A Woman’s Worth – Pt. 1


A woman’s role has changed from what it was decades ago. Some of the things men expect women to do today would have been unfathomable in the 70’s, 80’s and maybe into the 90’s. Yet though her role has changed, many of her chains remain the same.  There are those who conceive things differently, but it would appear the default of an African man’s mentality (and men who the 6 other continents can claim) is that a woman must maintain her place yet still keep the pace.

It is not only the African man who has this mentality, but it is of this man and his woman we speak of today. Men expect African women to be all they were and yet all they are as well, to me this is not the cliché double standard, but more of a niave selfishness.

As a good African woman in today’s society you are expected to:

  • have a degree and be intelligent,
  • make your own money,
  • carry yourself with dignity and respect,
  • be a freak in the sheets (by default o, God forbid your nymphomaniac talents come from practice),
  • respect your man and his fam despite any disrespect they may send your way,
  • cook soups whose leaves may not even grow in your village and whose names you may not be able to pronounce,
  • have gorgeous hair – sans (without) weave-on
  • submit to your husband’s every inclination
  • always always always a forgiving spirit
  • be the primary caregiver of your children.
  • cook and clean on top everything else.

(Flip 10 pages ahead).

You should, you should, you should…

The times have changed and “you should” should no longer apply. These terms and conditions SHOULD be negotiable and negotiated. It needs to be a choice not a chore. And for every checklist item she chooses to do – it should be appreciated NOT ignored or accepted as a “before nko” situation.

Men have a lot more leeway. They are men, so if they cheat they should be forgiven – it could be worse. If they come home late, we thank God they came home at all while their mates are still roaming the streets. If he is an ashawo, at least he is still providing for his family – financially, and that is more than what others are doing. There is always a scenario that excuses all actions in the long run, because they are men. Men are judged by those who are doing worse off than them, and then elevated; whereas women are judged by a golden standard and a better woman, and never quite measure up.

The stereotypical actions that society assigns through the cyclical behaviour of individuals says men make mistakes and should be forgiven. If we are to abide by that, what makes a woman any different? Created from the rib of a man she shares those qualities, and has a heart that beats beneath those ribs full of emotions and aspirations of her own.

There was a time when our ancestors were each assigned a worth that was not one-millionth of a fraction of the cost of the computer/cell phone you are reading this article on. Based on the colour of our skin we were traded, transported, maltreated and murdered. Modern day slavery is akin to telling a woman that simply because her gender is what it is she must act a certain way, do certain things, and perform certain roles; or else she is worthless. Na slavery be that. If you love your woman – mother, sister, spouse – break those chains and chastise those who refuse to.

Why does it appear that the good African women are “not as fun?” Why is their own wahala too much? Because they are playing the role of SuperWomen yet receiving the credit of slaves. Biko, let us appreciate what African Queens are worth, because they are beautiful, strong, accomplished, and that much more. If we do not elevate and appreciate them ourselves, and do not provide them the same respect, forgiveness, and freedom they give us in return, we are enslaving them over and over again.

To those who do elevate and appreciate them – thank you. Those who do not – na today we go start.


photo credit: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/YywuguvMEa0TC-6LueyWTw


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this piece. I am in my late 20's and I am certain that there are men within my age-grade who have come to understand this phenomenon depending on how open they are to broadening their horizons. The fact is that a man who loves and respects his Woman will not perceive her as one whose sole duty is meet his every need.

    Nevertheless, sometimes, the way a man decides to treat his wife largely depends on his perception of what marriage is and what they expect

  2. Great article o…. this is what the world has turned to but i think we should also look at the root cause of all this…..

    Im half ibo and half yoruba so i'll talk based on what i noticed, lets go back to something as simple as language.

    In yoruba a wife is called iyawo (iya-wo)… for those who understand yoruba ive broken that down into 2 syllables being Iya = To suffer, Wo = to look

    Now lets look at the ibo side (which i'll do tha same for) nwunye (Nwu-nye), and that also means: Nwu = death, Nye = give…..

    So what does this tell us….?

    It tells us that from way back woman has been seen as a helpers and one that needs to take care of the household through sufferings and all (iya-wo, Nwu-Nye).

    I think the way things have been aproached in this regard was misguided. so this perception has sipped through to all genarations.

    I am not proponent for the way woman were looked at in the past and in the present day (in the negative light). So we need to teach our sons how to treat women and how they need to be respected in every way and we also need to teach our daughters that this is how a woman needs to be treated so they know what is expected from others as well as them.

    Im saying this from my own point of view and if i have offended anyone by doing this then im sorry but thats how i see it.

    We can play a part is changing the perception of how the world is by teaching the future generation about responsibility and how to treat others….

    Its whatt i just noticed and thought about and if anyone one needs to educate me more on the things ive dedused then im open to it.

    We learn everyday.

    Thanks for the article Zednani…..

    I dey wait the next part.

    • They say language shapes perception, a point which you have most intelligently proven with your response. I did not know what the break-down translations were of those terms of endearment, but now (thanks to you!) I do. 🙂 It makes sense that Nigerian culture would for the most part perceive women in the role it does when even the language defines a woman's role as such. Thank you for sharing.

      "We can play a part is changing the perception of how the world is by teaching the future generation about responsibility and how to treat others"

      I absolutely agree!

      Part 2 is coming soon!

  3. My goodness!! Your article is sooooo on point!!! (Forgive my excitement). It reads like the more eloquent version of an argument I have had in several forms and on several occasions, with young Nigerian men and women alike. As you might presume, I am always outnumbered at the end of the day. Just know that you have earned my utmost respect with this singular article. Thank you.

    PS: What is your gender?