A family is a basic human community or a unit of a society where members are born, loved and brought up.

It can also mean a social group of people consisting of parent(s) and their child or children together with some relatives.

It refers to the smallest human community or group where members live together as one. It is a group of people relating or interacting with one another as they live together.

Functions of the Family

The family transmits life through producing children. This ensures that there is continuity in life.

The family helps to preserve wealth such as land, houses and money for its members who may acquire them through inheritance.

The family provides the basic needs like food, shelter and education. This helps to improve the standard of living of the members.

It is in the family where the members are provided with love and the attention they need.

The family helps in transmitting values such as respect, discipline and humility which are important while relating with others in the community. This helps to create harmony in the community.

The family introduces its members of firm religious beliefs and practices. This is important to the spiritual growth of the members.

The family provides guidance and counseling to the members. This helps to direct the members towards living a better life.

The family helps in creating unity in the society especially as different families are related to one another. This helps to bring about peace and stability in a community.

The family helps to cater for the sexual needs of the members especially that of parents

The family is a source of revenue to the government through paying taxes. This helps the government to provide social services like education and health.

The family helps in protection of its own name and keeping secrets of the members. This helps to make the members fit among others without fear.

The family works for the benefit of its members. This may contribute to the well-being of the members in terms of finance and other basic needs.

Guiding Question:

Explain the importance of family as a basic unit of a community

Types of Families

A family can be divided into various types using two major criteria. It can be based on the size or the number of people making up the family and on the headship.

Families can be categorized according to size:

1. Nuclear family

2. Extended family

Nuclear family

This is a family consisting of the parents and their biological children.

In other words, a nuclear family is where, there is a married couple and their children only.

Advantages of a Nuclear Family

1. The family members are well catered for in terms of basic needs like food and shelter.

2. It is possible for the family head to save income since the few members may not require a lot of expenditure.

3. It is easier to discipline the children in the family since they are all coming from the same parents.

4. There is better a standard of living in a nuclear family. The few members can have access to quality facilities like accommodation and medical care.

5. Tension and pressure on the head of the family is reduced since he or she is dealing with a few members

6. The family secrets are easily kept within the circle. This is important in protecting the image of the family

7. The family is more stable. It is possible that the members can easily understand one another since they are basically the same.

8. It is easier to make decisions within the family i.e. the parents can easily agree on a common stand.

Disadvantages of a Nuclear Family

There is inadequate labour force in the family especially where parents are always at their places of work. This means that the domestic duties may be done with difficulties.

It is highly possible that the children may become selfish in future. This is because they are not used to sharing, the family members may live in isolation from the rest of their relatives. This brings about loneliness.

The children are left on their own especially in the case of working parents. This exposes the young ones to a lot of risks Eke watching pornographic materials.

It may be difficult for the members to defend themselves in case of outside conflict or attack.

The cultures of the society may be difficult to be imparted onto the children especially if the parents are always busy

In case of serious disagreement, it may be difficult for the family members to solve conflicts without external assistance.

The children are easily cut off from the reality outside the family. This may make children be social misfits in the society.

It is possible that the problem of incest may occur if the children are not known by to their relatives.

In the event of death" the family can easily be wiped out since all the members stay in the same house.

The parents are most likely to live a lonely life in the future especially as the children begin to live independent lives.

Extended Family

This is a family consisting of parents, their biological children and other relatives. An extended family consists of a large number of dependents in one homestead

Advantages of an extended Family

1. There is enough labour force in the family. This is because of a large of dependents staying under the same roof

2. It is easier to transmit the cultures of the society to the young ones. This: can be grandparents who are always present at home.

3. It gives time for the parents to do their outside duties with ease and without any about how the children are at home.

4. It creates a sense of identity, solidarity and co-operation among the members community.

5. It allows interaction with other relatives. This is important in promoting unity and love the community.

6. The family can easily defend the members in case of any threat from outside. This is because of the many members living in the same house.

