African Culture And Women

About African Women, Culture and who they Are In The Society.

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Archive for the ‘Women-In-Africa’ Category

The Role Of Women in African Society

Posted by cultureafrico on February 28, 2011

The Role Of Women in African Society

What place should women have in society? Traditionally, a woman’s place has been inferior to that of the average man. Whatever is considered most valuable in society is placed under the direction of men; whatever is considered less valuable is given to women to care for – even when people ostensible know better.

The culture of women, especially higher education, was of greatest concern from 1880 to 1900, even though the issue nearly dropped from view by the turn of the century. Although there were a few sprinkled comments in favor of identical education from males and females, most commentary took one of two approaches. The first supported education for women within their sphere. Women should be taught to be “teachers to their children” and better housekeepers and they should receive “some careful instruction regarding the beauty of girlhood as shown by modesty, by unselfishness, by unostentatious care for others.”

[In 1917], an article in the King’s Business said that even though women were superior to men intellectually, morally, and spiritually, “her divinely appointed position is that of subordination and it is her ruin to fight against that which God … had ordained for her.” Women were warned that “man does not suffer as much as woman does when she gets out of place.” Many people in modern America complain that motherhood and raising children have been devalued by the feminist movement and the efforts to get women into the workplace. These same people, however, are the religious conservatives who have throughout America’s history been responsible for the actual devaluing of women’s contributions to society. Read the rest of this entry »

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Women In Africa

Posted by cultureafrico on February 27, 2011

From Egypt in the north to South Africa in the south calls for the recognition of the rights of women in each of the countries in Africa are urgent and insistent. Statistical data supports what the eye plainly sees, women throughout Africa do much more than their share of the work in many spheres of daily life. They maintain households, fetch firewood and water, work the fields, sell goods in the marketplace, and more. And yet the irony is that this work remains so invisible and undervalued that a chapter entitled “Women in Africa” still seems appropriate in a book such as this. (Imagine a chapter or a book entitled “Men in Africa”!)

The resource materials in this chapter shine a spotlight on the enormous contributions that women in Africa make on a daily basis. At the same time they underline the fact that “women’s work” continues to be circumscribed by traditional boundaries, eve n in situations where they have been actively involved in largescale political movements such as in South Africa. Viviene Taylor, National Social Welfare Policy Coordinator of the African National Congress, notes that “Women in South Africa are in the majority and have played a crucial role in the liberation struggle, yet they are under-represented in all spheres of life except at the lower end….The political and economic empowerment of women, both as representatives of the majority…and as representatives of the most exploited and oppressed class must be given concrete form and content” (Development 1994:2, p. 36). Read the rest of this entry »

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African women’s role in Society and Governance

Posted by cultureafrico on February 25, 2011

In traditional Africa, women had recognized and vital roles in the economic development of their communities.

Among the Kikuyu of Kenya, women were the major food producers and thus not only had ready access to land but also had AUTHROITY of how the land was to be used and cultivated. Therefore, the value of women’s productive labour in producing and processing food established and maintained their rights in the domestic and other spheres. Nowadays, although women still are major food producers either directly or through employment, they do not receive the recognition and respect that they used to. Colonialism profoundly negatively affected the role and status of women in African society.

Moreover, in much of pre-colonial Africa, bridewealth gave women a certain amount of economic independence and clout. In the past, African women in some societies retained a measure of control over their bridewealth which economically empowered them to a certain extent. Sadly, with the new financial constraints experienced by males due to colonialism, especially in the form of heavy taxation, bridewealth became a source of income that males sought to control. Thus, once more, women were excluded from a cultural prative that had previously given women some measure of economic independence. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Great Black Mother

Posted by cultureafrico on February 25, 2011

Africans were the first to inhabit the earth. Fossil records as well as DNA analysis give scientific evidence to support this fact. Therefore, the first woman to give birth was a Black African woman. It is from us that all humans have come. The other races of humankind all evolved from Black Africans.

Ancient Africans had a deep-seated respect for women. Charles Finch in the book Echoes of the Old Darkland explains that early man did not know the link between sex and birth. Therefore, it was believed that new life was created by the woman, the mother alone. It was perceived that all life in nature emerged from women ALONE. Therefore when the first concept of God was developed, the female served as the model of the Supreme Being. Finch explains how it was under this initial Matriarchal System that the first rules and taboos to govern human behaviour were articulated. Another important contribution of ancient woman can be seen in the fact that as the gatherer of grains, seeds, roots berries and plants to the group, we had the opportunity to observe how seeds sprout when they fall in the ground. This observation led to the practice of organized cultivation. It was the woman who probably developed the practice of purposeful cultivation. This may have happened as early as 15,000 BC. It is the practice of agriculture that made population expansion, food surpluses and community settlement possible. Read the rest of this entry »

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