Giving a population access to education and knowledge is one of the most powerful tools to uplift a society. In many African nations the focus has primarily been on making sure the men in their societies had some sort of education, while expecting women to go uneducated. They expect the women to preform traditionally domestic roles in their culture, which does not put an emphasis on women’s education. This practice needs to change if Africa truly wants to uplift itself out of poverty, only with the empowering of women will these African nations stand a chance to succeed. With increases in women’s education the birthrate and use of contraceptives will increase as a result of women being more causes then men when they are able to have freedom to choose a partner and the knowledge to know how to prevent pregnancy and decrease the chance of STDs. “More highly educated girls and women are better able to negotiate safer sex. An increasing number of studies show that this may be having a real impact on HIV rates.” (Girl Power). Educating women will have a very real and immediate impact on HIV rates as a result of women being empowered to make their own decisions. One way governments can have a very large impact on the rate of children enrolled in school is to eliminate the school fee. This allows the poorest of people the ability to give their children an education they would otherwise be unable to afford. The elimination of school fees is a good first step towards the direction of a more empowered and educated women population.
Namibia is a country that is trying to protect its women and children by passing laws that explicitly guarantee them rights such as basic food, health care and education. One law Namibia passed “defines rape in broad terms and allows for the prosecution of spousal rape. Numerous cases of rape were prosecuted during the year, and the government generally enforced rape penalties, which provide for sentences of between five and 45 years’ imprisonment”(State Gov). Protecting women who may have been forced into marriage, from having sex with their husbands. Although laws do exists against workplace discrimination it is still rare to see a women in management positions. Namibia is ahead of many countries in Africa in terms of women’s rights but still has room for improvement to truly have equality and empowerment in the nation.
The high prevalence of abuses towards women in Africa including HIV, sexual violence, child rape, child trafficking among others is appallingly high. In too many of these countries women are not seen as equal counterparts to men but a sub category of human. This mindset needs to change to stop to curb the rampit abuses women face. In places such as South Africa and Namibia they struggle with child rape and while many ignore the problem some are looking at solutions. One of the biggest preventers of child rape this studies “findings suggest that prevention of child rape is linked to improvements in the social position of women and girls, and the struggle for the recognition of women’s rights”(Jewkes). The role education of women and children in these African nations is vital to uplifting these nations out of poverty but also to help eliminate social atrocities. Nigeria is one nation that has had issues with its women’s rights where many do not value women as much as men in the culture. In the news of late has been the abduction of over 200 girls from a school in northeastern Nigeria. Although “No one has admitted carrying out the mass kidnapping, although it is assumed to be the work of Boko Haram, the al-Qaida-linked jihadi group. Amnesty International says 1,500 people have been killed this year in the conflict between Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces”(Guardian). Showing the ability of these groups to pull of large-scale kidnappings is not a good sign for Nigeria and its record on women’s rights. Not only did the kidnapping of 200 girls take place they to a large extent still remain missing. With the long standing Islamic traditions of the area and a dislike for western influence groups like Boko Haram will continue to fight against the advancement of women and western ideals. For these groups to stop the Nigerian government as well as outside groups need to make sure these areas are secure for women and girls to continue to get the education they need without fear of abduction.
Wood, K. et al. (1998). He forced me to love him.
Jewkes, R. et al. (2005). “If they rape me, I can’t blame them.”
Sehll-Duncan, B. and Hernlund, Y. (no date). Female ‘circumcision” in Africa.
Khadaroo, S. T. (2014) Denise Dunning goes to the causes of poverty, unleashing girl power to create positive change through Let Girls Lead.
Guiterrez, L. et al. (2000) Toward an understanding of (Em)Power(Ment) for HIV/AIDS Prevention with Adolescent Women.
Hargreaves, J. and Boler, T. (2006). Girl Power