20 May 2022


Women and their Roles within the African Society

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Academic level: College

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A woman in the society has been deemed to be inferior to an average man since time in memorial. The role women play in our societies has greatly been undermined. In the African society, all activities considered to be invaluable were usually left for women. Men meanwhile, took control of almost everything and the woman had no influence in the decision making within in the within the community setup. In Africa for instance, when education was being introduced, most of the men were against a similar education system between the males and their female counterparts. They argued out that the only way to support women education within their societies was if the women were only going to be taught to be teachers to their children. This might be the main reason why Africa has got a lot of female teachers as compared to the male teachers. It is, however, important not to overlook the various roles these women played in the society. This is as attributed in the findings Sharma, K. (1989) who saw the need to empower women whose roles in the society was undermined in the African traditional setups.

Women in the African traditional society had roles to play, which if we were to look at today, then we would very easily be left in awe of the tremendous role they played. Women were left by men in the homesteads to take care of them while men at this time would travel miles to find jobs elsewhere. They were to ensure that they protect the whole family and provide meals at the same time. 

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Women in the traditional African setup had designated roles such as gathering firewood and tending family fields. They would spend a bigger part of the day doing such chores. These household chores were so demanding to the woman that it consumed a lot of time thus making it hard for a woman to seek paid employment elsewhere.

A woman deserved much respect as they were left with the role of taking care of the children in the homesteads as well as the elderly. This was quite a cumbersome job since at this very time they had other house chores that had to be attended to. During this period there were no any good child care facilities in which they could have taken their children as they do their other chores. Support services that could have catered for the elderly were not there too. This meant that the woman had to assume all these duties.

Rwomire, A. (2001) tries to explain out how women played an important role in educating their children. Mothers were always with their kids and would tag them along to the fields and teach them on how to work. They also had story sessions with their kids in which they taught them on certain life issues that they needed to know about. Women also played an important role in the passage religious teachings to the young generations. Some women in the African societies even presided over some religious functions. This meant implied that there was steady of religion and culture from one generation to another. 

Women played the role spies in times of war. A woman was often sent to the enemies’ side so as to spy on them on their supposed plans. They would, later on, come back with information which her people would use against their enemies. During a war, the women also played the role of provided food to their warriors. They were involved in gathering and cooking of food for their troops in the battle fields. 

However, the role of women in the African societies today is much recommendable. Women have been allowed into leadership positions unlike before. They have been allowed to get access to paid jobs just as their male counterparts. Some have become even breadwinners to their families. Societies that have advocated for women leadership have always realized good economic growth. They are the pillar of the global economy. It is, therefore, important to respect the woman of the various roles hey have played in our societies. It is overwhelming to assume those roles as a woman.


Mikell, G. (1997).  African feminism: The politics of survival in sub-Saharan Africa . Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Rwomire, A. (2001).  African women and children: Crisis and response . Westport, Conn. [u.a.: Praeger.

Sharma, K. (1989).  Women of Africa: Their role and positions in society . New Delhi, India: Mittal Publications

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Women and their Roles within the African Society.


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