to APIs on their mobile applications and other platforms. In my spare time, I write articles and blog posts, I consider this my hobby.

2. What was your university education like?

Well, of course, schooling within the Nigerian educational system is no piece of cake. I attended the Federal University of Technology, Akure, popularly known for its strict academic life and an almost non-existent social life. Being among the few females in engineering, I did my best to ensure the challenge was worth it, and I am glad it turned out well.

3. How has the journey in a STEM career been like? Do you have any regrets?

To be honest, no regrets at all. I have metamorphosed from starting as a core engineer, to working in a financial institution and currently serving as a business executive in the Fintech industry where I apply my technical knowledge to improve businesses. STEM remains a field that is ever-evolving, full of opportunities and chances for growth. The industry continues to make actual visible impact on our daily quality of life, and I think it is a great opportunity to be a part of an industry that is changing lives and making the world a better place.

4. Many people think STEM courses are a no-go area for girls, what do you have to say about this?

I do not think any industry is a no-go area for girls, and most especially the STEM industry. Girls do exceptionally well in STEM courses and eventually blossom in their careers. Actually, the industry needs more women who are driven and poised to support technological advancement. As a young girl, I heard people say things like “don’t study engineering it’s for boys” and like I have always said, this is nonsense talk. The girl child should always be supported to go after her dreams, whatever they may be. So yes, more girls should study STEM courses and not fall for shallow-minded opinions and social prejudices that could limit their life achievements.

5. What has helped you to attain success?

I think having a positive attitude to life is key, and this has helped me a lot. When I have a goal in mind, I go all out for it. I am an optimist, so at the very least, I expect to learn from my experiences. I am also blessed with very supportive family and friends, and very recently, a spouse that is very encouraging. Let’s just say my inner circle is amazing. People who drive me to continue to be the best at what I do.

6. What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered in this chosen path? How did you approach them?

Luckily for me I have never been in a gender-biased working environment, but I will say that the STEM industry itself expects women to continuously prove themselves. I have always known this and I do not think it is fair, however I always try to put my best foot forward, be great at my job and challenge the status quo when necessary. I have also had to deal with social prejudices of what people think women should be doing and their place in the society. My approach has always been the same, ignore side talks, aim for massive success, touch lives along your journey, and ensure to balance work and family life. At the end of the day, that’s all that counts.

7. What one thing did you wish you could have done differently?

Well, I wish I had exploited more opportunities as a young lad. You know, not just rely on academic information but do more personal development as a teenager and an undergraduate. A lot of what drives my career now has almost nothing to do with what I learnt in school, but from experiences and personal development. There’s so much knowledge to be gained especially in STEM and you have to constantly put yourself out there so that you are not left behind.

8. What advice would you give your younger self?

Be yourself, take pride in being different, the world is big enough to accommodate you uniqueness and your dreams. Take chances and do that thing, make that move. Without mistakes and failures you would never learn and all you would have at the end of the day is a bucket full of “what ifs?’

9. How can you encourage young girls to study STEM courses?

I would just say, young girls should go for it. Surround yourself with people who understand your dreams and support it 100%. The STEM industry needs you, you have very high chances of being a huge success if you continue to develop yourself, and the opportunities are limitless. If I can do it, you can do it too.

It has been great time with Temitayo examining life, schooling in Nigeria, challenges as a woman in STEM, and so on. A key takeaway from this conversation is: there’s really nothing to lose. Girls and women can be anything and should go for STEM if they want to.

To connect with Temitayo, reach out to her on any of the following platforms:
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/tyayeni/
Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/temitayo-ayeni/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/TyAyeni

Debunking Surrogacy Myths – A Twitter Chat with Dr. Adewumi Babatunde Enoch

Here is the compilation of the Twitter Chat with Dr. Adewumi Babatunde Enoch

Q1: First of all, What is surrogacy?

A1: Surrogacy is defined as the practice where a woman (a surrogate) carries a child for another person(s) (the commissioning or intending parents) due to a prior arrangement that the child would be handed over to the commissioning parent at birth.

Q2: What is the procedure for surrogacy?

A2: The first process is to select a surrogate and sign a contract. The surrogate must have already had at least one living child. A surrogate with no history of childbirth is ineligible.
Then ensure that all the blood works are clean in some climes they don’t allow people with some infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B except the surrogate has the same conditions.

Although, some studies have shown it has no effect on the embryo or the mother.
Determine if the commissioning parents both have viable gametes. The gametes are withdrawn and artificially inseminated via IVF, once an embryo develops it is put in the surrogate who carries it to term. While they are followed up and watched carefully.

