The overriding image one has of our continent and beloved Africa, is of women burying their children, of women fleeing tyranny and of women carrying their children and their few household valuables. It is of women tending the fields, caring for the sick, and running household and rural economies.
This image of strong women in times of terrible sadness is often coupled with images of women finding solutions when their families have no food, of women sharing when they do not have to, of women building peace while men make war.
And even in the division of labour in Ganvie, where men fish, children school and women take fish to the market and ensure households are catered for, it is the women who seem to shoulder the greatest burden on local economies. They have to paddle some 8 kilometres up and down the channel to take fish to the market and they have created local markets within Ganvie to buy and sell goods and services.
In short, they remain the backbone of our societies and economies.