Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Whats Wrong with Being Over Thirty, Female and Unmarried in Africa?

One of the luxuries I had been afforded of late, is that of having a routine. I wake up to steaming hot black coffee, hot news and as many sits ups and press ups as I can manage that morning before starting my day. But since CNN and all the other media outlets here are VERY locally focussed, I now tune into BBC World Service on the internet to catch up with the rest of the world.

In my student days in South Africa, I would tune into Network Africa or Focus on Africa while getting ready for the day. But after relocating, the hectic pace of life in London and the weak broadband in Lagos made it t impossible for me to continue this enriching ritual. Well, since I got to New Haven, CT, I have gone back to that routine and today listened to a programme I was once a studio guest on called ‘ Africa Have Your Say’.

The format of the programme is that a topic is chosen and the rest of Africa and its Diaspora share views by phone, text and e-mail. Fascinating stuff. The wide array of views and cultural/intellectual lenses through which we Africans see things are amazing. Anyway, so today’s topic was wait for it: Female, Over Thirty, Unmarried and Successful in Africa! I can feel the temperature rising already....

It was a fascinating discussion and the views shared by men and older women ranged from frightening, humorous, militant, liberal, traditional, rational to completely irrational! However, while there were divergent views in favour of the notion, the majority believed that being ‘ female, over thirty and unmarried’ is a social / religious anomaly, a curse, a taboo, a social ill which either indicated something was very wrong with the lady in question or that she was a wanton lady of the night with lascivious desires which made it impossible for her to settle down with one man. I lie not. There was more, this a short summary. You should have heard the rest! One older lady said something like ‘women like that are not respectable in their communities and are like prostitutes’, while one chap sent a text from Eastern Nigeria saying ( I paraphrase again ) that ‘it was like a curse from hell’. Haba!

So, as you can imagine, I was quite perturbed when I heard all this. I thought really? People think like this? I have heard the ‘biological clock ‘ argument before, but had never really thought of the, sometimes vicious social stigma and ego-denting overt and covert insults that ladies who live this lifestyle are subjected to! However, the young ladies on the programme did not take it lying down and fought back.

Some of the ladies spoke for themselves ( not all single though) and for the sisters. Amongst them was our own Nigerian Modupe Ozolua who made the point, amongst other salient points, that if she had not walked out of a failing marriage, her business would not have been so successful and she is proud to be the mummy and daddy of her own home.

Another very eloquent speaker and writer Shola Dada also spoke about the traditional roles that have been carved by history for Nigerian women and how today’s women are struggling to crawl out of this social pigeon-hole to achieve their dreams and optimally utilise their skills. Her article “ Wanted in Nigeria: Super Women” is an engaging read.

A very cerebral lady a gender researcher from a South African university took the argument to the guys in quite an eloquent academic debating style. Interestingly, she also said that when she was bagging degrees, very few in her family celebrated with her, but when she got married all the family came to rejoice with her, ‘as if all else she had achieved was worthless.’ It was a stimulating debate and a pity that BCC does not archive this programme for later public access or else you could have heard it your selves (I will write to them and politely request that they make such available or this forum).

The truth folks, is that something is happening in our generation that we are not talking about. Roles and expectations are changing in so as far as male-female power, social, economic and emotional relations are concerned, both at home and in the workplace. For we ,the MTV/CNN/INTERNET generation, dynamics of the age-old gender wars are changing and while many of us want to pretend/believe/insist that things should be as they have always been, deep within we know that’s not the case and may never be again – at least in the modern/urban world.

Too much has changed in our societies, economies and the world in general, and if we don’t adapt to these changes, something somewhere will have to give: our hearts, our minds, our wallets ( or all three) or the institution of marriage/ family as we knew it! But is that necessary? Can’t we negotiate, compromise and find a balance somewhere?

So here’s the question: Whats Wrong with Being Over Thirty, Female and Unmarried in Africa? Whose Business Is It Any Way?There are more women over thirty today who choose to stay single and see no reason why there should even be a whimper about it. It’s their life, their choice! It does not mean there is something wrong with them, ....may be its the opposite, who is to say?

