African women despite the improvements these days still suffer from dispro- portionate levels of poverty, education, poor health and nutrition, lack of op- portunities to engage in decision making, gender-based violence and though we do not think it exists in the day we live now in some areas women are still going through female genital mutilation and child marriage.
Within communities mothers are given a social status of housewives assigned with all the tasks around the house and looking after all the family members including the occasional guests. You would be surprised how much time and effort it takes to look after the house. And most often their efforts are under- mined.
Tending an African household IS NOT an easy task. It is hard labor, mothers are the ones waking up at dusk be- fore everyone else and work without break till past midnight after the oth- ers have gone to sleep. Most of the tasks are not aided by technological innovations to make it easier; the few privileged ones might have cooking appliances or maybe even laundry aachines but for the rest, it takes an entire day to wash clothes by hand (jeans are your worst nightmare in these cases). There are also some families in the rural areas who do not have access to electricity and water meaning they have to get up early to walk miles to fetch water and carry it on their backs and burn wood to prepare a meal. Not only are they risking their health but to make it worse not all have sufficient access to health centers.
While we are on the topic, it is a must to mention the complications mothers have to endure during pregnancy and giving birth. According to the data col- lected in 2017 among the 295,000 maternal mortality across the world, 86% accounted to sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa alone 200,000 mothers die each year giving birth. UNICEF points out that most of these cases could be prevented if attained by skilled health personnel with proper equipment. But for these women quality service is a far luxury when they do not even have access to health care offices and most hospitals do not meet the qualifications. Some give birth in their homes with the help of the local elders and neighbors and very few go to regular check-ups during their pregnancy.
The hard labor for most of these women
does not stop in the house but contin-
ues with more work outdoors too, from
farming to regular jobs. Mothers car-
rying heavy loads of wood and sitting
on the streets in the hot blazing sun to
sell vegetables and some do all these
with their children on their backs. Some
mothers are working double shifts and
few receive praise for what they do let
alone support from their significant oth-
er. In African households there still exists the idea “men should not be in the kitchen”.
Women become mothers at an early age and are forced to drop out of school and as most do not have educational background it becomes even harder for them to have equal access to jobs and get out of the house which makes them even more dependent on the men. And there are times when the men think that gives them property rights over these women contributing to the gen- der-based violence as if they do not have too much on their plates already. But the most heartbreaking I would say is being looked down upon by their chil- dren despite them shedding sweat and blood to raise them. And in spite of the amount of attitude they receive they are the ones coming to our rescue when dads get mad and cover for us and take blames for our mess-ups.
Under all these conditions its unimaginable to think how much more the single mothers endure especially in communities where di- vorced women are treated with contempt and families abandon their children who get pregnant at an early age. But the struggle moth- ers undergo is not only for Africans but women every- where and I think we can all agree that they deserve to be acknowledged not only on a specific Sunday but ev- ery single day.
P.S love you mom