A Review the Modern History of African Women

  • Through modern history, the revolutions that took place in the fight for independence involved the native society as a whole. Great men and women of the century devoted themselves to ending the colonial rule. The role of women in the struggle does not get clearly defined in current times. Resources to this effect are extremely limited preventing numerous controversies and doubts. Africa is a wide continent with vast diversity both in terms of environment and culture. This makes it hard to integrate the role of women in the 20th century colonial and postcolonial African countries. The countries each had different colonial experiences, therefore, the role played by different factions in society varied to suit the conditions they had to cope with within their respective countries. Women had various roles within the African set up in the colonial struggle, and the fleeting hints of these roles in the publications of that era get reviewed in this essay. The most prominent advances in women in modern history in Africa got noted in the 1980s.

    Women got to practice in the social customs that were harmful at times. Female circumcision was prominent in the pre-colonial era into colonialism. The Gikuyu women had to go through the ritual as children in their initiation into adulthood. The practice went on unabashed through colonialism despite the effects it had on the women. Later on, it came to be referred to as female genital mutilation as it left most women traumatized, and even left others dead. The practice still went on past the colonial period with reactionaries brutally fighting for the conservation of traditions. Urbanization led to the emancipation of most people leading to resistance against the women of the act got subjected to by tradition.

    Females got to become subject to marital burdens such as polygamy and neglect. In Mariama Ba’s novel, So Long a letter, the protagonist goes through so much in her marriage. Her husband marries another woman, a friend to her daughter. He absconds to his duties as a father by not aiding her in the upkeep of the family. The responsibilities of women in the family are immensely significant in keeping it together. Women got demeaned in social structures without getting allowed to express their opinion. The exploitation of women by men in the family structure within the 20th century clearly had limited ambassadors who stood against it. People in positions of power like chiefs and priests had no mind to fight for the women’s tribulations. The fear of facing opposition and excommunication must have prevented most of such persons for standing out for women.Alternatively, the championing for gender rights did not get into the spotlight within this era. Advance within the female empowerment campaigns gained much recognition within the African society in the 1980s.

    The societal norm in the 19th century still carried on those women’s roles centered on domestic upkeep and giving birth. Education for women never got taken seriously, and educated women faced unrelenting criticism for the abnormality of their quest for financial independence and knowledge.

    Polygamy made women look like acquisitions, and the purpose of marriage lost its meaning in such institutions. Society related polygamy to social status through the 20th century in most African countries. It is like an open practice of promiscuity without guilt. Women lost the power they commanded over their families and conflict within the families because of polygamy. The lack of matriarchal powers within the family setup left men as the sole head of the family.

    The role of women in the colonial era in the struggle for independence cannot be overstated.Fanon stresses this argument within the Algerian context where women were the main figures in the struggle. Their influence in the control of the country provided a strong advantage to the Africans. They motivated the struggle to earn independence by encouraging their male fraternity to face up to the colonialists. This also got noted by the colonialists who attempted to seize the full control of Algeria by having the women on their side. However, in the Algerian context, the women refused to embrace the imperialists who came to colonize their country.In this case, women’s opinion is shown to have mattered within the society. The perception of women of was one of respect and love.

    Women were victims of rape during the 21st century, mostly during the colonial period. The lack of intervention into this predicament by the law made rape victims have nowhere to run to for help. The colonialists partook in this heinous mostly because they controlled the natives totally. This ensured their security and protection despite the magnanimity of the crimes they committed against these women. However, towards the end of the century, women stood out for their right and legislation laid down rules to end these sexual exploitations that women experienced. The rape victims of the colonial period have sued the colonials for the rape and other sexual harassment they put them through.

    Women had no right of inheritance most of modern history. Land, livestock and other personal effects owned by parents or husbands were left to the reserve of men and boys. This ensured the continued dependence of women to men. Women had to be subjects of men in most of the century, and society played a center role in modeling such a society. Women rights had not taken root and the century-old cultures ensured these discriminations went on unopposed.

    The women in the 20th century passed through a lot of tribulations. The colonial and post-colonial periods are all marred with poor treatment of women. The reliability and availability of information from this era is limited, but publications on independence struggles and literature from the period give a picture on the conditions that prevailed during this period. The women of the period did not get the attention of society as they do now. The championing of woman rights was less prominent in the period, and women had to tolerate various tribulations.

    Women got exposed to female genital mutilation within this period. Jomo Kenyatta explains how females along with males would get circumcised. Women went through unimaginable pain in their initiation to adulthood. This was a compulsory ritual that led to the fleeing of most of women from their homes in fear of partaking in the ritual.

    Women got married into polygamous families within this period. The women had no sense of ownership in their family as they had to share their husbands. They were not subject to inheritance and their opinions were not of much importance.

    Women got raped by the colonialists within the 21st century without the right for prosecution. Numerous women got raped by members of the colonizing army. This was most prevalent among the soldiers among the soldiers. In Algeria, women got societal recognition for the influence they had on the fight for independence. They were a primary driving force in the fight, and colonialists who figured this out sought to break this fact. They raped women as a means to conquer them and hasten their surrender.

     This story was written by Robert Ferguson - one of the best writers. More of interesting essays you can read at https://essayswriters.com/write-my-speech-for-me.html