Throughout the history women all over the world have been destined to pursue a challenging path to a better, more equal and more independent way of life, knowing that they will be treated with honor and respect. Even though women around the world share a lot of universal problems, such as economic issues, unemployment, education, health care issues, sexual exploitation, gender inequality and violence, etc., many of the most terrible issues are felt by particular regions at an extreme level. Due to the slow developmental processes in the African continent, Africa is unfortunately considered to have the highest levels of poverty and unemployment; giving birth at a young age and high child death rate; law and political fraud; ethnicity, language and class division problems; discrimination, gender and race inequality; high violence and crime rates. The saddest is that the largest percentage of today’s victims in the African continent suffering from the indicated above problems are women.
Raising a girl in Africa includes a series of issues such as poverty and malnutrition that will define whether the child will survive or die as a newborn. First of all, those who get to school years meet an important issue of education. Having little money for school utensils and uniforms many girls stay at home and wait for a chance to get married and settle down. In their own turn, the schools neither provide text books, nor the necessary quality of the studies, which leaves out the chance for those girls who actually do go to schools, as it affects also the employment rates. Most African women spend their time at home with a dozen of children, performing mainly the housekeeping and agricultural responsibilities.
Second, inequality in Africa is a common matter, as women are considered to be inferior to men. They are considered to be the reproductive and caregiving muscle in the family, whose main goal in life is to produce more work forces for the family. This issue leads to the third issue, which is gender based violence. A man is always right just because he is a man. Therefore, it is his responsibility to make sure that his woman is following his orders, and punish her in case if she is not. Such cases lead to extreme levels of abuse, violence, rape, and can lead to lethal cases. Political voice of the women in Africa is the fourth challenging issue. In fact, women are not allowed to express personal opinion in such spheres as marital affairs, employment, property, and politics. Due to these reasons, women continue to follow this degrading and medieval pattern of life, staying behind in the development of their countries.
From the interview given in Church House in Nairobi, we can see how a talented Rebeka Njau has found her way out in a challenging society by self-education. Having fulfilling successfully the role of a mother, teacher, writer, artist, and worker Rebeka has to incorporate all these missions at the same time. In her interview she expresses the concern regarding the poor quality of the education that she has received. She tells that due to the fact that she was a woman she had to give up her dream to become a dramatist in favor of her main duties. Throughout her interview she keeps repeating that she is unable to pursue in other way because she is a woman and she ought to do what she has to. Nevertheless, being a strong female, Rebeka has taken a burden of doing what she likes, but only at night, when her main responsibilities are finished.
The article “The Mother of Warriors and her Daughters: The Women’s Movement in Kenya” emphasizes the main strategies that African women have to take into consideration to deal with the challenges women face in Africa. First, they have to conceptualize their objectives and form a community consisting of women feminist activists, who would fight for equality, just like Relief for Africa does, whose mission is “to help needy communities in Africa through our relief programs with a focus on development and empowerment.” Second, the article suggests that a collaborative effort is to be done to reduce the cultural and patriarchal dominance by allowing women to take high posts in the community. Putting more women into National Political Office would not only empower women, but also solve a lot of crucial issues in Africa on many levels.
Wangari Maathai has evoked the hope in the hearts of Kenyan people through her striving need to stop Africa from environmental degradation. She believes that empowerment of people comes from within, and the more one speaks about the problems, the more one sees that one is helpless. In contrary, the issues are to be dealt by action. In such a way, Wangari calls Africa for the revival by taking action in its own hands. Participation in such, or other environmental programs would give a hand for making Africa take a big step forward in the development.
In such a way, African countries have to take initiative in their own hands first of all. The need and a passion for having a better future would empower people to pursue the path to a brighter day. The world will give the hand for the needy, and indulge the world programs into helping Africa stand the ground as a new, revived and full of hope continent.