Divorce rates are sky-rocketing and as a victim of same myself, I know only too well the excruciating silent sorrow and emotional prison of being in an unhappy/unfulfilling marriage – something many live in but can never admit because of the social stigma. So why can’t a thirty-something year old woman take her time to be sure of Mr Right? Does it have to be because she is Ms Wrong? What do you think? Is there something ‘wrong’ with being female, unmarried and ( God-help her) successful while over age thirty?

Why are African societies so judgemental on this issue? Should we adapt to the changing dynamics and evolving roles and power relations between men and women? Are we men being unfair or are the women trying to have their cakes and eat it ( like we guys have being for centuries)?

Should women just chill out and strike a balance between family life and career? Should guys just calm down and be ready to wear the apron instead of the pants in ‘the house’? Are we witnessing the extinction of the Alpha Male and the rise of the Alpha Female?

Ladies, what do you think and what do you think the guys need to know? Guys, what do you think and what do you think the ladies need to know? Folks , can we talk?

Connecticut, September 08


Naapali said...

Interesting debate and thanks for sharing the contents of the Beeb's broadcast.

I applaud all the women over thirty who are working and living their lives on their own terms rather than walk the path laid out for them by others. My sister did not get married until her early thirties and know that my parents (forward thinking as they might be relative to their peers) celebrated that with greater fanfare than her being called to the bar.

Truth though is men also face similar though more subtle pressures, albeit probably delayed for longer. My friend, successful doctor in his early forties, never married, faces intense pressure from his parents and friends about his single status. To the extent he had nearly consented to unions that would have been disastrous for him.

As society and lifestyles change, the institutions that supported previous generations will face pressure and many will have to change or be subject to irrelevance, paid attention to only for public purposes but privately lacking in meaning.

Onyeka said...

Very true, all very true. Let me just say though that the harassment is not limited to Africa. From all the feminine blogs I've read online from around the world (and believe me,I've read many), it's a reality women all over the world have to deal with.

Even though, here, I must admit that the stigma is worse. Where in a Western society, people might just feel sorry for you, or relatives might nag you constantly, in Africa, it's more like a sin to be single and be thirty.

People will make all sorts of assumptions about you being loose, being too picky to get a man while you were young, selfish, cursed, dried up, a disgrace/embarassment etc.

A woman's immense accomplishments here are only noted as long as she has a Mrs attached to her name, before then, however, she's too career-minded.

We live in a very family-oriented and deeply cultural society where a good home is the BEST thing a woman can do.

Frankly I feel there's nothing wrong with it. For those who choose not to marry at all, more power to them! If more women devleop the strength to rise above the stigma, a lot more will not only find that they wont become victims of rushed marriages, but high achievers as well. They'll also be a source of encouragement for others. But it's hard, and sometimes I don't blame them for caving in.

I'm very young, but even as I don't have a boyfriend, certain friends like to make it their task to get me hooked up. I don't know how to explain it. People here EXPECT you to want to be with someone, so if you're not, somthing must be wrong, and I don't know when we'll move past this...

(Whew, that was long)

Free-flowing Florida said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Free-flowing Florida said...

onyeka is right, it isn't limited 2 africans alone. though it's quite sad.

living n abuja, i know quite a handful of women n their early * late thirties who r still single, but unlike d image painted not one of dem i've met is 'happy' 2 b single @ dat age! i personally know i'd wouldn't be - my mom would have even me so much hell dat any chance of happiness i'd have had would b gone 4ever.

den also, d men treat u differently @ dat age. they all imagine u r out 2 con dem into marrying u. or u r desperate. like u r less attractive, cos u r older. it's not easy. den also, there is a suspicions dat if u r rich & single n ur 30s, dat u slept ur way up. it's really bad.

den, there's a sadness of seeing younger girls who probably don't know their left 4rm their right marrying d same men who tot u & dem could have something going there. it's as if, did he chose her over me simply cos d age? it's tough, really.

actually, pple have more sympathy 4 a divorced woman dan a woman n her 30s who's never been married.

i don't think i'd b a less desirable if i had waited till my 30s 2 marry, but am sort of relieved i won't have 2 do dat.

Ms Sula said...

Ah! The burden of the over thirty, successful African female.

This issue is so complex because it goes deep into what we, as a societe, have decided to uphold as valuable. It asks us to reconsider what we have been hailing as bonafide truth for generations. Change is hard. For everybody.

