[box] The report of the Director of the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage Theresa Okafor (Nigeria), delivered before the participants of the Moscow International Forum “Large Family and Future of Humanity” (September 10-11, 2014).[/box]
It’s a pleasure and a privilege for me to be here, in this beautiful country that is supportive of the family.
Politics and political correctness, rather than science, has been driving the public perception that denies and obscures the importance and protection that should be given to a two-parent structure in a monogamous marriage, which we define in Nigeria as the union between a man and woman.
A mindset that sees marriage as an equivalence of same sex does three things. First of all, it defeats the purpose of marriage, which is mutual companionship and procreation. It also fosters a market for surrogacy, and surrogacy is a euphemism for child trafficking. Also, it turns children into victims of identity crisis and brings about that emotional hardship so well described by Doctor Robert Oscar Lopez, who was a gay man raised by two lesbian moms. And he described the deep sense of loss he suffered, deep sense of loss of a father and a mother, and stated in his editorial page titled “Franco-American Flashpoints on Gay Rights” he said that no matter how much he was loved by his gay moms, he had no gender clues, and he had no role model of the opposite sex, and so he always felt as an outcast among his peers.
Complementarity between a man and a woman is a recognition that men and women are equals and have significant differentiation. Obviously, Plato was an extremist, because whilst he upheld the equality between man and woman, he did not think that there was any significant difference between them. Aristotle, on the other hand, was also an extremist, because he did not… reject fundamental equality between man and woman, and upheld the superiority of men over women. But these extremists are nothing like radical feminists who today have actually destroyed gender differentiation and exalt women over men, and invariably negotiate a raw deal for women, because women who uphold their rights, rights over their body, when rights is not moderated by duties and responsibility, are actually degrading themselves.
Men and women are equals, equals as human beings, equal in dignity because of their person-hood, equal because they have been created in the image and likeness of God and endowed with intellect and a will.
Equality, when it’s viewed as sameness or uniformity, is completely misconstrued, and so is liberation from biological determinism which defies science.
The significant differences between man and woman is biological: the XY chromosome which defines their femininity and masculinity. The difference is psychological, is spiritual, and is ontological. The one sex is opposite to and not identical to the other.
It is also misinformed to see the differences between man and woman as a result of historical and cultural conditioning. The historical bias whereby a baby girl plays with a doll or a boy plays with cars shows that there is a biological basis for that choice. And the difference between a man and a woman should not be seen as a source of discord, denial, eradication, but rather one that provides opportunities for collaboration and mutual respect.
Gender is founded on and made unavoidable by sex difference. Gender is the cultural way in which the biological status is expressed. The false ideology of gender identity and sexual orientation gives a false impression that once sex is not a given element of human nature, it is a social role one chooses for oneself while in the past it was chosen by society.
Complementarity between man and woman is exemplified in man and woman in marriage, motherhood and fatherhood in family, man and woman as parents, or rather parenthood.
Problems may arise in any human relationship, but these should be addressed through relational approach, not by competition or confrontation. Motherhood is indeed a key element of a woman’s identity, and therefore women who chose to be stay-at-home mothers should not be stigmatized or penalized for wanting to do so.
Finally, the economic growth of the future is decided by the human capital formation of the next generation in the household. And so Gary Becker, the Nobel laureate, was right in stating that mothers of large families contribute more economically to a nation than a liberal(?) can do. As so pregnancy should not be a stigma for women who choose to take jobs outside their home.
The UN framework does recognize this, although many times in negotiations these things are never given enough visibility. Even within the UN framework we find that some of languages are in favor of motherhood. In the Beijing Platform of Action of 1995-2009, social significance is given to maternity, motherhood, and the role of parents. And it also asserts the role of women in procreation should not be the basis for discrimination.
Finally, in Africa we recognize the integral complementarity in monogamous marriage as a privileged context for present and future development and preparation for the future destiny of children.