Womanhood: A Philosophical Appraisal
Conceptual clarification is one of the tasks of philosophy. In this paper, clarification will be given on the word ‘womanhood'. Womanhood means the state of being a woman, as different from being a man or a girl. It is also a universal term used to refer to women in general. Some feminist writers who advocate gender neutrality have denied the reality of womanhood. The place of the woman, her power, her prospects and her problems are said to be socially prescribed. How true is this assertion? The reality of the individuality of the woman is a combination of some factors such as cultural, sociological, psychological, environmental and religious. Our common experience in Nigeria points to the fact that these factors have not been static. They are further conditioned by the facts of our national history, our exposure and the level of indoctrination we have imbibed or are prepared to accept and force on others and ourselves. The main issue raised in this paper is, what actually determines the reality of a woman? Is it her biological make-up, her sociological experience or her religious experience? The view postulated in this paper is that, a woman is first, an individual living in a society, whose character, traits, capabilities and abilities are not limited by her sex. Secondly, she is definitely the product of her environment to the extent she allows her environment to determine her abilities. She can affect her environment for good only when she knows that her God-given being is both unique and necessary to the making of her environment and herself.
SOPHIA: An African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 9 (1) 2006: pp. 68-73