#IWD2018: What Do Nigerians Really Think About Gender-Related Issues?

gender-related issues

Gender-related issues are real and have become very important in this contemporary world. One event that acknowledges and appreciates these facts is the United Nations‘ annual International Women’s Day (IWD). This year’s IWD is themed “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.

This year’s theme draws heavily from important gender-related issues that have captured the world in the last 12 months. It echoes issues such as sexual harassment, access to education, workplace representation, reproductive rights, and violence against women.

All these have been talking points all across the world. But how do Nigerians see these issues? Let’s look at the search trends for answers…

Gender Equality Issues

Gender equality is always top on the agenda for women rights activists. It’s at the top of the list due to the incessant  imbalance in global societies that relegate women issues.

Cases such as equal educational opportunities for boys and girls, are topics for debate. Another recurring topic is issue of re-configuring social conceptions about gender roles–what the role of women should be in society. These issues are hot topics in international gender discussions.

#IWD2018: What Do Nigerians Think About Gender Issues
Nigeria appears to have an almost nonexistent interest in gender-related searches

However, in Nigeria, the issue doesn’t command similar support. Google search data reveal that interest in gender-related topics was a bit low. Apart from its relation to academics, gender equality issues do not generate much interest among Nigerians.

#MeToo and Sexual Harassment Cases

Over the last 12 months, numerous cases of sexual harassment against women have been reported in many quarters.

#IWD2018: What Do Nigerians Think About Gender Issues
Sexual harassment searches spiked in November as the #MeToo movement gained recognition

But interestingly, charts from Google Trends, showed a spike in traffic for sexual harassment related searches in November 2017. That spike coincides with the rise in popularity of the #MeToo movement on social media. The #MeToo movement is a hashtag used on social media to help demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assaults and harassments, especially in the workplace.

The movement began trending following the massive revelations of sexual harassment by Hollywood movie chief, Harvey Weinstein. But like in the film industry, the tech world also witnessed many cases of workplace sexual harassment. In Silicon Valley, there have been sexual assault allegations against tech executives at Amazon, Uber and Google.

#IWD2018: What Do Nigerians Think About Gender Issues
Surprisingly, Nigeria has a high interest in the #MeToo movement

Unlike gender equality, Nigeria has had quite an interest in the sexual harassment issues. Search data reveals that Nigeria has been very active in the #MeToo movement. Though this is not surprising–too many sexual assault perpetrators go unpunished. For instance, Nigeria does not classify marital rape as a crime. Sadly too, the country has very lax laws for domestic violence.

Thankfully, the Internet presents the best place to report such cases and shared experiences that otherwise, would never have seen the light of the day.


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