7. It helps in promoting strict discipline. This is because of the upbringing of the children in a collective responsibility.

8. It is easier to console and give comfort to the family members in case of problems like death.

9. There is enough company given to each other with the family since they are many in number.

10. It tests the administrative ability of the head of the family. If the members can stay in harmony then it means that the family head is a good administrator.

Disadvantages an Extended Family

1. It is very expensive to maintain the family members in terms of food. This discourages savings on the side of the head of the family.

2. It is difficult to make fast decisions in the family. The husband and wife may have to consult the dependents before coming up with a decision.

3. Accommodation may be inadequate especially when they are too many relatives around.

4. There is a lot of pressure on the head of the family in trying to cater for the needs of the different relatives.

5. The family secrets are easily exposed to other people outside the family. This may lead to loss of respect of the family.

6. Conflict or disagreement is common in an extended family. This is because the many people may fail to reach an agreement easily over a small issue,

7. There can be cases of indiscipline within the family. This is because if may be difficult for the head of the family to control the big population effectively.

8. The standard of living is generally poor in an extended family. This is because there may be too much pressure on the family facilities.

9. There is a problem of incest likely to occur in an extended family. This may be by allowing the distant relatives to share the same rooms.

Reasons to explain the continued existence of extended families

The influence of strong cultural belief especially by the old people. The grandparents are interested in preserving the African cultures of all the relatives living together as family.

An extended family is made to exist by the poverty level in another family. The relatives come in to assist because of the poor conditions in such a family.

Death has made it possible for extended families to continue existing. Another family is forced to give a hand to the relatives especially after losing the one responsible for providing the needs of the family members.

An extended family has continued to exist due to old age. The grandparents are always taken care of by their own children.

Some people take extended families as a source of prestige especially showing off they can cater for all their relatives

The working pattern today has supported extended families. The parents are always away from home thereby forcing them to bring their relatives to help them look after children.

It is being supported by religious influence. This is especially the need to promote love and one family as emphasized by some Christian teachings

In some cases poor health has helped to ensure that extended families exist. The sick are always taken care of by their own relatives.

An extended family has continued to exist because of unemployment. Those without jobs are sometimes forced to stay with their relatives as they look for something to do.

Categories of Families

A family can be categorized in two ways basing on the headship;



Matrilineal Family

This is a family type headed by the wife or woman. In other words, it is a family where a woman takes care of the family affairs.

Features of a Matrilineal a Family

All the family property belongs to the woman or the wife and therefore she is the one to decide on how they should be used.

Authority in the family is shared between the wife and the husband before making a decision.

The woman or the wife is given more respect than the man or the husband. This is because of the woman's role of providing tor the family members.

Both the boys and girls the same rights when it comes to inheriting the family Property like land and houses.

The family is always monogamous. The man can only stick to a wife and he has no right to bring in another wife.

It is possible that the wife can discipline the husband. This can be through denying him food or denying him a bed

It is the wife responsible for the provision of the family needs including food accommodation among others.

There can be only a wife and a husband in the family as the woman cannot accept a co-wife.

The woman tends to marry a younger man in order for have full control him.

A woman tends to stay with a number of relatives from her side. This is always intended to give her protection.

Patrilineal Family

This is a family arrangement where a man or a husband is the one heading the house hold.

Features of a Patrilineal Family

All the family property belongs to the man or husband and therefore he is the one to decide on how they should be used.

The husband is the final authority in the family. His decisions and words are final and never questionable.

It is mostly the sons who have the right to inherit the family property especially land and land houses.

It is possible for the man to marry more than one wife as the woman has no say over the number of wives he should marry.

The husband is the one officially responsible for providing the' family needs like food, and accommodation.

The man or husband is more respected than the woman or the wife. The family members tend to listen to the man more than the woman.

The husband has the right to discipline the wife in any way he feels like. This can be by rebuking her.

