Women and girl children around the world including Africa, face great adversity, violence, child marriage, injustice, poverty, domestic, structures within society and new traditions (within Africa) which are deliberately imposed to keep women down and oppressed. Stereotypes and perceptions which are meant to define them, rather than uplift them.
As we all know, women are the mainstay and backbone of rural economies across the developing world. They face handicaps in accessing credit, finding collateral, have poor and limited education, poor access to markets and a lack of opportunity and technologies and so on. If African governments realized that a large part of economic development is basically dependent on the advancement of its women, then perhaps things may change.
Most businesses owned by women are micro or medium-sized in Africa. Governments have a role to play in changing the way women are perceived and a lot more needs to be done by institutions on the continent. Karachi in Pakistan had a first government sponsored women’s event for female boxers. There are many social and traditional pressures which the country has to overcome, but this is one example of a step in the right direction.
What can African governments do?
Firstly, African governments need to view economic growth and development of the continent as largely dependent on the advancement of its women. Africa’s underdevelopment is largely due to its reversal of high esteem and advanced status that its women enjoyed for thousands of years before the Westerner came to its shores. We have copied many of the backward and barbaric behaviours of foreigners.
Secondly, we need to stop looking to Western prescriptions of how to fix our economies. It is not in Western political interests that Africa succeeds. The West has enriched itself on a massive scale by taking advantage of African people and its resources. We need to think about how they have been able to do this.
Many Africans don’t think, we have refused to see the writing on the wall and have allowed ourselves to be blinded by such things as religious extremism, both Christian and Muslim, ethnic hatred, indiscipline, greed, impatience and the like. This needs to change if we are to move forwards. We need to work together and begin helping each other. Asian countries have achieved this, so why can’t we?
Schemes should be started to re- educate African men on developing equal participation of women- whilst not treating them as the enemy within the family. Creating employment and education of all people within the economy, whilst also creating safety nets for those in need, has to be implemented as a matter of urgency. This will take huge amounts of investment and demands forward looking and wise leadership. At the moment many African countries behave as if they’re daft, passive and foolish people lead by corrupt and foolish leaders.
No country should be an open book, for all to read, where other countries (including donors) know all about the legislative plans of African governments. This seems obvious, but if it weren’t going on, how have Western countries been so successful at exploiting and abusing African countries? secrecy is key. We have to realise that we are in competition with other countries and no one country wants to lose the rosy deals and benefits they enjoy at our expense. We have to realise that we have a choice to act or not to act.
For every dollar a man makes a woman makes 77 cents and for the Black woman, its even less. However when we realise that these structures are deliberately meant to destroy the fabric of the Black family unit, hence leading to a powerless and blinded people. This should cause us to react and take decisive action. Many African people refuse to think and some African countries are in a state of anarchy, where leaders are driven by greed, lust for power, and deceit and the like.
However in spite of the odds working against them, there are numerous female success stories across Africa that are redefining women and which gets little mention in the media. Many have made successes of themselves despite lacking training, experience or large resources, or backers.