As a 29-yr old unmarried African woman, I can only smirk and smile at the many explanations given to my apparent fatal "status". My saving grace is that my family is "relatively" liberal (my mom got married at 28 in the 70s) and my inherent carefree attitude.

I am willing to bet a lot of money on the fact that the supposedely "unhappy" women over 30would be less so, if they were brought up and raised in environments that appreciated them for who they are and not for who they can attach themselves to or how many kids they could procreate.

I am an advocate of people living the lives they WANT to live to the fullest. Love is great in all its formats. Before 30, after and beyond. The important part is where we get it from. If one lives a fulfiling life, one (even a woman over 30... gasp!) will be happy. Point blank.

It's up to us women to help our daughters, sisters, friends be whoever they could be to the fullest. Even if that means being a successfull, beautiful, powerful woman over 30.

Miss Definitely Maybe said...

Interstingly enough nobody says anything about single and successful men over 30yrs. Personally i think the whole marriage ideology needs a shake up.
There should be more emphasis on the qualities of men we should be looking for rather than the age at which one should supposedly be married off. Perhaps that way more marriages would last longer or be happier than they actually are. I think its better married at 35 and stay married till you die than marry at 22 and divorced at 27. Most women would actually be happy being 30 and single were it not for society and the way we treat such women, this is what puts a lot of pressure on women to marry young instead of having an intrinsic (sp) desire within themselves to settle down. I guess each should be left to his own, if you want to get married at 17 its within your rights so as getting married at 57. Im lucky that I do not have such pressures as my family are so open minded and are of the adage 'anyone even a fool can successfully get married but few can successfully get a career blah blah blah......and no im not 30 lol

Waffarian said...

In my opinion, when your identity as a woman is so strongly determined by the roles of "wife" and "mother" then it becomes inconceivable for you to be anything else.

I am 30 and have watched many friends get into "questionable" unions in the past five years. What is the difference between the way I think and the way they think?

After many conversations, I realised that the difference lies in the fact that I believe that there are many ways of being a woman. You can still be a woman without having the role of wife and mother.

Sadly, not many women think that or believe that. As a woman, their identity is so strongly determined by their ability to find a husband or to be able to bear children. They do not know any other way of being women in the African society.

Waffarian said...

Oh yeah, I forgot, the last question, what do I think guys need to know?

Hmmmmmmmm, well, if you are not gonna fix the roof, windows, paint, repair the washing machine, dishwasher, the car, etc, if you are not gonna automatically become a plumber, mechanic and electrician overnight, then why on earth would you think I can become a seamstress, gourmet chef and nurse?

It is as impossible for you as it is for me.

good naija girl said...

These are interesting questions and to me (29, Nigerian female) it seems almost rhetorical. Of course it's ok to be over 30, unmarried, successful and a woman—how could it not be?—but we know that not everyone would agree.

I've been lucky to have been left relatively alone when it comes this matter by my parents, and my extended family is far enough away that they cannot really get to me. What I find harder is learning how to deal with not having those things that you thought you'd have with respect to marriage or children by a certain age (say, 30). We can't completely discount the biological clock and the fact that after a certain age, the quantity and quality of a woman's eggs decrease, and the process of becoming pregnant can be more difficult or lead to more complications. This unfortunately tends to add a sense of urgency to the heart of someone like me who knows they want a husband and a family to go along with her career.

I'm one of those people who believes that a woman can have it all, though probably not at the same time if they want to give each part of their life—family, career, personal interests—a fair and equal role in their life.

I always thought that everyone wants to find the right person for them and get married, but now I'm seeing that some people have either tried the marriage thing and didn't enjoy it or just know that they are better off single. When it comes down to it, each person should feel empowered to make their own decision without having to deal with the censure, disapproval, or worse, of family and/or friends.

We can hope, anyway.