The method of delivery, for surrogacy, has to be CS. This is usually in the contract. The surrogate is well-informed before time. Notably, in the case, that the child does not survive to term. The surrogate is not of them died after three days.

Surrogates are not paid if the child is not carried to term. This is also included in the contract. There are cases where surrogates change their mind halfway and terminate the pregnancy that’s part of the shortfall on the side of the commissioning parents.

This reflects the absence of a legal framework guiding this high-risk venture in this country because once they there is no law that regulates surrogacy which creates loopholes that is some facilities use guarantors and they ensure the whole family is involved.

Q3: Is surrogacy currently done in Nigeria?

A3: Yes, it is currently done in Nigeria. But there is no established law to protect the surrogates and the commissioning parents. Meaning that as much as we try to have a proper legal backup or legal framework, because we have contracts that we tried to, like, cover all the loopholes, or all the possible bad scenarios that could come up, but something could go wrong, and it could blow up in the faces of either the surrogates would be at loss or suffer, or the intending parents in the case of if the surrogate decides to claim the child, if she goes to court to claim the child the court will agree, although as we both know now, as far as the commissioning parents own the egg & sperm, the child has no genetic connection with the woman. But there is no law to back anybody up for so if the surrogate decides to take the child, there is nothing you can do. This does happen. Although we have contracts where the surrogates would sign after delivery nothing that she would willingly give up the child. While we have put up a strong legal system to avoid problems. There are no acts or any legislation that covers surrogacy in Nigeria.

Q4: How are Nigerians responding to this method of having children?

A4: With mixed feelings and skepticism. Only a particular class of people have, or think about it even being in the system, I can tell you that even when it is suggested or when clinicals symptoms show that surrogacy is the next step.

Some of the couples want to make sure that they exhaust all possible options before they go for that option. To an average Nigerian, it sounds like an abomination. Even the parents that are involved themselves, we sometimes find it hard to convince them that child is not genetically connected to a surrogate mom. I will tell you, we’ve been in a system that most of our clients that actually opt for surrogates are Nigerians leaving from abroad. The ratio of clients from abroad to clients based in Nigeria is six to four or seven to three. Clearly, people don’t understand as much as they should about it yet. So I would say the reception is biased only people that are in the system understands it. Even among young people, you’ll be surprised at the reaction to things like this.

So, it is not even about a generational gap or something. It’s just information that people do not have. As such, it is very difficult for people to accept what they don’t understand in this part of the world.

So, I will say we are trying, but we’re not there yet, the reception is not as good as it should be.

Q5: What are the various reasons why couples opt for surrogacy?

A5: Not having a uterus as a result of a hysterectomy or being born without a functional uterus
Significant uterine abnormalities, including uterine scarring (Asherman’s Syndrome) and inability to develop a thick, supportive uterine lining.
Significant medical conditions that make carrying a pregnancy risky for a woman’s health (such as hypertension)
Chronic reproductive loss
Cancer
Some people don’t want to carry pregnancy for personal reasons.

Q6: What are the cultural misconceptions and misinformation surrounding surrogacy?

A6: Many people believe that it is not a natural means of conception and as such it is tampering with nature People feel they won’t bond well with the children because they didn’t carry them.
Traditionally people believe that infertility is a curse and if they don’t bear their children it means they are cursed. They feel the children will carry the traits of the surrogate and not the biological parents. They can also be stigmatized.

Q7: Is surrogacy the same as adoption? If not, how so?

A7: Surrogacy is not the same thing as adoption. In adoption, the child is not biologically related to the parents while in surrogacy they carry the genes of the parent.

Q8: Why are people usually reluctant to explore surrogacy?

A8 : As mentioned earlier, some people do not understand because they feel like another person that they don’t know would carry their child, and you know this thing about women carrying their own children. It is special.

I understand that sometimes the women find it difficult to agree to surrogacy because they’ll feel like they missed out on that bond. So even when that child is carrying their Gene 100% they find it difficult to bond with the child because somewhere at the back of their head they were not the one that carried the child they may be feeling like the child is not their child. The connection a reason why people are reluctant, the fear of not being able to connect with the child. It happens actually but for a little while.

Q9: What are the cost implications of surrogacy?

A9: Well, let me just say, within the range of two to 5 million naira depending. It can even be more than that. Because the way surrogacy works, if you’re using an agency or even if you’re working directly with the IVF clinic and you get your surrogate.

