Power and Womanhood in Africa: An Introductory Evaluation

There is no gainsaying the obvious that women have played leadership roles in the development of various African societies from pre-colonial days till now. Even though the patriarchy system in Africa cannot be denied, yet, the African woman possesses the power that binds the society together. In traditional African society, the survival of the family and the future of marriage depended a great deal on the African woman. Thus, the African woman played a key role in the education and the teaching of children social, ethical and moral values which were part of the cultural standards for evaluating proper societal behaviour. Even in contemporary Africa where most women are now more equipped and empowered, the traditional care-giving, home-making and nurturing roles of women in the African family which formed the basis of their identity as wives and mothers are gradually been abandoned, as they have become increasingly involved in new roles and relations outside the home. This paper identifies the indispensable role the woman plays in the society. It seeks to address the sense of inequality which revolves around the concept of gender in contemporary society which arguably fails to recognize the power the African woman possesses. The paper, nonetheless, examines the implications and consequences of the increased social and economic empowerment of the contemporary African woman in the light of her traditional roles as wife and mother.

© Itabari Zulu Mar 2010. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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