Free-flowing Florida said...

it's difficult 2 compare a man n his thirties & a woman n her thirties. daz like comparing mango & orange. where i come 4rm, men marry n their 30s. daz d 'acceptable' age 4 dem, while d 'acceptable' age 4 d woman is in her mid 20s. a man n his 30s more or less has his life ahead of him. he can pick any woman of any age group, from late teens 2 even early 40s. his options r wide, much wider dan a woman n her 30s, unless she doesn't mind dating younger men. so wot happens, dis beautiful, successful woman n her 30s is left 2 compete 4 d same man with younger woman. & guess wot, her success is a disadvantage. d man probably doesn't want a woman who is already 'set n her ways'.

d bottom line is dat it's unfair wot a perfectly desirable, talented, wonderful woman n her 30s has 2 face just because of her age! i've been watching some program n Mnet Series 'Age of Love' & newsflash: it's not just n Africa dat a woman is discriminated cos of her age.

maybe n time, wen d society evolves 2 such an extent dat age doesn't really matter, den great. but as it is now, all women have 2 deal with dat age thing. one way or d other. particularly if she wants a family. but if she doesn't want a family, all good & dandy. let people say all dat want, 'na dem get dem mouth'

Waffarian said...

@good naija girl: Definitely, there is a sense of urgency for those that want to have a family. No matter how society evolves, the woman's body is still not evolved to the point where we can choose exactly "when" we would like to have children. So, yes, for those that want a family, it is an urgent matter and they should indeed work towards their goals.

So, I think this debate should be about those that do not wish to get married or have children. That is what we should focus on. Is the African society accepting of such an alternative lifestyle? The answer still, is no. Now, even if a woman clearly states that she does not have the ability to be a good wife and mother, will our society be accepting of that fact?
Of course not! How can you be a woman without those two titles? As I have previously mentioned, we do not know how to be women without those two roles.

It does not matter if we choose or do not choose, as a woman, that is what society has decided our identity is limited to.

UndaCovaSista said...

I am a single woman well into her thirties, so i guess this applies to me.

To be completely honest, on my hierarchy of values right now, there are other things that take precedence over marriage, and yes, they are career related (take me out and shoot me!). This is not due to some kind of frustration at not being able to 'find a man', as even as a teenager i used to say i wouldnt get married before 30,and i'm sure there are lots of others like me!

You mention in the post that:

"the majority believed that being ‘ female, over thirty and unmarried’ is a social / religious anomaly, a curse, a taboo, a social ill which either indicated something was very wrong with the lady in question or that she was a wanton lady of the night with lascivious desires which made it impossible for her to settle down with one man"

It gave me pause to see it articulated that people actually might consider me to be an anomaly, curse or taboo - all VERY strong words! But on further thought i began to question the real motives of the friends and family that constantly badger me with questions about when i'm going to marry. Or the pitying looks i get when yet another younger cousin gets married or has a child, and i realise that in relation to the attitudes of people, the words ANOMALY, CURSE AND TABOO really do not seem far off the mark.

That worries me and gives rise to other questions. What if i choose not to get married? Will i forever be considered an outcast within my community? In the west, the word SPINSTER and all its negative connotations (sad, lonely, lots of cats etc) has been challenged in recent times, with women asserting their right to live their lives the way they please. Will the same happen in African societies? Sadly, maybe in another generation...and that's me being optimistic

For the love of me said...

I think this institue called marriage will soon come crashing down with a loud bang.

Seriously though it will be a matter of choice, some women will chill and strike a match between career and family,and some other women won't. Agreed, there are several women who think(whether on their own or have been forced to do so)that there's something wrong with them cos they are single, but there are the ones who dodn't and are loving their lives as fierce independents. It will take a while, but eventually society will come to terms with those ones and learn to live and let them live.

Guys should know that not every single woman over 30 woman out there is looking for a hubby. Some chics may just want a good lay as guys often do and are happy to let you walk whenever you are ready.

Rita said...

Found this place through Undacovasista...

I'm glad to see that you think differently. To the question, "Whats Wrong with Being Over Thirty, Female and Unmarried in Africa?" My answer is there is nothing wrong. Society does put pressure on women concerning marriage and the likes, but i think life is not all about marriage. Surely, there will be times a woman might look back and feel the loneliness, but it is better she is alone than in a marriage that leaves her drained and unfulfilled.

Lolita said...

You actually don't have to physically be in Africa to feel the weight and or stigma of being 30+ and not married.

I'm in an area of the US heavily populated with Africans and it's pretty much the same mindset. To the point where people don't think I'm 30+ because I have no husband or 1.5 kids in tow and my <30 friends are seemingly given more respect because of their "madam" status.

