Making case for African women | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Making case for African women

Posted: Apr 21, 2015 at 12:28 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Motherhood is eternal, yet changing. Rather than taking a single path to motherhood, more women are becoming mothers through alternate routes, including surrogacy, adoption, and fostering. Anyhow it is, motherhood is tasking and very demanding.  In millions of homes, the African woman continues to fulfill her obligations as the housekeeper, in sickness and in health. Senior Reporter Anthonia Soyingbe in this report looks at the many roles of mothers as entrepreneurs and homemakers.

In the past, African mothers only have the obligations to see to the running of the homes while fathers make money to provide for the home. The reverse is the case now as women are not only running the homes, they are also entrepreneurs and so they are mostly co-providers of the home. Some women are now giving up homely lives because of their homes and to augment their husbands’’ earnings.

Mother and child

Mother and child

Africa’s culture place the burden of domestic chores child-raising on women In a way it appears to be an integral part of our culture to place the burden of domestic chores and child-raising on the women but experts are of the opinion that this aspect of the law should be modified or changed. That however won’t be easy because many still think women are inferior to men.

“We should provide extended maternal leave to mothers of new babies irrespective of where they work or the nature of their work. In addition, we need to do a study or survey of how parents leave work in countries that have successfully implemented such programmes. I know that the United Kingdom is now paying more attention to this program. The backbones are functional public institutions, well-thought out government policies and well-grounded elementary educational systems,” said Oluwole Areh a widower whose wife died shortly after she gave birth to their third child through caesarian section.

Narrating how he coped while taking care of his child following the death of his wife, Areh who was close to tears said, he couldn’t trust anybody to take good care of his child who is the carbon-copy of his late wife hence he abandoned many things just to take good care of the motherless child. “Though I had a domestic assistance, I couldn’t trust her to take good care of my baby so I abandoned my business and my social life so my child can have my undivided attention. It wasn’t easy. with that I concluded that women are golden. I don’t think that it will amount to adopting an alien culture if fathers are made to undergo the same experience as mothers in terms of nurturing their children in the early formative years or throughout infanthood. After nine months of pregnancy, labour and subsequent delivery, women need both moral and emotional support by giving them extensive maternal leave and social supports should be the least of efforts that the society can contribute. It is important for men to understand that there is more to being fathers than being sperm donors or money-droppers.”

“My experience gave me an opportunity to reflect daily. Usually I thought not just about my late wife but the African woman as a symbol of strength, courage and determination. I asked myself several questions. How did these women cope with six or more children? Did they ever complain about tiredness to their husbands? Was there always someone they could share their pains and frustrations with? What did they do when there was no one to complain to? How did they handle all the stress and situations around them? What did they do when they felt like sleeping and the children kept crying for attention and comfort? In short, I asked myself, how they coped with all of these problems? How are they coping now? I pay tributes to the African woman. I pay tribute to the good Nigerian woman. I can’t stop thinking about single parents too. I wonder how much repatriation can bring comfort to them for their roles, their resilience, their courage, their forbearance and their sacrifices as they struggled to keep their homes and work together.”

There is need to promote the rights of women and for those in power to enforce gender equality in respect of race or tribe.  Some experts are of the opinion that gender equality and recognition for the rights of women will aid birth-control.

Nigeria must create or review the situations regarding nursing mothers in terms of social welfare packages said Oluchi Lawrence an advocate of Gender Equality.

“We don’t have to wait for a perfect political climate as women before we start to live and enjoy our lives. There is nothing wrong with initiating programs that will bring succor to the Nigerian women even if the political class is populated by unrepentant liars and corrupt people. It is another aspect of our collective responsibilities as women to rescue ourselves from such anomalies.

“Nigeria can start a corrupt-free national insurance program that will cater for nursing mothers of all ages and categories. That should be the starting point. In the foreseeable future, the integration of fathers into the policy will be very useful in rebuilding the family and ensuring that our women are not overburden or abused. Finally, the government must re-energise and re-engineer the family planning policy while emphasising the need for it. The benefits of family planning compliance by all and sundry cannot be over-emphasised,” said Lawrence who also argued that some employers maligned their female employees.