First thing, you are supposed to put these surrogates up, give the surrogate accommodation. However, this depends on how the surrogate was gotten because you must get the surrogate an accommodation.

You have to pay surrogate stipends monthly for the surrogate to be able to feed, and then you have the final bulk sum that is paid to the surrogates. I have had within the range of 1 million to 3 million naira. Depends on your negotiation power, and depends on the agency
Why I said, 5.5 million, 5 million, because the cost implication for the IVF procedure is also part of it. So if you’re going to take up a surrogate, you have to pay for the IVF procedure, you have to pay the surrogacy agency.

Q10: What obligations do intending parents owe the surrogate mother and vice versa?

A10: The first obligation, the intended parents owes the surrogates is to be medically clean. Also, the surrogate has to be medically clean because you know that even if genetically they are not connected there are some infections that will still cross from a mother to child.
Then another one is the contract that you sign, the surrogate is supposed to sign a contract to agree that at the end of the pregnancy, she is going to hand over the child to the commissioning parents.

Because trust me, some of these surrogates, they used to get emotionally attached, but hardly shall because in this part of the world, for a woman to agree to do surrogacy most likely for a woman to agree to do surrogacy most likely she needs the money.

Then I mentioned this earlier, now the commissioning parent has to provide the surrogates accommodation, because of cultural norms and all these things, sometimes the lady when she’s pregnant, she may not want to stay in the place where she’s leaving, because everybody will see she’s pregnant. And then after she delivers, she kind of has to explain why she doesn’t have a child anymore.

Also, the provision of accommodation for the surrogate is part of the contract agreement, because in my agency, we have surrogates that are married, and their husbands are their surety. For these ones, we still give them accommodation money and it is up to them to do whatever they want to do. So, accommodation is one of the things that is required, then a stipend you have to give the surrogates feeding money every month so that your child will be born healthy. So that surrogates can feed optimally, you know, then of course, before all of these, even before he gets all of these, they would have agreed upon final payments. Some surrogates are very lucky. They actually have intending parents that take them abroad to go and give birth.

Q11: What is your advice to intending couples who want to explore this option?

A11: For intending couples who want to explore this option, It is not a crime especially, if your doctor recommends that as your last resort, I think it’s something that should be explored, especially if both couple have viable gametes.

I think it is something that should be explored. The child is still yours You just have to break that mental barrier. the child is very much your child. I think it’s an option that should be open for exploration. people need to talk about it more.

Q12: What role can the media and health advocates play in educating and enlightening people so as to keep them informed on this issue?

A12: The media needs to start putting out the right information. The media needs to start demystifying surrogacy and call out baby factories. They need to be stopped. Because those ones are crimes against humanity.

Sometimes the women that are involved in those things did not do it willingly. So, when people speak up more, especially, people that have used surrogates in Nigeria. If they can speak up more about it, I think it would gradually become more acceptable.

We can raise conversations about the stigmatization of surrogacy and artificial reproductive systems in general. The more we begin to talk about these things the more acceptable they become.
As it is, infertility is gradually becoming a choice because there are solutions for everyone today. The only limitation is the cost of funding surrogacy.

Take The Lead: Women in Technology and Engineering! – Adeyinka Adebakin

Why so few? This has always been the question on everyone’s lips. We all know there is still a gender gap in Technology but things are changing rapidly. The lack of women in the industry is making it difficult to have role models at the top. Now the conversation around women
in Technology and engineering is shifting towards a positive direction. However, many women still feel excluded and unsafe in a male-dominated industry and this article is to remind you that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. You are worthy of that new promotion. Don’t feel intimidated because of your gender.

| Most women think Technology is more like a boys’ club and they will not fit in. – Unknown |

The question is; How can we help to change the orientation of the female gender? We need to do a better job of letting girls know that tech is a viable career option where they can equally grow as much as men do.

Here are 5 ways to help women in technology take the lead;

Go for it

The options in Information technology are limitless.
It is not just about coding or programming. There are several options when you want to have a career in information technology. These options include; project management, UI/UX design, Requirement engineering, Business analysis, Software Quality Assurance, etc. You don’t have to limit yourself to a single path, there is a room for diversity. So, go for it. Information Technology does not only mean programming. It can involve creativity, big-picture thinking too, but you need to be willing to try new things. Flexibility and adaptability keep you in the game.

