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Feminism and Women Empowerment in Africa

Updated October 31, 2021
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Feminism and Women Empowerment in Africa essay

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For years theory-building and has been a stable for scholars and academicians, yet all individuals can make choices rooted in their assumptions or theories about the society and the world. These approaches to the process of theorizing have been challenged and brought to a unique perspective by the modern woman steered on deconstructing the traditional knowledge and pushing forward a new era of woman liberty.

In this paper I will examine and focus on women empowerment with a basis on the intensities and weaknesses of various approaches in explaining the impact of power relation in the society. My intention is to review the major theoretical orientations in order to compare how various social constructs affects women’s independence. This paper starts with issue of culture and religion per se, then considers the specific questions related to women’s status. The purpose is to identify convergence between the theories and to distinguish alternative interpretations incorporating the concepts of the major theories in the development of literature, which could help to understand the evolving economic and power status of the African and to a large extend the Middle Eastern woman. To achieve this, we therefore need to understand how theory and knowledge are interrelated and how feminism has influenced an emergence of a new faced society distinct from the traditional idealised one.

We can all agree that feminist theory and its different forms began long before the formal naming of the school of literary criticism with one of its pioneers being Christe de pizan with her literary piece “Epitre au Die D’amour ” (Epistle to the God of love) which was written in the 15th century. As Simone De Beauvoir wrote “ ıt the first time we see a woman take up her pen in defense of her sex”.Notably we can also mention Heinrıch Cornellious Agripa in the 16th century and Marie Le Jars de Gournay in the 17 th century. These writers majorly focused on looking beyond the obvious male-centred outlook and interpretation and left behind master pieces that would be a bases for a revolutionary movemement all over the world (feminism).

Notably, many female writers in their writings during most parts of the literary history have in their works assailed the social structure and created fictictional space for women supressed in the traditional patriarchal setting to express themselves thus breaking the grounds on the set form of power and bringing a slow but gradual change in the lives of women. Despite this wave of movemement touching most corners of the world, the writers have approached this subject in a very distincive way.When we take a closer look at the writings from Africa we can clearly see that they concive feminism different from the west by not being in opposition to it but rather by relation. African writers pen their writings mostly from a moral view point that transcedes cultural differences because they seek to enhance the dignity of individuals without disrupting the the communitys fabric that holds it together .Their focus is mainly on exploring cultural uniquities such as early marriages ,lack of education ,forced marriages and female genital mutilation as well as the possible opportunities of choices women can make wherelse the western feminist have mostly fought the notion that women are nearer to nature ,seeing that as a patriarchal cage.

The opposing pulls of custom and progress that Ramatoulayeencounters in the Senegalese political climate become personal and particular in her struggle to reconcile her abiding faith in Islam with her feminism. The central drama of the novel is the disintegration of Ramatoulaye’s marriage to Modou after the latter takes on a second wife—his daughter’s young friend, no less. Ramatoulaye’s faith permits polygyny (a man taking more than one wife), and dictates that she remain with her husband even after he marries another woman. And yet Ramatoulaye can’t help but feel the injustice of her position—Modou takes on his second wife without any warning (he even refuses to be the one to break the news to Ramatoulaye) and then proceeds to effectively abandon Ramatoulaye and her twelve children.

When Modou suddenly dies, it appears at first as though his entire inheritance will fall to his in-laws and his second wife, Binetou. Ramatoulaye has to fight off her mother-in-law in order to claim the house that Ramatoulaye and Modou acquired on a joint bank loan, a house that is thus rightfully hers. Both the circumstances of her husband’s second marriage and the events following his death indicate to Ramatoulaye that, in the Senegalese-Islamic model of marriage, the woman is seen as something of a disposable commodity, who can be cast aside as soon as the husband grows bored of her.

Ramatoulaye lives at an intersection likely unfamiliar to most Western readers: she is African, she is Muslim, and she is a feminist. Rather than reject any one of those identities, she seems to value and embody each equally. This refusal to choose is itself an expression of empowerment.

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Feminism and Women Empowerment in Africa. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/feminism-and-women-empowerment-in-africa/

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