Based on your reading (gender differences), reflect on how these women are treated in the novel. the following questions can help you as you write your reflective piece:
How are the women treated in the novel? Do all members in the community agree with the status quo? Why?
What contributions are made by the Igbo women to the survival of their culture?
What are the changes in the women's roles in this present world?
In Things Fall Apart, women were treated as possessions of males. They took care of the home, and were not invited to town meetings. Their responsibilities were to their husband and then to their children. They did the cleaning, cooking, and minor farming. The first wife would be in charge of the household, and would be able to direct the other wives as well be the only other person to wear the titles of her husband. For example, in the novel, Okonkwo severely beats his wife for a small problem, not being home during dinner. However, the only reason he gets in trouble is because it is the week of peace. In fact, it is often encouraged that men beat their women for punishment of “wrongdoings”, and the women have no recourse against it. From my point of view, I do think that the community is agreeing with the status quo because they know that they do not have the rights to speak or voice out their opinion at that time.
An example of contribution that is made by the Igbo women to the survival of their culture is the representation of the earth goddess, Ani. Ani is described as playing "a greater part in the life of the people than any other deity. She was the ultimate judge of morality and conduct. And what more, she was in close communion with the departed fathers of the clan whose bodies had been committed to earth". It seems logical that a society that views its female members as inferior beings would not represent their most powerful deity as being a woman. Ani's power is further illustrated through her role in the yam harvest. It is important that all the members of the clan observe the Week of Peace prior to the harvest in order, "to honor their great goddess of the earth without whose blessing their crops will not grow". For a female spirit to possess such an important role in the success of the yam crops is indicative of the actual deep-rooted power of women. When Okonkwo breaks the Peace of Ani, Ezeani proclaims, "The evil you have one can ruin the whole clan. The earth goddess whom you have insulted may refuse to give us her increase, and we shall all perish".
The women’s role in the present world has definitely changed a lot. Women starts to build their own careers and work in big company compared to the old days where women tend to stay at home to become a housewives and take care of their family members. They are also been granted with women’s rights in order to enable them to protect themselves and also has the power to voice out their own opinion.