2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

"In Their Beds and In Their Kitchens": Gender Roles in Ama Ata Aidoo's Changes: A Love Story
Emily A. Ward
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

In her novel Changes (1991), Ama Ata Aidoo explores the conflict the Ghanaian woman is forced to confront in juggling her career and home in a culture that encourages her education and economic independence yet insists that she prioritize her role as wife and mother. Critics are quick to connect these expectations to the colonial legacy. My travel writing cum literary memoir compares the cultural notions of womanhood as expressed in Aidoo's text to my personal observations of gendered expectations in Ghana during my Study Abroad Experience. I argue and illustrate that it is the combination of colonial influences, traditional Ghanaian gender role norms, and the perpetuation by Ghanaian women themselves that allows these attitudes to persist. Further, my analysis of Esis entrapment despite her defiance of cultural norms in Changes reflects and finds parallels in my interviews with Ghanaian women who, too, find themselves trapped in a inescapable situations.

Keywords: Ama Ata Aidoo, Ghana, feminism, gender roles, study abroad, Postcoloniailism

African Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 62-3
Location: VH 1232
Time: 3:15

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