‘The quality of a nation is determined by the quality of the women.’ – Dr. Mike Murdock
Nothing rings more true than that statement when you measure the input of women in the development of some of the everyday ideas, inventions and appliances that make our world so bearable to live in.
Subtle as a woman’s touch may be, many a president, multi-billion dollar company, inventor and so on have been impacted, urged on to success or kept together by a wife, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a cousin or a friend. New studies have shown that mothers have a far greater impact on their children’s educational achievements than fathers. American Presidents, Nixon, Reagan and more recently, Barack Obama all gave credit for their rise to power in some way to the women in their lives; most of whom, were working women.
Back home in Nigeria, the impact of women has been unfettered, though unverified by any statistical tool. On the dark side, we have seen mothers’ acceptance of domestic violence amplify the behaviour in their children’s marriages with more cases being reported in the media today. Social commentators have blamed patriarchy for the unending gender war in our country that now poses even greater economic problems if left unchecked.
But what is patriarchy without women unhealthily accepting men as their ‘overlords’? Or pegging what they can become with the expectations and allowances of men? The danger of patriarchy is that, like domestic violence, it gets passed along to the next generation of men and women; victors and victims; the next hubands, the next wives, the next politicians and so on. And that’s how laws that infringe on the rights of women get passed so frequently today. And please free Wasila Tasi’u!
That said, indulge me to dwell on how women can help us shift our economy from a largely consumer-oriented one to a more productive one by a simple shift in the kind of relationships they have with money. In my new book, I broach the subject of the four relationship opportunities everybody gets to have with money and in the appropriate order:
- Money is first for Investing: Money must be put to productive uses. Buying stocks, putting money in a productive venture that solves a problem for others like a hair dressing salon or a supermarket are ways women must relate with money in order to influence their families.
- Money is second for Saving: Money should be saved as a means of seizing opportunities when they present themselves. Teaching a saving culture can save you more than money, it can save your family members that heartache of being harassed by debt collectors, help you pay for that much deserved vacation without breaking the bank and more than that, teach others around you the value of delaying gratification.
- Money is third for Spending: Now, many of us relate with money on this plane first, instead of on the levels of Investing and Saving. The subconscious inclination we get when we receive money is to buy things with it. And while shoes, bags, groceries and other things you need are great, moving Spending to your third money priority would pay you off on the long haul. The emphasis on consuming will be subsumed by producing and conserving wealth.
- Money is lastly for Giving: Giving is spending on intangibles that help our humanity attain more value. Buy giving to others, we buy goodwill, fulfilment, a sense of worth. We strengthen a muscle in our brain that recognises we are connected with others, which in turn helps us to behave more unselfishly. Giving has been closely linked to helping us awaken the creative sides that help us innovate. On the whole, it helps us create a more balanced society where we are always mindful of people around us.
I go into details in the book about age-specific teaching aids we can use to communicate these 4 Relationships of Money to the girl-child for the purpose of encouraging gender equality and financial inclusion.
Shifting from Spending to Investing could move Nigeria from a consumer nation to a producer nation, one woman at a time.
About the Author: Nehi Igbinijesu is a Nigerian trained economist. He has worked at several banks in several positions. In addition to banking, Nehi has been a contributor to Connect Nigeria, anchoring the Discover Nigeria Series, a history project to depict positive elements about being Nigerian. He recently authored a soon-to-be-published book for mothers titled, The Code: A Story About Raising Great Women. He lives with his family in Lagos, Nigeria. You can connect with him on Twitter at; @PNOigbinijesu