8. The relatives of both the husband and the wife can live together in the family.

Changing Patterns of Family Life in Africa Today

Many people prefer to have nuclear families. This is due to the bad economic situations like poverty and unemployment which cannot support an extended family.

The parents prefer to have a few children whom they can cater for fully in terms of basic needs like food, accommodation and education.

Some people live single lives within a family. Different reasons can explain this including religious influence like being a priest or a nun or health problems.

There is individualism in the family. The family members tend to live in isolation in respect to sources of entertainment and social ways of life.

The education of children in a family is a responsibility of mostly the family members only. It is the family members to impart values like respect and obedience. The community is excluded from having a say in the upbringing of the children.

Men prefer to marry only a wife to form a family Factors like poverty, women emancipation and Christian teaching can explain this new development

The family tends to employ others commonly referred to as house maids to do most of the domestic work like cooking, cleaning the house and washing cloth. This is brought about by the working patterns where parents tend to be away in most of the time.

There is an increasing level of family instability. This is being caused by poverty, marital unfaithfulness, and religious differences among others.

Intermarriages are common in African families today. The members have the freedom to from any tribe or race.

There is a wide generation gap. The parents and the children tend to lead different ways life. Therefore, there is little understanding of the ways each group leads their lives.

Single parenthood is common in modern families. The family can have only a parent be a mother or father. A number of factors including death, domestic violence and are responsible for this new trend.

All children in the family have equal rights especially to education, protection and the property including land and houses.

The equality of all members in the family is emphasized and practiced. This is brought the Christian teaching of everybody being created in God's image and the woman emancipation.

There is also a changing pattern in family roles such as providing the family needs cooking cleaning the house. These roles are being shared by everyone in the family.

Generation Gap

A generation refers to all people within the same age brackets. Therefore, the phrase "generation gap" refers to the difference between the various age brackets especially between the young and the old.

The members in the same age brackets tend to understand each information.

The old and the young tend to put their ages into consideration in their social and economic ways of life.

Causes of Generation Gap in the Family

The following are the causes of generation gap common in modern African families

The working patterns keep the parents away from home most of the time. This means children are left to grow on their own and mostly in the hands of house maids.

Some parents are conservatives (do not want change). They insist on doing things as they were during their old days. However, life keeps changing and therefore, their ways of life may prove to be irrelevant to the young.

The emphasis of children's rights is increasingly making it difficult for the parents to have full control over the affairs of their own children. This has tended to cause misunderstanding between the parents and the children.

Some parents are too irresponsible to the point that they fail to provide for the needs of children such as education and cloth among others. Because of this, their children grow to hate them.

Some parents ignore the views of their children. In such a case, the children feel neglected and develop an attitude of being less considered when it comes to making decisions.

The education system tends to cause generation gap. Among others, it keeps the children away from home most of the times and above all makes the children develop the "I know more attitude" and as a result, despise their parents.

Differences in the level of income are also causing the generation gap. The adult who are always having much income compared to the young tend to lead different social and economic lives. This may create an impression on the children that their parents are not concerned about their welfare.

The permissiveness of our society today is responsible for generation gap. Because of the assumed freedom, some children think that they should do whatever they want regardless of their parents' views. However, the parents feel that they need to guide their children. This tends to bring them into conflict.

The free media today has ended up causing generation gap. Some of the programmes on television stations and in the newspapers tend to draw a line between the parents and children. The waves of soaps common in the television stations like "Don't Mess with an Angel", "Second Chance" and "The Two of Us" from the western world have tended to cause friction between the parents and the children.

The influence of western culture is also responsible for the generation gap. Some parents leave their children to live independently at an early stage.

Peer influence is responsible for generation gap. The children tend to listen more to their age mates than their parents.

Loss of African cultural values causes generation gap. Unlike in traditional Africa, some parents ignore their children. Besides, some children are too indiscipline to the disappointment of their parents.

