What is the role of women in Anthills of the Savannah?

The role of women in Anthills of the Savannah is to provide a voice of reason and to show that even though they are still vulnerable, the old patriarchal ways have drawn to an end. Women are beginning to get more societal power, and their rise shows changes in traditional culture.

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Women are portrayed in Anthills of the Savannah as being capable of escaping the subordinate roles assigned to them by traditional culture. In the figure of Beatrice Okoh we have a particularly good example of the vision of emancipated womanhood that Achebe seeks to promote. Educated, articulate, and independent, Beatrice is able to give Ikem Osodi an insight into a feminist concept of womanhood.

The notion of a woman as an educator is particularly striking here; though Ikem is an intellectual and a firm believer in modernizing Nigeria, he still doesn’t fully understand the issue of women’s rights. In order to do that, he needs to rely on Beatrice. In a remarkable reversal of traditional gender roles, Ikem needs Beatrice, not the other way round.

Beatrice has always believed that the notion that a woman needs a man is nothing but male chauvinist nonsense, or words to that effect. What's more, Beatrice developed this emancipated attitude long before she'd even heard of women's...

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