Oh and try adding Christianity in the mix. "Life partner" prayers seem to be the one and only prayer point folks have for me. As if the summation of my life depends on having a husband.

The Alpha female has always been there...the Alpha male just didn't realize it.

Without taking anything from my dad, my mom was the go to person. She said the Yes and the No and it was her way and no other. Pretty much my parents' values are the same and in saying that I think they were more forward thinking than most. My mom from the time I've known her has always worked and with the aid of nannies, house helps and boarding school was able to strike the balance!

Maybe no one person has to permanently wear the pants or the apron, but a reversal of roles whenever and whereever appropriate solidifying the "partnership".
A lot of single parent household are doing just fine.

What scares me is a lot of intelligent bright people still have ideas like 'a woman's place is in the kitchen' or the man is the bread winner. What to me are funny archaic and dusty ideas. Men intimidated a woman can hold her own and is not needy and helpless. I could go on and on.

It is so ridiculous. This idea that a 30+ happily single woman is an expired product. The world needs to brace itself because we are not going away!!!!!! There is nothing wrong with us.

That said there is nothing wrong in wanting to get married at whatever age. I'm of the opinion that is you're not fufilled as a single person you cannot be an asset as a married one.
Ok I'm done for now.... I think.

Saymama said...

@Miss Definitely Maybe - wait til you turn 30 and over and see if you parents are still liberal and understanding (are you Nigerian?). I thought and swore and preached the same about my parents being liberal and open-minded and 'pro-choice' as opposed to pro-age...and boy did that go down the drain the day I turned 30 and progressively worse since as I got older! After all, my mother got married at 28 in the 70s, so 'kini big deal' or so I thought. Good luck mi dear!!

Kemikal Reactions said...

@TP: In response to your extremly insightful post, permit me to reproduce here an excerpt of an article I wrote on my own blog earlier this year. I think it sums up my thoughts on the question you have raised, ie "what's wrong with beeing over 30, female and unmarried in Africa?" To wit:

"[This] made me think of a hierarchical model I came up with a couple of years ago, not long after I moved back to Nigeria. I observed that in Nigeria women are ranked on the basis of their marital and/or motherhood status. At the top of the food chain is the married woman who has at least one child, preferably a boy. Right below her is the married woman who has no children - yet. Next is the widow with a child or children, again at least one of them better be a boy! After that is the divorcee with a child/children. Then the woman who never married but has a child/children. Then you have the single woman between the ages of 22 and 27. Then the single woman between the ages of 27 and 30. Then, you have garbage, rocks, dirt, poto-poto (i.e. mud) and if you dig underneath all that, you will find the woman who is over 30 but has no husband or children!!!!! LOLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!

OK, I'm laughing but this hierarchical model is a fact o, not a myth. Whether people will admit to it or not doesn't matter - the ranking system exists. So you can imagine why some Nigerian women would do anything, and I mean anything, to claw their way to the next level. Sometimes, people around you will overtly encourage you to do "unspeakable" things to change your status. An older, female friend of mine (who is married, by the way) once told me to consider finding a man, married or otherwise, to get me pregnant so I could at least have a child since it appeared that marriage wasn't immediately forthcoming for me. I wasn't even 30 when she told me this o!!!! Needless to say, I was horrified!! But I was also deeply saddened because it was the first real indication I had that as a Nigerian woman, I apparently have no value apart from a husband and/or a child. This was an eye-opening revelation for me...
Suffice it to say, as a woman it ain't easy being over 30 & single in Nigeria."

Drama said...

Like waffarian I am 30,single and have a career.In the last 3years, I have seen some of my friends go into questionable unions that 4years ago we would have called the pple that did that desperate.
I just left the U.K for Nigeria because I could get a job that match my qualifications and all I get from family and friends(not my parents) is 'hope I am getting married soon'. I left my bf in jand and many pple cant understand why I came back to pursue a career,instead of staying like many other girls do. I might be selfish but I have dreams and goals. I want to more than a MRS somebody,my bf doesnt understand that. However,I need a man that will understand that to be complete I also need my career so till I meet him I will remain single,if my father could accept this from my mother in the 70's then I am sure I can find a man that will accept me.
The crucifix of the matter is that African's dont respect women, women are seen as properties and it is only when a woman is married is she allowed some kind of respect,which is why many people get married.... but underneath it all, we are admired for being young independent women,many married women wish that they could be single and are only in marriages cos of their children. and NO,I am not a feminist!!!!!

