70% of African women with disabilities get them from their husbands. In Africa, most women have little or no rights. This effects what they can do for work, how their family life is, and what future they have. Women throughout time, especially in African culture, have always been subservient to men. The status of women in Africa is second-rate. In countries like the United States, women have the same rights as men and are almost equal. But in Africa its totally different. Women have to know that they should be equal to men. It’s important to understand that every race is discriminated at one point in time. This should not happen if we have a realization. This understanding would be realizing that everyone put on this planet was created equal.
DEFINE THE PROBLEM
Women, unfortunately, have been very discriminated against, even in this century. Women are so cruelly thought of that now, women see nothing wrong with mental and physical cruelty towards them. Since the status of women in Africa, is so low, it has caused many men to overpower womenphysically. More and more women are being beaten and thinking that it is okay because the women think men are superior to them. A frightening fact is that 16 2/3 percent of women are battered by their partners and 46% of these cases the children are beaten too. “If you go to the police and complain that your husband is abusing you or hitting you the authorities would think, Oh well she probably deserved it!” Said Lindy Mieza. A woman named Geli wrote about her life in which she says, “My mothershe constantly suffered terrible physical and mental abuse from him”Fifty percent of women in Africa women will be raped in their life time.. There were 23,806 rapes in the first six months of 1996. And what worse is that police estimate that for every rape reported another thirty-five takes place. South Africa, “Already confronting the worlds worst murder rate the country has a harrowing new fact to face: there is a rape every 25 seconds..” Geli wrote, “Being raped doesnt mean its by some you dont know, I was raped by my husband and his friends” In conclusion, when men over power women, women feel less and less important and the status of women becomes worse.
Poverty is a problem because most children who grow up in poverty, die there. They dont necessary get shot or killed, they end up not being able to climb out poverty and get a decent job, especially women. Women in Africa are forced to be prostitutes because they need to support their family. When women do this they end up having a bigger family. Women live in poverty in a disproportionate number. “My mother lived and died in poverty and so did her mom, one day I will too because I have no food or money.” “Why have women become so much poorer? There is no one reason. In countries like Kenya and India, cut backs resulting from the International Monetary Funds and Structural adjustment policies (SAPs) have affected women most because they are the main recipients of education and health.” There are more women than men in poverty. Out of the 4.3 million displaced 80% of them are women. In a study carried out over 20 years the number of rural women in poverty has increased by 50% reaching an awesome 565 million. “Poverty has influenced womens lives more than any factor over the last decade.” If women are in poverty they will not be able to help fight to gain their rights.
For many many years, generations of girls would and will give up their education for their brother because he getting an education is more important than her getting one. Lindy Mieza once said, “If you look at our country, it is the women who are the first to dropped at school to give places to their brothers.” Girls in Africa get a second class education. Many girls have dropped out of school because they were raped and need to take care of their babies that have no fathers. “I once went to school, but then I was raped and had a baby.” A fourteen year old girl told a reporter. Women should be able to go to school just like men but, “Only the wealthiest girls are able to obtain an education.” , There are 52 million boys who do not go to primary school. But their are 77 million girls who dont go to school where one learns the two most important things, reading and writing. Because women are that last ones in schools and the first ones out, obviously they are the ones who cant read. If one took out nine hundred illiterate people, women would out number men two to one. In Africa, 68.3% of the women can not read. If women arent educated then they wont get jobs and will have no way for a secure future.
Women are taught in their tribes and cultures that it is all right for men to mistreat them. This is not helping women realize that they dont have to be treated the way they are. Tribal women are brought up thinking its okay for them to be mens slaves. Once an African woman said “I came to the conclusion that part of our problems with menis that we were brought up to see out lives incomplete without them. We were taught to consider man as our superiors, the absolute rulers not only of our home but of our lives too.” Geli said “Customs and tradition told us it was normal for men to lie and abuse to cheat and domineer” Gelis mom was abused by her husband as well as her Grandmother was abused and so was she. Geli grew up think it wasnt wrong for men to hit women. She Grew up thinking it was all right for her husband to hit her. It wasnt till American groups came and told her what her husband did was illegal, after that, she left him “Women were told we were duty-bound, to remain steadfast and faithful; to our husband no matter what they did do to us or how undeserving of our affections they were” If women keep growing up thinking that it is right for men to overpower then women will never be equal to men.
