I have heard people say, “You belong to the kitchen, sitting room and the other room”, – PMB, “…just like the rest of your folks, you can’t do anything right“- Anonymous, “Look at his wife. …standing there. She had nothing to say” – DT. These and more are the degrading words women are told today and other days. But are you aware that you create hindrances to various liberation of women when you keep them confined? Women have potentials that remain untapped because the world once colluded and concluded on refusal to empower them.
This is a global phenomenon which has grabbed the stage for decades now. At the long run, there are no much arguments whatsoever about the need to empower women, especially in Africa. However, the contestation falls under how, in this technologically changing world? But the answer is here. Yes! Through culture.
Devastatingly, some people still justify the act of gender inequality in cultural expressions. Pleased to inform you that same channel can be annexed as a tool for empowerment. And no matter how you hate to define women empowerment from the standpoint of gender socialization because of its effect, the same can be changed through a counter effect; Re- socialization.;
First, women need lay their hands on something tangible such as knowledge, customs, values, attitudes, beliefs, arts and any other capabilities to help know themselves. This is culture and who they are. It sums up that the key to empowerment is self-discovery, which is basic.
Again, exploring culture for women development helps to discover African’s marginalized women. It deals with them in their natural habitat. This demands a face to face and heartfelt interaction. It enables them rethink what they already own and encourages them on how they can utilize it to better their lives and those of their generation. Hence, a knowledge based society integrated through technology creates avenue for individualism while culture emphasizes collectivism.
More so, such physical engagement allows for a give-and-take of ideas, skills and inspiration. It’s to further provide with what it takes to make them who they want to be. Progressively, their orientation improve, they start participating in political and social grids and gradually become what they learn.
Interestingly, the new Sustainable Development Goals (especially, Goal 5) cannot be achieved except women are empowered. Empowering African women through culture is developing the continent and the planet at large. Women contribute to innumerable status of the home. If you keep them dis-empowered, you are at risk. Help them define and own their niche, then, they will function well in this digitalized system.
My submission: See her as human, before you call her daughter, sister, wife or mother. Stop the deliberate effort to demean women. Rather, fight for her rights. Stand with African women. Empowering them through culture is not a mistake, and not old fashioned. At the end of it all, African women will use what they possess to realize themselves. Let’s go back, to rethink, re-strategize and come out stronger.