Patriarchy is a system in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and its posterity is reckoned through the male line hence, the system promotes male superiority. The attitude built around patriarchy ranks men above women, wherefore it gives men unquestioned authority. It is an obsession with control as a core value around which social life is organized⁣
The two core characteristics of classic patriarchy : (1) the dominance of patrilineality and (2) a strict and traditional division of labor. With regard to the first, the typical household is characterized by patrilocality, resulting in making senior men or husbands be the controlling power in such family and the status of the family is largely determined through the male line, women tend to live in their husband’s households, sons are picked over daughters, and women are generally subordinated and subjected to male household members.⁣
Men, however, do not suffer because femaleness is a devalued and oppressed phenomenon (Johnson and Leone 2005). Women are subjected because of the thriving culture that makes women totally dependent on men for their means of livelihood. Women are also controlled in every aspect of life, for example, in the reproduction process, a number of children to bear, the sexes they want, and the type of work women should do. According to Bofu-Tawamba (2015), women’s position is still far from satisfactory. Their lower status in both industrialized and developing countries is rooted in economic inequalities and discrimination with regard to access to power⁣
patriarchy manifests itself in the way it controls and orders female sexuality and fertility. In most instances, men control women in private and force them to do things which ordinarily they would not do( health and strength are not considered in patriarchy as they must fulfill the wish of the husband). Refusals result in violence and rape in the family. Female fertility is controlled by men in that women are expected to bear many children to satisfy men even though they’re not in their best state. Women do not have rights and their health is not considered at all.⁣
In the public domain, this translates to men being considered more suitable for positions of power. The second characteristic is a traditional division of labor; in other words, this means a division of labor operates along with the male breadwinner/female homemaker model (Kandiyoti 1988; Moghadam 1998; Miles 2002; Willy Jansen 2004). Adult men in the household are responsible for providing an income, while women’s primary role is raising the children, caring for other household members, and housework. These tasks are mainly performed within the walls of the household, where women can maintain “their respectable and protected domestic roles,” thus reserving the public domain for men (Kandiyoti 1988: 280).⁣

The role of patriarchy in the family⁣
Theme 1: Decision-making Process on the Size of the Family⁣
Research has shown and proved that the size of the family is speculated by the husband specifically on the number of children they give birth to. The results are supported by what Johnson and Leone (2005) found that due to patriarchy, women are controlled in every aspect of life like the reproductive process, a number of children as well as the type of work that they should do. Ac￾cording to Sonfield et al. (2013) education makes women socially and economically independent and makes them command respect both at the workplace and in the family. Education informs women on decision-making matters. That is why it’s so important to educated girls and women. Education empowers women to live a life void of oppression⁣.

Theme 2: Cultural Beliefs on Marital Issues⁣
Concerning the issue of marriage, elders from the family select the family where their daughters should marry because they knew the family background and their lifestyle. The elders will send lobola (bride price) and marry for their young man. In such a context, they will then arrange a marriage for the girl child without her consent while she is very young because they won’t be able to repay the loan. According to Venda culture, the practice is known as “Ufara tshikunwe” which means a girl will be married while still one or two years old and this is done without her consent. This cultural practice is likely to continue as long as the girl child is not empowered through education. Only education makes family and children understand that patriarchy and early child marriage should be abolished. Once a family is educated, all these barbaric practices would be reduced⁣

Theme 3: Communication between Husband and Wife⁣
Men communicate decisions taken on behalf of the family( with or without the approval of the wife). According to some women during research, men say communication is their responsibility because according to tradition women must not voice their feelings or concerns. Men take women as part of their property as they pay lobola to the in-laws; as rebellion could lead to the return of the lobola ( bride price). Culture needs to change with time. Because of enlightenment brought about by access to education for the girl children, major issues are likely to be raised to challenge these cultural practices. An obvious explanation for this scenario is that education empowers women to voice their concerns. An educated woman has the right and courage to refuse any unreasonable decision made by her husband. Some of the women mentioned that it is very difficult in the family where sisters-in-law have power.⁣

Theme 4: Beliefs of Men Regarding Contraceptives⁣
Most of the respondents said that men do not accept the use of contraceptives because they would like to select the method of prevention which suits them. Men practice the withdrawal method, which is, referred to in Tshivenda as “u tambela nnda”. This is the withdrawal of the penis just before ejaculation of semen in the vagina. Some of the respondents said that men prevent pregnancies by separating from their wives for many years without coming home. These are migrant laborers seeking jobs in the cities, like Johannesburg, in order to work for their families. ( Olusegun Samson. University of Venda)⁣
References – Role of patriarchy in the family settings and its influence on girls and women in South Africa⁣

Olusanya dayspring


Leave a Comment