There is no doubt as to the pivotal role that a woman plays in the family and society at large. Despite this, the life of a woman is one of struggle, to eke out a living for her family and to prove male and female detractors wrong.
Society still expects the African woman to cook for her family, keep her children and husband clean as well as maintain the house or home in the best possible form. However, it is this conventional attitude that has strengthened the beliefs of many that a woman is not capable of responsibilities beyond her home.
In Africa, when missionaries introduced education, parents refused to send their girls to school, preferring to ripen them for marriage. The few women who made it to school were children of new converts and those who opted to run away from home.
The contemporary woman has gone a few steps ahead but most of her earlier struggles still persist. According to a website, Day of the Girl Child:
Worldwide, girls constitute over half of the children out of school. Only 30 percent of all girls are enrolled in secondary school. In many countries, less than one third of university students are women. The average sub-Saharan African girl from a low-income, rural household gets less than two years of schooling and never learns to read and write, to add and subtract, as opposed to the average sub-Saharan African boy who fully completes primary education.”
Many young women are forced to run from the circumcisers knife is they want education. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is still prevalent.
In addition, the local citizenry elects very few, if any, women to positions of leadership. Moreover, the modern woman is sometimes the sole bread winner, either because of being widowed, divorced or being left by the man on her own. Rape is a threat to the mother and her daughters, while she has to watch out for her children not to fall into drug abuse.
The future is not so gloomy, though. More and more women are getting employed and assuming positions of leadership in government, business and politics. In addition, As the New York Times observes:
Fortunately, the continent is home to loud and organized women’s movements that have thus far been able to repel many attempts to undermine women’s progress through protests and parliamentary campaigns and the creative use of media and technology.