Confidence in yourself

Although, a confident man is perceived as more positive than a confident woman, therefore, women should often temper their confidence with modesty because failure to do that can saddle them with a reputation for being difficult or overbearing. You have already won half of the battle if you are confident in yourself. If you’re in a workplace with fewer women, lean on one another for support to build confidence.Lack of confidence is holding most women in technology back. One piece of advice I can give to women in technology is that; Never stop learning because human gets more confident as they become more experienced.

Know your worth

Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by a room full of men. Embrace the uniqueness. You are only in that environment because you are worthy of that space. Don’t be afraid to give your own opinion on any topic. As a woman, we bring different perspectives and skillsets to the table. It is important for women to know their worth.

Don’t be afraid of mistakes

We always think that a mistake from us could have a negative impact on our career. Information technology is for everybody and women have always been a part of history. We have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi because of the work of women. It was created alongside men. So why do we still feel like we don’t belong? Why don’t we see ourselves as innovators? That’s because we don’t know our history. Mistakes are a part of life, we just have to learn from them.

Be Consistent & preserve:

Often, we don’t take the risks that we need to. The fear of failure is what makes us lose opportunities. This is a common problem to face no matter what stage you are at in your career. The change will always be scary but persevering through those hardships is what brings out the best in you. A common mistake many people make is to give up before trying because it seems impossible to succeed. The fear of failure often keeps both men and women from achieving their full potential in their careers. Also, perseverance is important for anyone, but especially a woman starting a career in the technology field. You may be in a job where you have to constantly fight to keep your position, so be willing to work extra hard to stand out from the crowd.

Finally, create your own personal definition of success. Success is defined by what makes you feel successful whether it is making more money or getting promoted at work. You need to define
success for yourself and it could change along the way. However, you might not necessarily have a detailed plan but you must have a vision for your career. Careers are usually very dynamic. It’s like traveling, you are open to many options along the way. We are women, we are leaders. We can take the lead!

Adeyinka Adebakin, is currently a Master’s student at Technical University Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she majors in Software Engineering. Alongside her studies, she works with SAP, a multinational software company in Germany. Adeyinka has a passion for Information technology management and supporting different startups in the software industry.

When Acts of Service Are Gendered

A post about a couple that went for an event trended on Twitter some time ago because the woman served herself but didn’t serve her husband. People said different things. Many people blamed the wife for eating without making sure her husband had food to eat. They saw her as irresponsible, uncaring and some might have said that she was unfit to be married to a man. While I don’t think it was nice that she was eating and her husband wasn’t, I had to think about it from a different perspective as well.

As I thought, I realized that most people judged that woman harshly because certain acts of service are gendered in our society. What do I mean by that? There are certain things that people expect women to do (for example cooking, cleaning, and babysitting) not necessarily out of love or because it is nice but as a duty. People tend to see these acts of service as roles of women in their homes and in society. As a result, there are certain expectations on women whenever there is food involved. They are expected to take charge of making sure that everyone is served and comfortable before they fill their plate and eat.

When the woman doesn’t play by this societal script, all hell is let loose. We don’t see this happen with men. Men are not expected to serve food in any capacity. In fact, when they cook, serve food, or do any of the gendered acts of service, it is seen as a big deal. People heap praises on them and they feel like those men are so nice and so good. And the woman at the receiving end is lucky to have him in her life.

If he doesn’t do it, nothing happens because he is not supposed to do it in the first place. I often wonder, if it was the man that took his food and sat down to eat, would people have lashed out at him? Would they have seen him as the world’s worst husband? Your guess is as good as mine.

Instead of berating the man, people may have scolded the woman. If she is the one that complained on Twitter (like the man did), she would have been called entitled and even foolish for washing dirty linen in public. Some others might have chosen the word disrespectful and asked if she expects her husband to serve her. Most people won’t take her side because they don’t expect him to serve. It’s not his job.

But it is not the same for women. When a woman renders these acts of service, it’s her duty. It is never seen as something extraordinary. In some cases, she may not be appreciated because it is expected. That is why there is always a backlash when these gendered acts of service are not carried out by women.

While I believe the couple above should have communicated better and done things differently, I don’t think we would have been so hard on the woman if we stopped tying acts of service to gender.

What if instead of expecting women do certain things, we are grateful when anyone is helpful and renders any service? What if we instead of worshipping one gender for the same thing we barely appreciate in the other gender, we praise anyone who does good and helps move the family forward? The importance of reciprocity and sharing in partnership and love cannot be overstated..

It is my 3 Year Blog Anniversary!

It is my third blog anniversary, and I really feel my emotions cringing under an overwhelming weight of mixed feelings.

