Why aren’t we riding motorbikes like our Igbo sisters?
Today in any part of Yorubaland, it is very unlikely to see any Yoruba woman on motorbikes, one can not rule this out in a big city like Lagos. A well to do Yoruba woman household may have several cars and motorbikes but she will likely rely on someone to drive her around leaving her stranded when the driver isn’t around. For most Yoruba women from the market women to the housewives and office staff – some do own and drive their cars if they can afford one but mostly the only means of transportation is by far reliance on public transport while saving to get their own car. Very common to see a family of five on a motorbike, and the main reason was that it was men who can ride so the whole family wait until the male in the household is ready.
Most of the Igbo women riding motorbikes are benefiting from self-reliance and satisfaction that they are in charge of when their journey should start.
Is Igbo women embracing motorcycles as a form of transport more than just meet the eye?
Male child is very important to all Nigeria ethnic groups, we can argue that the basis for this is outdated but still in our communities today, most parents still hold on to the belief system of family name being carried on long after they have departed lie solely on having a male child.
In Yourbaland, being female regardless of which position you are in the family, for the most part are viewed the same way – as someone who is leaving the family one day therefore less investment on girls followed by less expectations. Things are changing as girls in Yorubaland are being educated but the fundamental principle remains hence the apparent glass ceiling in most areas.
For my Igbo sisters, the first child girl has a lot of responsibility bestowed on her from early age, lots is expected of her, culturally. She is empowered to do more so as to carry the family legacy and in turn she is held in high esteem.
Likes attracts likes – could this be one of the reasons many Igbo women of all ages are confident today riding motorbikes as a way of easing transport issues in their towns?
Here is why I think Yoruba women should emulate their Igbo sisters in the area of easing transportation stress in our communities.
Cost – Cost of owing a motorbike is significantly cheaper than a car so you are more likely to achieve your goal of transport self-reliance if aiming at getting a motorbike than a car.
Economic benefits – Market women could get their goods to the market /clients quicker and at convenient time, foster business productivity.
Showing by example – Children learn more from what they see. If they see their mothers and sisters not limited by stereotypes of only men ride motorbikes talk, they are more likely to grow up wanting to emulate their female role models.
I realise that this may not be practicable in big city like Lagos where major roads are not very safe, but it is a fantastic option for those in the outskirts. And for those in smaller towns such as Abeokuta, Oyo, Ife and villages in-between will benefit enormously.