Unfortunately colonialism adversely affected this economic independence and social prestige that rural women could enjoy, hope for or even benefit from. First and far most, the forcible appropriation of agricultural land by the European population resulted in major sociopolitical changes in the communities that had for centuries depended on these lands for sustenance and economic survival.
Denied rights of ownership against land under the new colonial legislations, women no longer could command the influence in their societies that they had once enjoyed. While women still continued working as farm labor as free women or slaves, either on European farms or farms owned by members of their family, they no longer could command any authority against the land or its produce. Furthermore, the exploitative nature of the African slave trade created a gender imbalance, adversely affecting the domestic and social life of these communities as well as forcing women to work twice as hard in the field while meeting their domestic obligations at the same time. Lastly, the advent of cash crops in a society that was increasingly acquiring patriarchal undertones simply meant that all cash proceeds from the season’s harvest were being controlled by the male members of the community making women increasingly dependent upon them. (Carney, 1988).
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