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28/08/2014

Opinion: Why Africa must not forget its women.

In an opinion piece, Llewellyn King argues that the long-term future of Africa lies its attitude toward women.” At present, women in Africa have a raw deal, yet they, and not the natural resources in Africa- are its future.

Women hold Africa together and suffer in silence. They are the ones bent over with primitive implements in the fields, inevitably with their latest infant strapped to their backs. They are the ones who must endure marriage during puberty, bear children before their bodies are fully formed and face the world’s highest rates of death during childbirth.

In shiny office buildings in Accra or Lusaka, it is the women who are moving the work forward. If you need something done, from a permit to an airline reservation, seek out a woman in an office. However, very few
women make it to those jobs.

On the farms in Africa, it is the women who have managed small cooperatives, mastered micro-credit and provide family life. The women of Africa need to be told often and in every way they are special. They need to know that they have value beyond sex and work; that they are not an inferior gender, that they are the future.

However, as much as King is cynical about the plight of women in Africa, trends show that women are indeed advancing and knocking off the glass ceiling. For example, women in the tech scene are flourishing, and in some countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana, the number of women enrolling in colleges and universities is almost the same as men. Sure, there are not as many women CEOs or in corporate boardrooms, but there sure are many more women rising up higher in the ranks. 

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