One, I am exhilarated that I have stayed true to my vision despite the spate of challenges that have beset my quest over the years. The courage has not been totally unwavering, the resolve has not been purely untested, but staying the course, despite the many turbulent waves that have rocked the boat of my blog, has always kept me afloat, has always been the driving force behind my constant need to surge forward, to move ahead, to never look back, and to never back down.
Two, there are times I do want to throw everything out the window when I consider the average bad reception that my posts receive in consonance with the varied assumption that people (Nigerians especially) do not read. That, in itself, is discouraging and exhausting, and most times, it plays out on my mentality and affects my quest to push on.

Three, more often, I blame myself for not exhaustively exploring contemporary ways to appeal to the speedy thoughts of the average (budding) youth, based on another assumption that they (the youth) pass time with other stuff other than reading so much that I question why I started this quest of enlightenment in the first instance if I cannot seem to bond with the primary target audience of my posts and make my posts a an educative pastime for them.

Four, many times, it appears as if I am posting content on my blog without a readily-available-to-click-and-read audience, but I trudged on because as a literature enthusiast, I understand full well the didactic value of writing for social impact.

All these reasons no matter, and for what it is worth, staying consistent, even with the negative energy, is a daunting task. It is taxing to research, put outlines and content together, and post 171 blog articles in 3 years—yeah, it does not invalidate that others could have managed more in that time, but I am proud of the ‘little’ that I have done. After all, that is an average of one post per week, and when I know I may be the only one who has read what I wrote, I never feel downcast to not repeat the act of posting the subsequent week.

Why then do I seem to be indefatigable in the face of ropes that seek to pull me down? I attribute my consistency to the fact that I see roselineadewuyi.com as an archive (or a compendium for) where my works can be read by generations of women even after my eventual passing to the land beyond— I know it is not in the meantime, but a human has to live with that thought in their head all the time. Hogwash or rich, somehow, someone will someday connect with my writings, and it will change their perspective. Also, I am driven by the constant need to put relatable ideas to the test and move the blog upward, through the muck, with each demanding push. With time, and as I get better at honing the requisite skills of my craft, more people will get to read and make reference to what I have written.

There is a mainstay characteristic about my blog, though: the website is replete with engaging posts, the kind that leaves you pondering your positions about a lot of trendy matters, the kind that has you reviewing your mindset, and asking deep, reflective questions about your life, as it relates to another human, especially the opposite gender, the kind that makes you question stereotypes that have guided and guarded your life, and possibly have made you stopped shoring claims that you may have doubted over the years.

And, regardless of the scarce number of individuals that I have checking out the posts now and then, I still owe my gratitude to everyone who has engaged my writings in one respect or another. You have been one of my main reasons to continue to work on the blog, damning the efforts the continued task gulp. Thank you for sticking with me over the years. I hope I thrill you over the next years to come.

For what it is worth, I am a flawed human, and in my quest to broach sensitive issues, there may have been a misstep here or there. So, I would like you to share your thoughts with me regarding how I can serve you better, or how I can correct my mistakes, should there be any.
In the same vein, I would like you to reach out to me and share your thoughts with me on which of my posts you have connected with the most. I mean, there must be one (or more) post that resonates with you, and that has influenced you in one regard or another. I am waiting to discuss your shared thoughts with you.

Lastly, blogging may be fun for many, but somehow, I consider it quite taxing—I admit, I may be doing some things wrongly, though. So perhaps, there is an individual you know how there who can mentor me in this blogging world. Kindly link me with the person. I am available for some lessons, and I would appreciate the help!

All in all, thanks for being a part of my community, and I look forward to reading from you soon, even as I hope to constantly have you as my untiring readership.

Happy 3rd Anniversary to roselineadewuyi.com, and by extension, to me!

Can All Women Really Multitask?

Clara, a young mother of two was recently hired in a company she had always wanted to work in. On her first day, her boss asked her to go through the journal that contained his weekly schedule and sort out the important meetings into a to-do list he would work with that week. Important meetings included meeting with clients, doctor’s appointments, dinner dates with his wife, and meeting with government officials and the overall boss. She was to create a much smaller version of the schedule with just the very important meetings.

