A Women Worth Fighting For

Elizabeth received her MA from AIU/NEGST and then went to California and earned her PhD in counseling from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena. Her topic was conflict resolution. Elizabeth is a Nigerian, married to Samuel, a Kenyan and they met in college in Canada. They have three grown daughters. Two are in medicine and one in pre-law. Elizabeth is the model of a modern African woman. A self-proclaimed “rebel”, she often found herself going against the grain in order to speak about women’s issues.

Elizabeth has done extensive research on the legal and cultural aspects affecting the role of women in marriage in Kenya. Her research took her to the rural areas, small towns and larger urban centres. Her findings showed that consistently the laws and the culture do not favour women. Both in government and in the church women are often regarded as possessions of equal value with the children.

Since the payment of dowry is still practiced, a woman is seen as a man’s purchase. She can be beaten by her husband and disinherited from the family if her husband dies, with no recourse. Even her children belong to her husband’s family.

“A dignified maid with no salary,” is what Elizabeth calls some married women. She encourages women to be sure of their legal rights and expect their husbands to make wills and documents that defend her in the case of his death. “Women need so see their own value and love who they were created to be. Then she will find inner strength and joy and the inner resources to reach out and love others.”

Elizabeth is presently teaching counseling at Africa International University (AIU) and sees great hope for the future as she encourages young men and women to learn to live wisely. She tells them, “Step out and do great things, make big changes, but be sure you learn the fundamentals first.” When she thinks about her students she says, “This next generation is Africa’s generation. Their time has come.”

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