Women in Africa

Women in Africa

By Train to Uganda.

Out the window, women and girls weeded and tilled fields of maize. Mothers bent over at the hips with babies strapped to their backs. Their stomachs and faces parallel to the earth. Their hands in it.

The apparent idleness of the men and boys made me wonder what my recently deceased grandmother would have thought of the division of labor. – Breaking Free.

My Grandmother was the precursor of the modern woman. She had saying like: “My mother was a lady, and a lady is a lady, even when she’s cleaning garbage cans.”

I think that if she’d seen these women in the fields she may not have considered them ladies but she would have felt for them as fellow females.

Sitting on the toilet in her bathroom growing up, I often noticed the brittle brown newsprint with words from the Declaration of Independence tacked on the mirror’s moulding: “We find these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal,” except she had crossed out the word ‘men’.

Women in Africa were usually the ones toiling out under the boiling sun, often with a young child strapped to them. As I traveled north in Africa there were more men in the fields and women in the homes. This clear separation of duties was evident in many of the Muslim areas I passed through, and it seemed to me that Islam was a step up for women.

Equality was always important to me. I didn’t want my girls as they grew up to take a backseat to any man. My grandmother felt that women should have their own money, that way no one could control them.

Sometimes the answer to helping the women in Africa is by micro banking. Here is a classic example.
A woman had to buy firewood each day and it cost $2. The Microbank gave her a loan of $20 to buy a fuel efficient cooker. Now she only needed to buy $1 of firewood a day, she quickly paid off the loan and was then was much better off.

In some African counties, women have to live off $1 a day, so these micro banking loans can really make a big difference. They can be used to raw materials that can be worked into a finished product, or the tools to create finished products like sewing machines or tools to create solar systems for electricity.

You can find out more about African Micro banking from the UK Department
for International Development or search for micro banking, micro credit, micro finance or micro loans.

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