Since men make up all of the laws and rules most laws proteins only to men. Laws are only fair to man. Black women of Africa have suffered the most because of discriminating laws. Up in till this century women couldnt own property, vote. Get jobs, and sometimes even leave the house. “The women acknowledge that under apartheid, womens issues were pushed to the back burner while black men and women fought together for liberation. But now women are devoting attention to old and pervasive obstacles. The whole system has placed women in a inferior position.” Women were not involved in any environmental decisions or economical decisions. Woman had different jail sentences then men. If a woman killed any one she would be put to a torturous death. If a man he would get a life time sentence with a chance of parole. In Kangaroo courts, punishment for women can be rape by a government official(s). Nelson Mendela the Prime Minister of South Africa once said, “I pay tribute to the mothers and wives of our nation. You are the rockhard foundation of our struggle. Apartheid has inflicted more pain on you than anyone else.” Women cant be equal to men if laws dont allow them to. “If you dont get a chance to take part in you laws you dont take part in the rules the govern you life” said Mrs. Shays.
In African women are very prone to getting diseases. Women not only have to deal with having no rights but they also have to deal with disease. “At the hospitals we see women who are brought in wheel barrows who have had ten pregnancies and have ruptured uteruses. They die in those wheel barrows. In America you have 911. You call on a telephone and an ambulance comes. Here we cant call on a phone because their are none and you cant call for an ambulance because their are none.” Also malnutrition, starvation, AIDS, and even diarrhea are deadly in Africa. “29.3 percent of pregnant women have AIDS.” Nelson Mendela once said “We must give health to the aged to the pregnant women and to the young children.” Doctors are rare and expensive in Africa. Many people who need them cant afford them. Women are the main people who take care of the family, and because if they are busy fighting off disease they cant fight for their rights.
Being sick put a damper on a womens attitudes. The attitudes of women’s rights are very poor, women and men have bad attitudes about it. Forty women with the idea of them having the right to vote went to court to see what they could do. When the women brought up the idea the judge just sat and laughed. He told them to leave. “Men think nothing about us, we are slaves to them, and nothing more. When we asked for rights they wanted nothing to do with us. Sadly many women felt the same way.” A women’s rights leader said. “Men dont want to let us share their power” Lindy Meiza tried to lift women attitudes in her speech, “We must think we can. Think you can and you can. Now lets win the rights we deserve!!” If women think they can they can. They will rise up against men. Just like in the story The Little Engine Who Could he thought he could and then he did it.
South Africa has made a new constitution with a charter for women. The new constitution will eliminate all laws that discriminate whites and black, and males and females. The new constitution with the first charter for women will give women the rights the deserved. Some of the laws are: “Women shall have equal legal status and capacity in civil law including amongst others, full contractual rights, the right to acquire and hold in property, the right to equal in heritance and the right to secure credit” States the charter. “Every woman shall have the right to education and training at any stage of her life in order to realize her full potential. Women shall have special access to funds for education and training. Child care facilities shall be provided. Education to develop awareness of womens status, to build womens self confidence and able them to claim their constitutional and legal rights should be implemented. Ensure womens full and equal participation in power structures and decision-making. Develop education and training to increase womens capacity to participate in decision-making and leadership. The state shall establish appropriate institution to ensure the effective protection and promotion of equality for women. Women demand equality in the development, application, adjudication interpretation and enforcement of the law. Women shall have equality within the family and within marriages and intimate relationships. Women shall have equal rights during and it the dissolution of a marriage. Women married under customary law shall have the right to inherit from their spouses. All family types shall be recognized and treated equally. Women shall have the right to choose the partner of their choice. Women should have equal access to financial resources of the household. Women should have equal decision making powers and access to information in regard to the economic management of the household. Social services should be a right not a privilege. Women must be protected from sexual harassment and violence in all places where women are working. Violence in all its forms is endemic to South African society both sexual and domestic violence are pervasive and all women live under the threat of experience violence women experience secondary victimization at all stages of criminal justice system which shall include the right to be free from all forms of violence in the home in communities in the work pace and in public spaces.” These are some of the important laws for women that will make drastic changes in Africa. Authorities have made some changes to protect women. Last year, marital rape became a crime and women can now more easily obtain restraining orders against their abusers. As a result, an older man who was convicted of raping a nine year old girl received a ten year sentence. Women are getting rights and the MALE government is realizing that they must make both genders equal. “We demand the rights we deserve.” The women of Africa demanded it and they got it.
