Modern-day jobs add to traditional tasks

Marie Gueye, a teacher in a thatched-roof primary school in this rural village had just come home from class. It was shortly after 5 p.m. And, still dressed in a formal-looking skirt and blouse, she was was pounding grain by hand in the family courtyard. She breathed hard as she lifted the heavy stick and slammed it into the grain.

``Are you tired?'' she was asked.

``Yes,'' she said, never breaking the rhythm. To vary the monotony, she clapped her hands quickly just as the stick reached its maximum height. Sometimes two women work together, alternating sticks like two wooden pistons.

Like many women in Africa who have entered the work force, Mrs. Gueye gets little help with the housework. While she now teaches all day, she has not been relieved of her other chores.

Pausing, Gueye explained her daily routine. ``I get up at six and do this,'' she said, pointing to the grain. ``I continue to eight. Then I go to school.''

She comes home at noon to fix the family meal, then returns to teach from three to five.

Just after five she starts pounding again until after six, when she makes the evening meal. Then she spends a couple of hours preparing her school lessons. Finally, around 10, she turns in for the night.

Although men argue to the contrary, to most visitors it appears that the women here do indeed work harder than men. For example, while a group of women were grinding grain one recent afternoon, some men nearby sat watching two others play checkers.

African men's traditional role centered on waging war, hunting, and building. But since that role has slowly dissolved, men - who see farming, selling crops, and raising a family as women's work - have little to do.

African women now produce 70 percent of the food grown on their continent, according to statistics from the United Nations.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK