African History 7.8 Women's Rights
This is probably going to be a real shocker, so you may want to take a seat: turns out colonization didn’t do much to help women’s rights in Africa.
|World History||African History|
Americans might talk a good game about not being sexist.
But Mozambique beat us to having a female head of government with Prime Minister Diogo [Prime Minister Diogo giving a speech]
Mali, Liberia, the Central African Republic, Madagascar, and others have all had female
Still, Africa has definitely had its struggles with women’s rights. [People playing tug of war]
Just like everything else in Africa, the development of women's rights came to a screeching halt
under colonialism, and it took a while to get things moving again.
Colonial governments had a hard enough time with all those men complaining about oppression,
so they weren't in a hurry to allow women any rights.
In fact, when Britain took direct control of Sierra Leone and Igboland
they abolished women's voting rights in local elections.
Guess that’s what they meant by "bringing civilization" to Africa.
Maybe they should've stuck to bringing tea…
At the end of WWII, the only country in Africa where women were allowed to vote was South
And even then, it was only white property-owning women.
So that left out…oh, we don't know…the majority of women in the country. [Disappointed looking women at polling station]
After WWII, decolonization activists got the push for women's suffrage revved up again.
The countries where decolonization movements packed the most punch were the places that [Boxing glove punching map of Africa]
gave women the vote first.
There was most of French West Africa…
But the rest of Africa had to decolonize before their women could have rights.
One of the first acts of many independent African countries, like Sierra Leone, Rwanda,
Uganda, and Nigeria, was to finally give women the right to vote.
We imagine they wore their "I Voted!" stickers with pride.
And nowadays, there are no African countries where men can vote, but women can't. [Woman casting votes all over Africa]
Sounds pretty good, right?
But voting is only a small part of the battle here.
Women are still more likely to be victimized by armies or the police.
Domestic violence against women is even worse than in the West.
Women earn far less money for what is often way harder work. [Man holds very large check and woman holds small check]
And, of course, certain tribes still practice controversial rituals such as female circumcision…better
known as genital mutilation.
And just when we were feeling optimistic….
But because we don't want to leave you with those less-than-fun facts, let’s look on
the bright side.
In Africa, women have become the main focus of many aid programs… [Crying woman being comforted]
Both because they're so much more likely to be discriminated against, and because they're
more likely to be the ones taking care of the kids.
Supporting women now supports the next generation of both men and women. [Family sat together on sofa smiling]
Also, women's rights, access to health care, and education level all go hand in hand with
more use of family planning and lower fertility rates.
So pushing women's rights now can help stop overpopulation and nip future poverty in the [Bar chart with women's rights outweighing overpopulation]
A rich guy with a time machine could also solve future poverty, but women’s rights
seem like a better bet. [Man stood next to a time travelling car]