Every individual has his or her own role to play in society. East African women are generally confined to the role of being a teacher to their children. This has somewhat been passed on through generations dating back from the 1880’s. Whilst some may argue that East African women should not be limited to being the teachers of their children, others say it is one of the worlds greatest roles to be given.
Some of our colleagues visited East Africa earlier this year to gain an insight into the role of women in the 21st century. They spoke to a wide range of citizens mostly women but also men to gain an unbiased view.
One woman aged 74 years old spoke about her role as a mother to 4 girls and 2 boys. She said that in her younger days women in East Africa were never seen as equal to men. Also, women were never allowed to go work outside of the family home or start any kind of career. When asked if she thought this was fair, she replied that she was raised in an era where you weren’t allowed to question the way of life. Women were raised from a young age to be able to clean, cook and run a family home. So, if you didn’t have a career it wasn’t viewed as strange or unusual.
Our team also spoke to an East African woman, aged 23 years old, who was completing her final year at college. When asked what her plans were for the next 5 years she responded with interesting ambitions. She explained that although she wants marriage and a family, her career is her main priority for now. She is hoping to find a job in the sales industry and so all her time is now devoted to her study. Our colleagues then asked whether she felt pressured to marry and have children. She responded that she felt a great deal of pressure from her family at the age of 19, but after persevering they eventually agreed to let her embark on a career first after she promised to marry later on.
Our team also had the chance to speak with a working African man to get his opinions about what he thought the role of East African women should be. He explained that being born in the 1990’s, he was raised very differently to his older relatives. He stated that he has been taught to respect the choices that women make, whether that is to start a career or looking after the children. As evident in this article, the role of women in East Africa is still divided across generations and will probably continue to be for years to come.