Problems in Modern African Families

In this situation we are referring to the causes of family instability as well as the reasons for family breakages.

The following are the problems in modern families. It is these very problems which are responsible for family instability and break down.

There is poverty within some families today. Many families are failing to provide basic needs adequately including food, accommodation and clothing. This has always resulted poor standards of living.

Domestic violence is common in some families. The family members tend to beat or fight each other. This has always been disastrous, ending in bodily injuries and death among others.

There are cases of indiscipline among the children. The problem is made grave as the parents put blame on each other.

Some families have the problem of bustard children. This has always caused conflicts the parents especially as they tend to disagree on how to treat the bustard child or children.

There is also the problem of barrenness or infertility. The failure of one of the parents to produce tends to push the partner to behaving on contrary to their marital vows.

Some families are affected by Alcoholism. The over drinking has always caused fighting above all making it difficult for the family to cater for the basic needs.

There are also cases of diseases especially incurable ones like sickle cells and AIDS. This tends to lead to increased expenditure and misunderstanding especially as the members tend to blame each other.

Anti-social behaviour like witchcraft exists some families. It is associated with problems like fighting, bodily harm and death.

Some families suffer from the negative influence of the in-laws. Such people tend to give ill advice either against the husband or the wife. This has always resulted into violence.

There are also cases of marital unfaithfulness adultery and prostitution. This causes quarrels and fighting with some members killing each other.

There is a problem of the generation gap in a family. The parents and the children tend to lead conflicting ways of life.

There are also political differences in the families. Multi-party politics tends to divide people on the different parties.

Religious differences as a result of mixed marriages are evident in some families. The members are divided basing on religious lines.

Failure to satisfy the sexual desires especially that of the parents. This is responsible unfaithfulness which in turn causes conflicts and fights.

Drug abuse like taking marijuana has always caused conflicts and violence some families.

Parental negligence is a problem in some families. The children are left to fend for themselves. This is why some children abandon their homes and become thieves.

There are also cases of cultural clashes in some families with mixed marriages. It becomes difficult for family members to agree on a particular cultural aspect.

Individualism and selfishness in some families is a big problem. This brings about lack sharing and it causes hatred among others.

Guiding Questions

1. Explain the problems common in modern families today.

2. Give reasons to explain why some families break today.

3. Explain the ceases of family instability in your community.

4. How can problems in families be minimized?

5. Explain the problems being caused by HIV and AIDS

How the church is helping families with problems

Providing health services at a fair price. This helps to improve on the health of members providing employment opportunities to family members as teachers and doctors

Providing homes for disadvantaged family members like orphans. Fox examples watoto children Home and Sanyu Babies' Home.

Acting as agents of forgiveness and reconciliation in the event of conflicts

Putting up income generating projects like through Centenary Bank loans are provided providing basic needs like education and accommodation.

Providing recreation centres where family members can spend their free time in providing guidance and counseling services

Protecting marriage relationships by encouraging faithfulness and love

Providing education services through schools and sponsoring some family members especially the young ones.

Formation and running of associations like Mother's Union which helps them through giving advice on how to run their families.

Preaching the equality of every person


(Understanding characteristics and patterns of the family)

The family was extended in nature. The membership included the parents, their children the relatives like uncles and grandparents. This is because of the communal way of life.

The man was the head of the family. The family authority and decision making rested in his hands.

Roles in the family were divided according to sex and age. The men had roles like hunting and digging while women performed mostly domestic duties like cooking, taking care of children and collecting firewood, the children as well had different duties from the adults.

The children were very important in a family. They provided labour, wealth and ensured the continuity of the family line among others.

The education of children was a community responsibility. Everyone had the responsibility of enforcing discipline among the children.

All the children in the family belonged to the man. He had the final say over the children. Discipline was very strict. The children were taught morals and how to behave and relate with others. Respect in particular was highly emphasized.

