The Plight of Women in the Traditional Communities

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Courtesy of Rail Technology Magazine

The traditional communities, especially in Africa, have the same typical mindset that the man is superior to the woman. A woman in the traditional community has the responsibility of fetching the water, cooking the food, washing the clothes, cleaning the house and taking care of the children. Although this makes the woman very hardworking, it reduces the role of a woman to merely a servant to her husband. This is why widows are expected to choose new husbands almost immediately after losing their husbands. For most women, choosing a new husband meant a means of survival because they can’t provide adequately for themselves. The man is the bread winner of the household. It takes an extraordinary woman to survive without a husband. Such a woman has to be independent, innovative and fearless. This should be the character encouraged of women in the present Africa both in rural and urban areas.

Moreover, a woman is treated as more of a property than of a human being. In some cultures, when the husband of a woman dies, she is married to her late husband’s brother. As if she was a material inheritance that can be passed down. This trait can also be noticed in the choice of African men to engage in polygamous marriages. The wives are ranked according to how they are married. The last wife is the most precious while the first wife is the oldest and the least appreciated. The husband usually just decides to get a new wife when the old own can’t satisfy him enough or when he is just bored of her.

More so, another way that is dehumanizing our women and violating their rights is the agony of widowhood. Widowhood is expected to be a time where the widow is to mourn her late husband in peace. But in Africa, this is hardly the case. When a wife becomes a widow, she is always accused to have murdered her husband by his relatives. These women are made to go through unreasonable acts just to prove them guilty. They are made to engage in several acts such as: dinking of libation, receiving curses from the relatives, shaving their heads and being locked in a dark room with their husband’s corpse.

Finally, I am of the opinion that women‘s rights need to be stood for and protected by everyone that can: their husbands, sisters, brothers, parents and even their extended family. The plight of the black African women is so much and they need to be encouraged to be true to their self and explore the opportunity to realize their full potential.

-Edikan Umoh