As an African Lady, most people you  meet always ask if you have a career, if you are married, or own a man?, as if life comes with a strict list of those, but they hardly ask if you are single, independent and happy?

Pressure from the society that we find ourselves in, is the very thing that is putting weight on young and vibrant African ladies who must be empowered to stand up for themselves, not through bad or wrong means , but to strive to stand independently, before all others are added on.

The verbal questions that are normally asked to pressurize the African lady are: Are u Married? Do you have Kids?  When are you getting married? You are growing, so when are you getting married? 

The concept of marriage in an African set up is a ambivalent one. Marriage is constructed as both an assumed or mandatory social arrangement; as well a site for being the ultimate or feeling fulfilled but in our society today marriage most at times becomes an institution for suffering and hardship particularly for some women.

With my few adult interactions I got convinced that most black women get married because they simply cannot afford not to: unless she becomes the Mrs. (one that belongs to a Mr.) does she have any reason to be happy, content or accomplished. The socialization of a black women with social groups like friends, peers, family prepares women for this hardship inside and outside the home.

Black ladies are mostly not taught the need to love herself, her beauty and the very essence of feminine strength and bravery to work hard to stand alone in life with or without the help of a man.

Marriage for an African lady has become the site where black women become real women, an institution that separate her, the chosen one, from the other ladies who have not been chosen nor had their worth affirmed.

It’s strange that while girls are raised to be women, wives, and mothers through various continuous processes, training, and interactions, boys are socialized to be men within problematic discourses of masculinity that positions them as being a lady’s protector, saviour or provider which is very wrong.

 The goal of a woman in life must not be solely on finding fulfillment through a husband or a partner,  African parents would raise their daughters to become that woman who would have to stop whatever she’s pursuing to get married to that fine gentleman, that rich man, that educated man, you are of age is a hall mark for women in our society, the schooling is okay, stop and get married. Being a good   independent woman without any support in a Ghanaian society has in a way “become a crime”, because society looks at you with a “different eye”.

Our very own And Efia Odo writes:
“At a young age, most African daughters are taught to marry a rich man. Mothers usually putting pressure on the marriage of richness, not goodness or love. Barely instilled independence in daughters, everyday depend on a man for financial means. Teach your daughters independency”.

Women should empower each other instead of being so hateful and envious of one another, our Guardians parents and other social groups   must try to correct the misconception of a lady becoming fulfilled through a man.

I believe the traits for an African woman must be; independent proud black woman, Bold, Brave and comfortable in her own skin.

by Adjoa Penny

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