Marriage was compulsory for every grown up member of the family. The family members put every possible effort to prepare their young ones for marriage.

There was a practice of inheriting widows. A woman married in that family belonged to all and therefore she could easily be taken over by another man in family upon the death of the husband.

Inheritance of the family property like land and cattle was from the father's line. It was

Meant for the sons. The belief was that the girls would married to another family.

Men married more than one wife. This ensured that many children were produced and it was a source of prestige among others.

Each family had a common burial ground. This was a sign to show that the departed were members of the family.

Each family had a shrine from which they could perform their religious rituals like offering sacrifices to the ancestors for purposes like receiving blessings.

Initiation rites were common in African communities. There were puberty rites to show that one was soon becoming an adult. These included circumcision among the Bagisu.

Men were superior to women. The women were expected to be submissive to all the men family.

The family was built on a permanent basis. In case of any disagreement, the members were brought together on a round table in order to avoid the family from splitting.

Revision Question

1. Explain the family life relationship in African traditional.

2. What was the understanding in African past?

3. Explain the characteristics of a family in traditional Africa.


1. Women held inferior status and were to be submissive to the men in the family. Their views were less considered in the family.

2. Domestic violence was a problem in some families. This was mostly against the women. It had associated problems such as bodily injuries and death.

3. Food taboos existed in African families. Women were forbidden from eating certain types food such as chicken, eggs and liver.

4. Widow inheritance was a common practice that proved to be a problem. A woman forcefully taken over by the male relative of the deceased husband.

5. Divorce was another problem in some African families. Although it was not easily accepted, men were allowed to send their wives away without giving them the chance of defending themselves.

6. Poverty was also common in African families. In such cases, members lacked the basic requirement in life such as food. This rendered the family members vulnerable to diseases because of malnutrition.

7. Forced marriage was recognized and accepted in African families. This meant that such families were not built on love but. This was responsible tor the later conflicts in marriages.

8. Early marriages existed in many traditional African families. Both boys: and girls engaged in marriage affairs at early ages, This subjected such young couples to the burden of caring for their families at tender ages.

9. Diseases such as Malaria, typhoid small pox etc., caused suffering in African families. Many members had to lose their dear lives because of lack of proper treatment.

1. Marital unfaithfulness like adultery caused misunderstanding among the family members.

2. To make it worse, it was only women who were punished for involving adulterous practices. This gave men the opportunity to be unfaithful to wives.

3. Witchcraft was common in African families. The witchcraft took the form of poisoning food .and casting evil eyes among others. This was responsible problems like death, conflicts and fighting.

4. There was witch hunting in some families. This was attributed to the belief that anything bad such death and barrenness to happen had some one behind it. Thus, the innocent were victimized.

The Importance of Children in an African Family

The children played important roles in African Traditional families. It was tor this reason that a marriage without children was regarded useless.

The children prolonged the life span of the family. As the adult members continued to die, the children were left to continue with the family business. Therefore, producing insured against old age and death.

The children provided labour for the family. They were assigned lighter duties like animals and cleaning the compound for boys and cooking food and fetching water for the girls.

The children provided wealth to the family. The boys would bring wealth through cultivating crops and the girls contributed the family wealth through bride wealth such as cattle and goats among others.

Children were a source of security against external threats. The boys were trained on how to defend the family from any intruder be it human beings or wild animals.

Producing children proved that the married couples were normal. Childlessness was an illness and an abnormality.

The children gave status to their parents in the community. Such parents were respected and could be given community responsibilities like leadership.

Children stabilized the family. Parents with disagreements or conflict could easily forgive and reconcile because of their children.

Children expanded the bond of kinship. The people in the community are made relatives through the marriage of their children.

The children provided and brought happiness to the family members. The parents were always happy to see their children play around in the compound.

The children gave company to their parents. This was especially to the mothers who were always left at home as the fathers were away on duties like hunting.

