Volume 4, Number 1 - August 26, 2013

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Daniela Rangel

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The Real Story of Africa’s Women

By Daniela Rangel

Sub-Saharan Africa bears the stories of millions of women striving to break through years of tradition and brutality into a new dawn of equality and opportunity.

They fell into the gender-roles imposed upon them centuries ago by the development of agriculture and subsistence farming which redefined women’s main purpose from strong warriors to homebound child bearers.

As foreigners arrived, bringing forth great news of patriarchal, monotheistic religions and the wonders of conformity and female humility, progress towards female equality was further prolonged.

Today, women in Sub- Saharan are standing up for more leadership, property ownership, health, education and most of all, their rights to freedom, happiness and opportunities.  

In 2011, The United Nations (UN) Population Fund reported issues like the feminization of AIDS and poverty, low female literacy rates and representation in decision making bodies, gender-based violence, and inadequate allocation of resources as present in Sub-Saharan Africa.

For years women in this area have been fighting for everything from the right to a life free of judgment based on an AIDS diagnosis to the ability to be their own person.

This is not to say that the countless nongovernmental organizations and grant programs established by aiding countries and the UN have not been hard at work in attempting to create policies that both protect and embrace women with rights and liberties that they so desperately need.

It is, however, the leaders of countries who bask in the limelight of equality discussions and committees that do little to implement discussed policies on local tribal councils. Those in charge do very little to enforce these laws out of fear that they might lose local support.

As a result, women continue to venture on unprotected. Many are incapable of bringing their complaints to the authorities because they do not survive the horrors committed against them.

In recent studies eight out of 10 women die of maltreatment, abuse, genital mutilation practiced with infected materials, and even depression.

In response, women in Sub-Saharan Africa are making attempts to form assemblies, unite together, and discuss issues of interest amongst one another.

These brave women understand that the first step on the road to change is awareness and hosting educated discussions that are openly available for anyone to present and voice their opinions, ideas, and concerns without fear for their lives.

As more women enter decision-making bodies or executive positions, such as the female president of Liberia, more of these discussions will take place. It seems that the future of thousands of women could someday be changed for the better.

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