Women and 'the Other Room': Emancipating the Society.
WOMEN AND ‘THE OTHER ROOM’: EMANCIPATING THE SOCIETY
Pan-Africanism is an ideology which emphasizes the brotherhood of the black people, wherever they are, whether in Africa, America, Asia, Europe as elsewhere. It is an expression of the desire for African unity as well as the unity of all people whose ancestry is Africa. Women in Africa and the Diaspora played critical roles in the advancement of Pan-Africanism through their contributions to all forms of black liberation struggles. Pan-Africanism has moved to another level from the struggle for political power to complete social, economic and political emancipation (). This ideology has positively ignited the desire in some African women in their efforts to actualize self and contribute to nation building in spite of being confined to “the other room”. The premise of the “other room” was ignited by the statement made by the President of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, when he said that “… but she [his wife] belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room”. This paper, therefore, sets out to lay bare the principles of Pan-Africanism and Womanism, which shows that Pan-Africanist ideals are closely related to Womanism, whose ideologies are essentially the same: dignity, freedom, development, peace, self-determination and fundamental human rights. The paper advocates that women in spite of being tied down with the monotony of life as wives, mothers, punching bags, sex objects, etc are bursting forth, challenging patriarchal roles, which most times impede the growth and development of women in the society. This is why Barbara Christian avers that “the African woman is not content in being a victim, she opts to be an actor in the post-colonial world”. In re-creating and re-writing women’s role in the society, women seek to change their inactive roles in a male dominated society. The paper concludes that women’s emancipation, gender equality and women’s empowerment is at the heart of the question of humanity itself and it is therefore universal in character and asserting its place in the global community.
Keywords: Pan-Africanism, Womanism, Emancipation and ‘The Other Room’.