Waffarian said...

@kemikal reactions:

"I apparently have no value apart from a husband and/or a child"

Hear! Hear!! Thank you my sister, you put it so much better than I did.


"The crucifix of the matter is that African's dont respect women, women are seen as properties and it is only when a woman is married is she allowed some kind of respect"

Thanks for that insight! That is true, like kemikal reactions pointed out, seems we gain"respect" points as we claw our way through the rankings...we are not respected just as we are.

Standtall said...

This is interesting. I do believe that if the world places both women and men on the same pedestral, things will be easy. We will being to see each other as equal partners in marriage and everything else and this will reduce a lot of power tussle and so o that goes on in marriage.

Pple need to know that marriage is by choice and this is so lackign in Africa as they will want it imposed on you. If u r unmarried at 30s something must be wrong with you. U either have committed so many abortion or you r too proud to submit to a man amnongs many other reasons.

I do appreciate the work of a lot of NGOs that empower girls and make them have the understanding that marriage does not make you a complete person. You have to be a complete person b4 you can be married... I can go on and on

naijalines said...

Standtall said:

"marriage does not make you a complete person. You have to be a complete person b4 you can be married..."

Every single woman intending to get married should heed this warning as it is real wisdom indeed.

I would echo the sentiments of many who have commented here. As someone who was well into her 30s before marriage, I know only too well the pressures faced by African women over 30.

Being made to feel like you are nothing irrespective of your achievements as an individual (if you do not have a man) is something that can be psychologically damaging if you are not strong enough to have the courage of your own convictions.

Funny enough I was no longer interested in getting married when I met my partner. I knew too much about relationships, marriage and the hard work involved. It took a lot of convincing to get me on board but that's not to say I did not feel the pain of being treated like an outcast by my peers and others who saw me as different or odd. I was fairly happy and settled in my single life. It had become comfortable like an old blanket cos I dreaded being in a bad marriage. To me the concept of freewill is very important - the freewill in love, the freedom to be who we are or who we choose to be. No one should be forced into getting married if they do not wish to be.

Easier said than done for many but I still say in all things know thyself. I'm glad I married late cos if I'd done it earlier I would probably have wanted out after a year!

I guess the reason why marriage still works for me is that I was a complete person before I got married. I did not get married to be complete or to be happy. My advice to any woman over 30 out there is take your time and do you until you are really sure.

NaijaBabe said...

Knowing us Africans, we are true to our culture and as the hundreds of years have gone by, we have stuck by it. Even now where the world is evolving, our ways are'nt, and I think this where the problem lies. We play the biological clock card, or the religion card and continue to ostracize those who are of marriage age but are nowhere near it.

I understand the biological clock quite alright and the health implications that it brings, and as a muslim I know that it isnt acceptable for a woman to go unmarried but it still doesnt call for the social stigma that is attached to this issue and the women involved.

We should learn to stop this narrow way of thinking and let the women do what they want, when they want it.

Onyeka said...


you said....that we should stop this narrow way of thinking... but you also say that as a Muslim you know its not acceptable for a woman to stay unmarried... aren't you contradicting yourself a bit? what makes it so unacceptable? Or are you referring to the opinion of the Muslim faith, not ur own?

just wondering.

Tigeress said...

Loving ur blog TP. As a single female the pressures are more than what single men face. The fears are more, the prejudices are more and it's considered more of a stigma for us. And that's truth of it! Its even worse when u r considered successful or independent. I've once had a woman sit me down and ask why i bought a property while being single.

Society expects singles (men and women) to be married by a certain age. It is conceived as a ‘stigma’ to be single in your late twenties and upwards. Only a single that has had to wait past the ‘right age’ truly knows and understands the ‘stigma’ the society places on singles.

Anonymous said...

It is great to follow the debate here. The other question shoudl be whats wrong with women in their early 30s divorced with children? The gave in to the pressure and now they are raising their children alone, soon with step parents, step grandparents, are we going to deal with the consequences early marriages resulting in early divorces?

