“Them say woman place na for Kitchen
Say she suppose to fry all the chicken
No suppose to talk for the meeting
Concern herself with the cleaning
A woman can be a helper
A woman can be a lover
A woman can be a teacher
A woman can be the President.”
Where’s the Meaning?
It may seem like the whole world knows and understands that men and women should be treated equally, it may seem like common knowledge that women can hold public office, be breadwinners, doctors, engineers, lawyers etc... But that is not the reality for everyone. In Africa, we tend to be a bit slower adopting worldwide waves, trends, and policies. This song, having the traditional Nigerian High-Life rhythm and melody, and lyrics in pidgin to make it more relatable to the average Nigerian/African man, addresses the inbred misogyny, stigmatization and marginalization of women globally and is a call to African men to see women as much more than cleaners, chefs, and child bearers.
In Africa, and in other parts of the world, the woman is to be quiet, sit pretty and have babies, be a support system for her husband/men, and accept that she can easily be replaced by a younger more attractive version of herself. Anything other than this is met with hostility and anger from people who believe this ʻbalanceʻ shouldn’t be disrupted, and that the Bible and Quran say it is so, so it must be. A Nigerian senator said (no jokes!) that women (who are currently the minority in governance and government positions in Nigeria) shouldn’t be given more opportunity to lead because he said, and I quote, "these women already run our houses, if you allow them here they will come and take over everything!"
In Nigeria, it is even believed to be IMPOSSIBLE for a woman to ever become president. The general overseer in one of the biggest churches in the country claims that feminism is the reason why more marriages are failing and ending in divorce. It is this type of thinking that has resulted in women getting raped and mobbed at big music concerts, while police take no action, artists continue with their performance like nothing is happening.
It is a sweet, sweet relief to hear an artist who is held in high esteem – although he often sings about women in a hyper-sexualized tone which i believe contributes to the problem – produce at least one song meant to uplift women for a change. Hopefully, those inclined toward misogyny or antiquated notions of gender roles will listen, and remember that their mothers... and Rihanna (because sheʻs so awesome!) are women and deserve to be heard and treated with respect!
How much of beliefs about gender roles stem from society? What impacts beliefs about gender roles?
Are enough women speaking up? Are there enough feminists and women empowerment programs to reach out to everyone?
What impacts does religion have on gender roles? Is this impact necessarily negative?
The AWDF is a grant-making foundation that supports local, national and regional women’s organizations working towards the empowerment of African women and the promotion and realization of their rights.
CARE’s commitment to women’s empowerment and gender equality is based on decades of expertise in dozens of countries and in every development sector. They see gender as a cross-cutting issue that is addressed in every of their programs to make an equal world free of poverty.