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August 17, 2018

Unmarried Women in Nigeria Face Housing Discrimination

Single professional women in Nigeria are having a difficult time renting apartments. Many landlords refuse to lease homes to unmarried women because they assume they are prostitutes. They claim that these women may not be able to pay their rent, even though many of them have jobs. They deny their discrimination against women by saying men make more money and young women are usually under the responsibility of their parents or a husband.

Yinka Oladiran, a 25-year-old woman from New York, was used to an independent lifestyle. When she moved to Lagos, Nigeria, to pursue a career in television she learned that it would be difficult to maintain the same level of independence. Landlords often asked for her father’s permission even though she had her own income. Even after finding an apartment, she’s constantly stopped by security asking who she’s visiting when she gets home late from work. Women like Yinka are running up against norms that consider marriage as a benchmark of decency and uses it is as grounds for discrimination against unmarried women.

Issues South Africa Should Address During Women’s Month

It’s Women’s Month in South Africa! It started off with a bang as many women turned out for a #TotalShutDown march to combat sexual violence. Women around the country are fighting against femicide, rape, and general violence against women. It’s reported that the femicide rate in South Africa is five times the global average and at least half of women are being killed by their partners.

Toxic masculinity and misogyny play a huge role in driving femicide as some men are taught to believe that not only are they superior to women, but they also own them. While laws are in place to protect women, they are not always enforced. Often victims of rape don’t step forward because of social stigma, and when they do, the perpetrators don’t face criminal charges or are given very light sentences. Women don’t feel safe in public spaces and bear the burden of having to raise awareness of sexual violence committed against them.

Putting Baby Changing Tables in Men’s Restrooms

Women around the world are often expected to handle the bulk of childcare. In recent years, child rearing is being seen as a responsibility not just for women but also for men. An incident at a Tim Horton’s restaurant in Quebec, Canada, earlier this month prompted the Canadian fast-food chain to install changing tables in men’s restrooms.

In 2016, former U.S. president Barack Obama signed a bill requiring safe and sanitary baby changing tables to be available in all public restrooms in federal buildings. Attitudes are changing where women aren’t just seen as the sole caregivers of children, allowing many to have more choices in how to live their lives.