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Women And Water In Africa Essay

1268 words - 6 pages

Under the Umbrella of Patriarchy

Growing up, we all for the most part get the preconceived notion embedded in our minds that men are the strong dominant breadwinners, and women are the submissive stay at home wives. Although in Africa the women in my opinion are taking on the role of the husband, or male of the household. The women and children walk miles and miles a day for the basic necessity of water. Not only do they have to travel long distances, but they have to carry the water from place to place, causing a heavy burden on the women’s body. My question is why aren’t the men doing it? If men want to play the strong dominant role, they should be the ones fetching water. The reality ...view middle of the document...

So why is it that men whose only priority is school doesn’t have a higher literacy rate, women who give up everything to slave fetching water are still for the most part keeping up with men in the education department. The women do so much more and spread themselves thin, yet the men still aren’t trying hard enough to learn and better themselves for the women who provide for them. Each society has their own patriarchal and paternalistic ways unique to their own, yet all seemingly tied. For example “Ghanaian men do not categorize women as breadwinners: Women’s financial contribution to the household is unrecognized and therefore less valued” (Archer 311).
The foundation of this patriarchal view has developed through a process that “took nearly 2500 years to complete” (Lerner 253). The main unit that guided these conceptions was the patriarchal families, “the roles and behavior deemed appropriate to the sexes were expressed in values, customs, laws and social roles” (Lerner 253). Not only did the families reflect the patriarchal state, they raised their children in the same process per se, to reinforce the order. The paternalistic aspect of the situation is an unwritten unofficial contract that offers the woman protection and support, in exchange for sexual services and unpaid domestic services says Lerner (254). Thus leading the reader to a conclusion that a woman never outgrows the “childlike state of being subordinate and under protection” (Lerner 255). Which I believe to be the ultimate problem, just because it is in our nature to be submissive to men doesn’t mean we have to completely rely on them either. Women for centuries have fought to make a name for themselves, fighting for their rights and equality, and we still can’t seem to escape the males overlooking shadow. “Ghanaian women have greater workloads than their male counterparts, as women do universally” (Archer 311).
As a result of this ideology that has been rooted into the female’s being, it is only in our nature to look down upon ourselves, through statistics from part IV chapter 5, the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals multiple acts of violence displayed and taken out on women and children, due to their gender. Granted these statistics are somewhat swayed due to unreported violence that takes place, and the women’s acceptance to these situations because she’s fearful physically and emotionally for her life. Therefore, women tend to simply accept the situation and convince themselves they deserved the act. The inferiority of a female is seemingly inescapable
I found it quite intriguing how drastically times have changed, and yet how similar situations remain. Women in Africa or women in general to an extent are...

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