Women groups, like the ANC, have been helping women win their rights. “The ANC now regards the champing of womens rights an integral part of its agenda.” “Already the ANC has enriched the womens rights in the charter and constitutional guidelines.” Theyve made laws with government to become equal. The ANC has strongly advocated that that 33% of all political nominees be women. “Once the ANC was un-banned various groups united to form the Womens Coalition to facilitate gender issues in neglected for the new government.” “..countless other women-the unsung heroines of black women liberation.” If more women join these womens groups, women will have some control over their own lives.
Not only are women helping themselves but now other countries are trying to help African women too. Many countries like the United States have helped Africa by donating money, sending representatives to help villages become better place for women and even given countries food. “other countries are making giant leaps to show Africa the way.” The United States aid is providing 65 million or 80% of its basic education assistance to Africa, so every child will have access education. The United States also provided 4 million for the African women abuse. If other countries help Africa it will become a better place for women.
Womens thoughts on the future are strong and hopeful. “The fight will go on forever. Women will never be equal to men. One day men will be equal to women.” Many leaders even thought even though, being beaten and jailed still are positive. Just like Thandi. She was an ANC leader. She protested against women have to where passes that stated information like birth, place of birth, town and reacords. At that protest, was arrested and put into jail for eight years. She says, “One is still doughtful about the future.” Felicia Mabuza, another ANC member, says, “South Africa is going to have to get used to seeing women in the board room as well as the bedroom.” She also said, “In the coming years black South African women will continue to stand and assume their roles in a fast changing society that is filled with hope and optimism.” Women in Africa are gaining hope about their future. The more this happens the more confidence they will get and they will soon be able to face men as equals.
To help women in Africa my organization, S.O.F.A.W., Shout Out For African Women, will show women how to build homes, coaxes the governments to change some laws and most important give all women an education.
S.O.F.A.W. will be collecting money from private and public distributors. This money will used for sending our representatives to places of poverty to show women how to build a house. We will teach them the basic skill. They women we teach will show their neighbor and then the neighbor would teach their neighbor and so on. If we do this more and more women will get out of poverty, less and less women will live in poverty and finally we are teaching women a skill that that will be able to use.
The S.O.F.A.W. is going to set up meetings with counties all over Africa. In our meetings we will try to coax the government to change laws so men and women are equal. Then we would help them enforce the laws. If the laws are equal then the women will soon be equal.
Finally and most importantly the S.O.F.A.W will build 200 schools. We will build 100 primary schools because that is where reading and writing are taught, the two most important things in the world. We would build 50 high schools and 50 middle schools. Of course all of these schools will be for girls only. If women are educated the more money would know their laws and how to do something about is.
“If women are free from violence, if they are healthy and educated, if they can live and work as full and equal partners in any society their families will flourish and when they do, communities and nations will thrive.” Bill Clinton. I personal think that Africa will not remain odd man out. I think this because If organizations like mine help problems like status of women, hunger, over population, health, wildlife, rainforest and black liberation problems like these will be non existancet. Women are humans, they shouldnt be treated like animals. Like I said before women need education, and jobs. But women also need better health facilities and better shelters. You can help by donating money to organizations like mine. I care because people are being hurt when they shouldnt be. Please if you can call 1-888-WOMEN-AF.