The children were taken as a source of blessings from the ancestors. This showed parents were in good terms with the ancestors

The children were they heirs to the family. They were there to inherit and take over the family property in the events of old age and death of the parents.

The children provided comfort and satisfaction to their parents. The parents were eon soled in case of family wrangles.

The children cemented the love between their parents. The love for a woman kept on growing as she continued to produce children especially boys

The children linked the living and the living dead. The dead were remembered through their children and others by their names being given to the new born.

Revision Questions

1. Explain the importance of children in African Traditional families

2. Why was a childless marriage regarded as useless in an African traditional family?

The education of children in traditional Africa

The children were taught to respect the elderly people. They had to respond to the parents with humility, they were also forbidden from calling their parents by real names. In Buganda, a father was referred to as "Taata" and a mother "Maama".

The children were taught how to do domestic duties like cleaning the compound or cooking the boys were taught by their fathers and the girls by their mothers.

The children were taught the heart of sharing. This was based on the communal way of intended to help them avoid being selfish in the future.

The children were taught to be self-reliant and to be creative. This was aimed at helping children be independent in the future.

The children were taught the names of the family, the clan and their language. This was to them identify themselves and relate with other members of the community,

The children were taught about their environment They had to know and identify the names of the different trees and grasses some of which were used as medicine.

Children were taught to respect the values of sex. Sex was shown as something holy. It was an adult duty and therefore emphasis was put on protecting and preserving one's virginity till marriage.

The children were taught how to welcome visitors. They had to welcome them with smiles, respect and kneel down while greeting

The children were taught to live as a community. Work like cultivation and harvesting were jointly done.

How the children were educated in traditional Africa.

The following explains below the ways or methods through which the children were taught in African traditional society, the children were instructed to imitate or copy the work of the adult. This could help to introduce them slowly into doing that particular task.

The children were rewarded for anything well done. Praises or prizes were given intended to make the children keep up in the same direction.

Punishments were also given for any wrong doing with the aim of eliminating the bad behaviour shown.

The Africans used proverbs in the teaching of their children. These were wise sayings with hidden meanings. Such sayings were always followed up without questions.

The Africans used riddles in educating their children. This involved asking questions or making incomplete statements that required quick response. This was intended to sharpen the thinking ability of the children and to keep them alert.

Africans used plays or drama to educate their children. Such plays were intended to bring out a real life situation in the community as the children grew and were like meet them.

The Africans used stories to teach their children. The stories were related to particular events in the life history of the people. They were intended to link the past and the present in order to predict the future.

The Africans used myths to educate their children. They were beliefs which were not proved either to be true or false but were carefully developed to help in the teaching and learning. This was with special reference to the community events,

The Africans used to threats in the teaching their children. The children were made to believe that if they could behave in a certain bad way, something bad could equally happen to them.


The Early Days of Christianity

The following were the main teachings about family life in the early days Christianity. This was immediately after the ascension of Jesus Christ.

•The married couples were called upon to love and give respect to each other in their family relationship.

Emphasis was put on monogamy in the family. The man was expected to marry only one wife

Christians were encouraged to make their families permanent and live in unity with one another

Christian families could marry the pagans. They believed that it was possible believers to change the non-believers into followers of Christ

They encouraged the family members to be faithful. Therefore, immoral behaviour prostitution was discouraged

There was no fixed marriage ceremony in the family that every member was to follow.

The middle Ages and after Reformation

The period was marked by great changes in respect to family life and married relationship

It became possible fix a person to remain single in a family. The people started practicing celibacy fix the sake of the gospel of Christ

Prostitution became common in the family set up. This meant that the family members became unfaithful.

Marriage laws came to be written down. These were intended to protect the family relationship from breaking up.

Re-marriage was accepted as something normal. It was possible for a family member to elsewhere after separation with another family

Divorce was allowed in some situations especially if it was realized that there would be dangers to the lives of family members if they continued staying together.

