What has feminism done for you today? This is the question I have been willing to ask my fellow Africans, especially women. You could say that feminism has achieved many strides in the fight for equality among Africans. Things are changing; women are beginning to participate more in politics and are also involved in the economy – they are gaining access to credit and land, and they are working more. But the issue is, the feminist movement which has been proudly praised for changing the African narrative has rather caused harm to one of the paramount institutions – the African household.
Already, in recent years, there has been opposition against the movement, with women themselves divided with regard to the issue of feminism. For many, some of these truths which are deemed sacred by radical feminists, have now been recognised as myths. Such radical feminists usually practise intellectual feminism, which is not even in line with the African culture, and the result of this has been a disaster for various households in Africa.
Feminism has led various families within the African setting into serious crises. Fathers are less becoming in charge of the families and women are often away from home, all in the call to pursue a career. When young women are made to feel that education should all be about career advancement only and not toward teaching and training their own children, then the worst happens.
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Gone were the days when African women were stay-at-home mothers. Today, it is now considered a shame to be a wife and mother only. But what are some of the repercussions of this: rise in divorce rates and the increasing number of fatherless children being produced, which eventually lead to many social problems. The fact is, as young women in Africa answered the call to pursue a career, many of them still had the natural desire for a husband and children. So, a typical African woman in such a situation would opt to have a husband and children while keeping her career intact, thinking that she could have it all and still find fulfilment. But the opposite is the case; the worst part is that she might lose everything in the process because balancing career, marriage and childbirth is not an easy task. We cannot deny the suffering working mothers have to go through; their children suffer and their husbands as well.
Children are growing up alone without the needed parental supervision. What happened to parental love and nurturing? Children need acceptance and praise. They need to be taught right from wrong; they need to be trained on how to be successful. And these needs are best met by parents. If these are not provided at home, then a frustrated child would seek elsewhere for them. And a child who is frustrated and vulnerable is prone to many dangers like drugs and alcohol, teenage pregnancies and crime-related activities.
These and many others are seriously harming what used to be a beautiful African household, where the fathers are in charge of families and women do not basically refuse the role of wife and mother. Afterall, many women will admit that the coming of the feminist movement has not in any way made them truly fulfilled in careers. Why should we even assume that the role of wife and mother was the cause of all the problems we used to face? Of course, there were inherent problems within the traditional family unit due to the nature of humans and other matters, but feminism has perhaps worsened those problems.
I support women who stand up and oppose the negative treatment and perception of their fellow women, but anything that tries to undermine the role of the male in the family will lead to dysfunctionality as children will grow up and not respect the role of the male in their development.
Let’s face it. Men and women are wired differently, and trying to rewire that through feminism will ultimately destroy core family functions. Even in the natural order of creation at all levels, different roles are combined for best results. You can even find these roles in the animal kingdom.
Note this. I’m not saying that women should go back to that domesticated way of life, but as they try to balance all of the things, the importance of family should be key.