Barely ten minutes after she got started, her boss called her to his office, gave her some money, and asked her to run to the restaurant just around the corner of the street and get him a can of sprite, a hamburger, and fries. As soon as he gave her the money, she ran across to buy them and then he called while she was there and asked her to go to the post office and pick up some mail. As soon as she got to the post office, she realized that she didn’t have the key to the private mailbag. Out of frustration, she raised her hands above her head dropping the can of sprite and hamburger. Luckily, the can didn’t break or spill but the hamburger fell out of the packaging and was ruined. Her boss called and started asking where she was. She ran through the restaurant, replaced the hamburger with her personal funds, and ran into the office.

“Where have you been?” her boss thundered.

“I went to the post office then I realized that I didn’t have the key then I….”

Her boss cut her off with silence and assessed her from head to toes. She looked disheveled like someone who had been caught in a fight on the street. She was also incoherent and seemed confused.

“Where’s my to-do list?”

“I’m still working on it sir” she replied handing him the sprite and hamburger.

“Why is this can dusty?” he said taking it from her and scrutinizing it.

“Little accident. I’m sorry sir. Won’t happen again.”

“Go and fix yourself up in the convenience. Then, get yourself together. This is your first day so I would let this go. Next time, you come back with lunch, take the mail key and head back to the post office. On the way there, you can sort out some work stuff if you haven’t finished. You are a woman Clara. You guys are natural when it comes to multitasking. Use it to your advantage and achieve more in less time. Go see HR to put you through.”

After fixing up her hair, smoothing out her clothes, and making sure she looked office-worthy, Clara went to see the HR, a beautiful lady in her mid-thirties. She welcomed her with a smile.
“Good afternoon ma’am,” Clara said, “The Director asked me to see you.”
“Welcome new one,” she said, “He said you were having problems on the job.”
“Yes ma’am but I’ve got them sorted out,” Clara lied, afraid to admit that she was terrified of receiving multiple instructions at once or having to do so many things all the same.

The HR smiled and offered her a sit. Clara sat and looked up at the woman wondering what she would say and what the outcome of their meeting would be.

“You are married, are you not – with two children, am I right?” the HR asked.
“Yes, ma’am – I’m married with two children” Clara replied, wondering how this was related to her job.
“Think of your job as running the home as a mother and a wife. As a woman, naturally, you have to do so many things all at the same time. You have to cook, clean, bathe the kids, dress them up, attend to their husband, and on workdays, still prepare for work.”

“Yes ma’am,” Clara replied gratefully for the kind of man she married.

“If you have no domestic help, you have to do them all yourself. You can’t spend the whole day doing them because you may have to go to work or church or market if it’s a Saturday so you multitask. You sort the clothes and soak them then you out bathing water on the fire while you prepare the items you need to cook. When they’re ready, you put the food on fire while you bathe the kids and dress them up. Then, depending on how long the food is taking, you could wash while trying to do something for the husband. Every woman is born to multitask but doesn’t just do it at home. Bring that skill to the office too and get so many things done in a short time.”

“Okay, ma’am. Thank you, ma’am”

The HR dismissed Clara and walked back to her desk to meet a pile of work already waiting for her. As she was about to tackle them, her boss called again and asked her to come around the boardroom and take down some notes. He asked her to come with the completed to-do list and the pile he had dropped off on her desk while she was at HR.

After the call, she ran with the pile of work and the unfinished to-do list to the boardroom and was met with disapproval and a backlash from her boss. She went home that day feeling very unfulfilled, frustrated, stressed, and unhappy. She was just relieved that she’d married a man who took running the home as seriously as she took it.
*****

Multitasking, that is, doing more than one thing at the same time, can be distracting and challenging for those who aren’t very good at it. It’s worse when you are expected to be a natural at it and then you’re being told to do so many different (and sometimes unrelated) things at the same time too. Over the years, we have heard people tell a woman that she’s supposed to always multitask because she was born that way. As a wife or a mother, a woman is supposed to be able to start up to four to five different processes all at the same time and carry them out to completion efficiently. The flaw to this multitasking theory is that it puts women in a box and doesn’t make room for diversity or individual differences. It’s good to recognize that while some people are gifted or more disposed to doing things that way, some others just aren’t good at multitasking. This set of people try so hard to keep up with the charade but at the end of the day, the mask falls and they find that like Clara, they’ve made a mess of things.
These days, world-class organizations are beginning to advocate for single-tasking as the new multitasking. This is because when you focus on one single task, your channel all your focus, attention, knowledge, and energy to that task. Then, you are able to work on it without many external distractions until you’re finished completely. Women should politely decline, complain or stop forcing themselves to multitask if they are not very good at it rather they should break down everything they need to do into simple doable tasks and tackle them one after another.