Women are intelligent creatures tasked with the heavenly duty of serving as a complement to men. However, due to their distinctive being, many women have performed excellently and gone beyond the boundaries of their heavenly assigned tasks. Countless women around the globe are multifunctional human species, playing a dual role of manly and womanly duties with exceptional successes. The list of such women includes but not limited to these, Mother Theresa, Florence Nightingale, Millicent Fawcett, Emmeline Pankhurst, Marie Curie, Emily Wilding Davison, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Margaret Thatcher, Oprah Winfrey, Emma Watson, Malala Yousafzai, Clara Barton, Edith Wharton, Dorothy Levitt, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Yaa Asantewaa, Winnie Mandela, Margaret Ekpo, Miriam Makeba, Queen Nkinga, and Ruth Williams. In modern Africa, women toil and have positioned their feet firmly in all areas of development. They have shown that they merit great recognition as at par with their male counterparts. Today, it is empirically unarguable that gender equality is less disputed because women in the past and more so, presently, have shown by their remarkable leadership and workable skills that indeed the slogan is true that what a man can do, a woman can do and probably can even do better.
Unfortunately, in many parts of Africa, due to the age-long dark mentality that women must be confined to the domestic home, the rights of women are still trampled upon. The old tripartite systems of customary, traditional and religious viewpoints that undermine the liberty of women to explore their potentials to bolster Africa’s development make it difficult to erase completely, various discriminatory practices toward them. The inequality against women in terms of education and in participating in key decision-making areas of development is a haunting plague to the African continent. Estimates indicate that three years after the 2015 target of the second millennium development goals of attaining universal education, female enrolment in primary education still trail at 67%. It is distressing that arranged and forced marriages of young girls still prevail in many local communities in Africa. Due to poverty, many of these feeble young girls are exchanged for money in these untimely and coerced marital unions. African governments must put in great efforts to establish and enforce all legislation against child marriages and all forms of inhumane and degrading treatments against women! Human rights activists and agencies must intensify their efforts in sounding the sensitization and awareness campaign for equal rights for women. Massive education must be pursued by the ministries of gender, women and children affairs as well as civic rights ministries and agencies to enlighten parents, especially illiterate parents on the need to change their wrong perceptions regarding girl-child education.
While the feminism theory is being put into reality today in many societies globally, Africa is still wallowing in darkness regarding the need to enhance women participation in key areas of development. Granted, there have been many giant efforts in this regard as some women have gone against all odds to rub shoulders with their male counterparts in formerly no go areas such as in the Military, Politics, Education, and many other fields. Today, the voice and influence of women are felt in all fields of development. It is disheartening that the roles of women are often times not recognized, assessed and rewarded. It is time for African leaders and agencies to boost efforts in giving privileges and offers to women to enter all the narrow tunnels of development. This course must be pursued with all seriousness and urgency because women are and would continue to be excellent examples of hardwork and diligence to work and responsibility. The first prehistoric engineers dating as far back as three million years ago have been empirically discovered to be women. Women are noted for performing multiple tasks and achieving greater successes. Domestically, they play roles as wives, mothers, comforters, cooks, workers at home. Professionally, they play diverse roles in economics, politics, education, security, agriculture, health and other relevant areas of development. We can say with certainty that if women are given equal opportunities as men, they can perform creditably both quantitatively and qualitatively as their track record have shown.
African women are geniuses and must be valued as such. Their great roles in African communities in our personal and societal development are unparalleled. Their huge presence cannot be filled by any man. Let us celebrate the African woman in words and in deeds. Let us encourage and praise all the industrious African women to motivate them to keep on performing their indispensable roles that has made Africa, a beacon to behold. Indeed, the African woman is a valuable jewel in beauty and in responsibility, a multi-faceted human species!