Marriage can be great with the right partner, in itself it shouldn't be a goal.

Let's talk about the biological clock here, Africa doesn't need more children, we have more children than parents. So to all of you single successful, savy and sexy women out there, if you want to become mothers, do consider adoption, biology has nothing to do with parenting. Marriage does not make you a good parent.

This can go on and on, but really those of you who truly believe being married is a destination, good luck.

Anonymous said...

I am a legal practitioner with a top Nigerian law office, write a column in a leading newspaper, have a number of articles published, won a number of awards in various competitions while at the university (just finished the NYSC year) and I worry about inviting a male friend over because my mom will SURELY ask 'the question'- Has he proposed?


-I'm 25.

Anonymous said...

I'm (african)female and 23. Just bagged myself an engineering degree and happily single. But I'm being hassled already about "being serious with someone". No-one has ever asked me a very relevant question: Do you ever plan to get married? (For those of you that are wondering, the answer for me would be if it comes before 30 and I'm ready, yes I will but If it doesn't, I don't think I will be having sleepless nights over it)Its funny how in our society, everyone just assumes getting married should be number 1 priority in a young woman's life. Whats wrong with being single at 30? What if its by choice? What if the lady is in a long term relationship but doesnt want to sign the dotted lines? Or what if she's still waiting for the right person?
I sometimes wish we africans change the way we think and stop the ignorance.

Temmy said...

Women are generally discriminated against not just because they are over 30 and unmarried,ask the ones that are married whether despite all the respect you see from the outside go deep.Why is it that when an accomplished lady and even married get to the top of her careeer,men still thinks she slept her way to get to the top and the man who suppose to proctect her still see her as a threat just bcos she is doing well and not contented being his wife and mother to his kids.Dont allow anybody to push you into marriage,do it bcos you want to and not bcos you are advance in age.

Naomi Moira Iwugo said...

just a thought...if living Oprah's life is a curse can someone please pass on the voodoo doctors number? :)

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Anonymous said...

It seems this blog is really ful of good surprises
I think one of the issue that post fails to see is the fact that most of the times women don't have a choice.It's true that some of them willingly stay unmarried but to my mind that's not how it always happens. Look at many of the most powerful women in the world : Justice Sotomayor, C. Rice, Michele Bachelet. Are they married? no! Now look at the men in similar positions and you'll find that almost all of them are married. The truth is that for a man it's always easier to have a succesful career, while at the same time having a nice little family, because they'll always find a nice lady ready to stay home to cater for their kids. Women, on the contrary, often dont have a choice, it's either a fulfilling carrer or a fulfilling family life.
I'm also surprised by seeing how some men reacted to this post by saying how much they appreciated women that aren't looking for serious relationships: I think the myth of the emancipated woman has been invented by men so that they can treat us bad, cheat on us, and so on and so forth, without feeling guilty about it (given that in the 21st century we women are supposed to have reached our sexual freedom)
So all this is very good, but I,as as a woman will believe that you guys are ready to let us have a fulfilling career when you decide to stay home and take care of the kids,while we women are busy conquering the world.

Anonymous said...

I live a life so fierce
I live a life so bright
I live a life so free
Yet none can be so free so fierce
As when I have a mate

How ironic the thoughts, the words
How ironic the deeds, the actions
Of all who proclaim a life they've claimed
Yet none can be so claimed, can feel as true no words
As when I have a mate

Is this the rhythm of life?
Is this another smear of reality’s oil?
Is this woman's faith, one man made?
Yet none can prove this one manmade, for it feels so true this rhythm of life
As when I have a mate

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Anonymous said...

Well being and single a lady from Zimbabwe I laugh at these comments. The stigma I feel from my own mother who is also feeling the stigma of being a mother of two unmarried daughters (God Forbid one of them is over thirty is immense). The funny thing is I also feel it from my very educated younger sister who is in a stable relationship that looks like it will lead to marriage. The advise I have for all who are in my shoes is this. If marriage doesnot come your way even though at one point its all you lived for you have to learn to be creative with how you are going to fulfill your life and also develop a thick skin to rise above the Stigma. Otherwise you are a gonna.