Gender Inequality In Africa Essay

1797 words - 7 pages

Gender Inequality in Africa


It is true of Africa that women constitute a treasure that remains largely hidden. (Moleketi 10) African women grow 90% of all African produce, and contribute about 70% of Africa’s agricultural labor every year. (Salmon 16) Both the labor and food that are provided by African women go towards the increase in Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). (Moleketi 10) Although African women are feeding the majority of Africa’s inhabitants, the constricting ropes of gender inequality are still holding them back from being appreciated and living up to their full potential. Outstandingly, women such as President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, of Liberia, have gladly accepted the challenge of breaking free of these ropes. The history of women’s rights in Africa, the glass ceiling, and the modern aspects of women’s rights, all play prominent roles in the overall condition of women’s rights in Africa. Until the day arrives that these discriminatory injustices are corrected, individuals in African nations will continue to struggle.
The history of women’s rights in Africa has affected its present state. Established in 2003, by the African Union (AU), (Meyersfeld 13) the Maputo Protocol promises women equal rights and the right to an abortion if the woman conceived he baby through incest, rape, or if having the baby would be injurious to the mother’s health. (Meyersfeld 12) However, as of 2013 the Maputo Protocol has yet to be ratified by eighteen countries. (African Business News 51) Africa is a continent in which there are countries where a woman needs permission from her husband to travel, to work, or to open a bank account. (Moleketi 10) To this day, women are still seen as subordinate to men. These primitive ideas date back to the era of The Middle Passage. While transporting African slaves to the Americas, Africa’s double standards of women were also transported. Both women and men became slaves to the people of the Americas. An unseen version of slavery continues to this day, in Africa as well as other parts world. Only now instead of bodies being tied down-minds are. “Even now in most African countries women farmers are excluded by African tradition from owning the land they till and thus the food they produce, making them virtually slaves of those who own the land-that is African men.” (Women’s International Network News 49)
Although the glass ceiling is thought to be more prevalent in the United States, it does occur in the more poverty-stricken continents such as Africa. As of 2013, women are paid 17% less than men. (Ferguson 28) President Sirleaf is the first woman elected to head an African country. (Bennett 48) Sirleaf has stated that she believes that women bring sensitivity and compassion to the table. (Soares 8) Sirleaf has further stated in an interview with Claire Soares, “I have a lot of detractors who want to see me fail, not only because of my long years of political activism in Liberia but because they...

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