A woman’s place is not entirely in the kitchen

The responsibility of cooking shouldn't land on the shoulders of the woman while she is busy equally working to empower herself and financially support the family, Pulse Ghana writer Portia Arthur argues.

African woman in a hut

Opinion: It is an honour to be born a woman; and I am proud of the virtuous and industrious woman I have become. Just as I know my rights, I clearly understand and know the roles and responsibilities of being a woman.

So, for Nigeria's president Muhammadu Buhari, to say to the press - right next to German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, one of the world's most powerful women that his wife "belongs to my kitchen" I was offended.

Aisha Buhari has every right to speak against her husband and his work in leading her country. Her intellect should not be dismissed, nor should she be 'put in her place'.

The world has evolved and development has stretched towards  Africa and my beloved country, Ghana, has benefited immensely.

In Ghana, those days where children joyfully and enthusiastically sat around bornfires to hear Anansesem and other folktales as foretold by our grandfathers has gradually faded in most parts of the country.

We have shifted from playing oware, ampe, ludo and other games to online games; playing with unknown people all over the world.

Some Ghanaians children have never tasted local delicacies such as ‘fufu’, ampesi, fante fante peculiar to the various ethnic groups in Ghana. They usually have foreign dishes at their beck and call.

After gaining independence, most of the lifestyle choices of Ghanaians and other indigenes of Africa has shifted to the Western cultures.

Men and women, whether working class or entrepreneurs are working assiduously to make ends meet for their family.

Notwithstanding, some men still believe we, the women, belong to the kitchen. For centuries, men have been the mouthpiece for us, stealing our ideas as we chat in the bedroom and 'other rooms' and publicly taking credit for it. No wonder 'behind every successful man is a woman', as the saying goes.

So for Buhari to speak of his wife like that was out of line.

The era where a woman’s place is in the kitchen is over! In this 21st century, just as a woman has the responsibility to cook for the family, a man can also cook for the family. The kitchen, one of the essential parts of our home where cooking as an activity is executed belongs to every member of the family.

Cooking shouldn't be wrapped around the neck of the woman while she is equally working to empower herself and financially support the family.

Women are gradually rubbing shoulders with men in music, politics, movies, education and other disciplines.

Should a woman always be bound to the kitchen while a man goes to work, purse weekend courses to upgrade himself?

I believe what a man can do, a woman can try and attain the same and even at a higher level or slightly lower. Simply because men and women have different strengths and weaknesses.

However, a man can cook tasty and healthy meals as a woman can. Men shouldn't detach themselves from kitchen duties and glue women to those responsibilities as if that is the only place women’s intellectual guts work better.

The role of some educated women and some entrepreneurs towards ensuring the nation’s development can’t be understated. They are serving as mentors and life coaches for other women and some men to empower themselves. Some women are also maintaining healthy relationships with their family and friends while fusing work and home duties.

They have been successful because their families understood the need for them to empower themselves not spend all her lifetime getting acquainted to the kitchen.

The kitchen may be one of our favourite places in the house simply because the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach - and women like to eat too!

Nonetheless, we also love spending time to study, sit behind our laptops for useful purposes, and work hard to achieve other relevant life goals. Just like men.

The kitchen is not entirely where a woman belongs.


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