Hello again, and thanks for joining me!
A couple months ago, I wrote a paper on women’s education in Cameroon and gender roles. I have decided to share some of the information that I gathered here from research and from experience, because I believe that it represents a crucial part of my time here within Cameroon.
I learned a lot from class discussions and research, and I became more aware of the issues that young women in this country are facing today. We had guest lecturers discuss these issues with us, and the first presentation was done by the lady who runs MUFFA, the NGO that I mentioned in the post Each One, Teach One (if you haven’t read it yet make sure that you check it out!). She reminds me a lot of myself and my Cameroonian grandmother, because of her mannerisms and her mindset on the importance of getting a good education.
From her presentation, I learned that many young women in Cameroon do not think it is feasible to be successful academically and professionally, while having a family. Many young girls choose to get married, and leave all aspirations of school and profession behind. Cameroon is a patriarchal society, and men are perceived to be the sole bread-winners for families, which means that many young women are left to take care of home duties and stop pursuing education at young ages.
We also had a presentation from three young women who spoke about their own personal struggles with pursuing their education. They grew up in villages, and they had to work hard to ensure their right to pursue their education, despite their family’s wishes for them to take care of their home duties. They all agreed that their education comes first in their lives, and that they are focused on completing their academic and career goals before getting married. They also informed us that every woman in Cameroon is associated with a man, whether it be their son, father, grandfather, or even their late husband. For example, here I am not known as Lydia, but I am my father’s daughter, grandfather’s granddaughter, etc. Overall, all of this information helped me to gain a better understanding of the dynamics within Cameroon and the cultural context and mindsets on gender roles.
Additionally, I also want to highlight some of the amazing women that I have been able to spend my time with while here, and whom I have been able to glean from. These are women that I was able to meet through my program, and through my work with the school I’m fundraising for. They are featured in some of the photos below, and it is because of them that I was able to complete my program successfully and learn about Cameroon at large.
Lastly, I have shared a link below that was shared with me by a family member, and it includes wise advice from older women to younger women. I encourage you all to check it out! I also would like to share a quote from former First Lady Michelle Obama’s book Becoming, where she states, “I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.” May we all remember the importance of the women in our lives.
My Host Mom, Mme Etoa:
Our Director, Mme Christiane:
Our Homestay Coordinator and Guide, Mme Nathalie:
Guest Speakers from Women Seminars:
My girlfriends and fellow college scholars from my internship:
Some amazing administration and teachers at Mfandena Public School II:
My friends from the Peace Corps:
This amazing 19-year old girl managed an entire boutique by herself:
The journalist, Mme Jessie Ekukole and her wonderful friends:
My friend Vivianne, Mme Danielle’s daughter:
The Caretaker for my Grandfather, Mme Danielle: