Think about any successful and famous American or European single lady.She could be successful in any field of endeavor.
Now, think about a single female counterpart with similar success story in Nigeria or any other part of Africa.
Pause for a minute and be sincere with yourself.What exactly did you call to mind in those few seconds?
Perhaps you remembered that she wasn’t married and wondered if she would ever find a suitable mate?Or you wondered how she managed to even become so rich?
Whatever the case, there is a greater possibility that your conclusion is based on existing cultural and societal expectations.Why is this so?
This is because a careful consideration of the many ways successful African women indirectly pay for their fame reveals cultural and societal factors as the greatest reason. So what are some of the ways these hardworking women indirectly pay for being famous?
Negative cultural and societal perception
When a woman is successful in this part of the world,she needs to work extra harder to clear the air of the existing negatives which the society has built around successful single women.It doesn’t matter if she works till her bones ache.It doesn’t matter if she is very qualified.
Most often, she is perceived as loose, a flirt or even a prostitute.If she happens to be married, her success is most often attributed to her husband.In order words success is masculine.
Inadvertently, the society is saying that women cannot be successful without men.But it this really the case?
Difficulty finding suitable partners
It is not uncommon to observe some Nigerian parents advising their grown up daughters to look less flashy or purchase a less expensive car when she can afford it.
Why? Because they believe that it might scare off eligible men. The guys are however free to live as flamboyant as they want driving whichever cars they can afford.
For the rich and successful married women whose husbands are not as rich, they are not expected to “show it.”
This is because “showing it” could be attributed to an insult on the man or even her in-laws. But the real question is why is the African woman expected to hide her success? Is success male?
Instead of encouraging the men to work harder, women are subjected to a life of trying to appear less affluent than their husbands.They can only appear so if their partners are equally rich.
Always liable to explain actions
The day that a Nigerian successful man would come out to explain why he impregnated a married woman or even slept with one is yet to come. Nobody holds men liable for their actions as much as women are held accountable.
For single rich women,it is even worse.It is like they are constantly under the radar. Walking into a club alone is a crime. You have to come with a man even when you can buy the whole club plus building.
Recently,a popular Nigeria blogger took to social media to explain her reasons for getting pregnant before marriage.
Although part of her reason was that she needed to clarify the real situation to several other younger ladies who adore her. The fact still remains that years of patriarchy has done nothing but put African women in a liable situation.This is the same reason why a woman would be raped and still get blamed for it. When would this trend end?
It is a naked fact that culture and tradition are big factors that limit African women. But the travails of the single African lady is nothing to be ignored.Especially when the environment is clouded by layers of patriarchy which she has to peel off to emerge a true winner.