The Christians came to look at marriage as a sacrament and something holy for them to achieve salvation.


The coming of missionaries in Africa brought a number of changes in the family as explained below.

The missionaries introduced a nuclear type of family as opposed to extended type Africans were used to.

The missionaries encouraged some family members to singles for the sake of the gospel of Christ. They were the people they called the priests, brothers and sisters.

The missionaries caned for equality of all family members saying that they were created in God's image. This opposed the superior status of men over women in an African family set up.

The missionaries took over the education of children. They built schools where children had to go for formal education. This meant that the community played little role in the education of their children.

The missionaries encouraged the widow to live on their own or choose to marry elsewhere. This was opposed due to inheritance of widows in an African family set up. Jesus encouraged the family members to look onto him in times of their troubles or hardship. Each family member was encouraged to fulfill his or her duties in order to satisfy the needs of others (1 Corinthians 7: 2-5).

Husbands and wives were advised to love each other creatively and unselfishly St. Paul emphasized that the body of a woman belongs to a man and that of the man belongs to the woman.

Saint Paul advised the parents to make their children happy all the time. They should not be annoyed with them (1 Corinthians 3: 12)

On the other hand, Saint Paul advised the children to obey their parents. He said that obeying parents pleases God (1 Corinthians 3:20).

Saint Paul advised the family members to obey the state. He pointed that God is the giver of authority (Romans 13. 1- 7).

Jesus encouraged the parents to treat their children equally. He emphasized that they are all the same since they belong to the same parents.

Jesus called upon the parents to tolerate the behaviour of their children and guide them accordingly.

Jesus showed the children of how they have to help their parents with domestic duties. He showed this by helping his father Joseph with carpentry work.

Jesus advised the parents to discipline their children using their God-given authority.

Parents were encouraged to teach their children the moral values of the society like honesty, love and humility among others.

Jesus encouraged the parents to be responsible for the welfare of their children. He advised them to fulfill their obligations or responsibilities.

Widows in fami lies are to given respect and comfort they need (1 Timothy 5 :3-16).

Saint Paul advised the wives to be submissive their husbands in order to change their personalities.

The family members are advised to be united to each other just like Christ is united to the church

Revision Questions.

1. Explain Jesus' teaching on the ideal family relationship.

2. What is the New Testament teaching about family life?


The word "sex" can be defined in two ways which can either be as a gender or as a ritual or practice.

As a gender sex refers to being a male or female This is the masculinity and femininity or an organism, The distinction in the human characteristics takes into consideration whether individual is a man or a woman.

Sex also refers to the intercourse between male and female reproductive organs, This definition looks at the physical interaction of male and female sexual organs, This is the relationship.


In the present situation, emphasis is being put on equal treatment of each and everyone. There are areas and practices to show that all people are being treated as equal.

Inequality between Men And Women Today.

1. Today men and women are sharing the same jobs. There are men as well as women who are doctors, teachers and accountants among others.

2. There is equality of everyone before the law. Everyone is protected by the law according to the Uganda constitution (1995)

3. Both men and women are heading families. They provide the needs of their families such as education, food and medical care.

4. There is active participation of both men and women in the political affairs of the country. Everybody has a right to vote or to be voted for as long as he or she is above 18 years.

5. Women and men are taking active participation in the economic sector like paying taxes establishing businesses.

6. Domestic duties such as cooking food and cleaning the house are shared.

7. Women nowadays have the right to demand for divorce in an event domestic violence.

8. The family property like houses belongs to every member. The children be it sons or daughters have equal to the family property.

9. There is equal access to education and it is now a right to everyone. With the introduction universal primary and secondary education, all children are entitled to go to schools.

10. Both male and female are entitled to government protection during the times of stability and instability,

11. Children in the family belong to both the husband and the wife unlike in traditional Africa where the man claimed the ownership of children.

12. Today women play active roles in the church as leaders just as men, In the Anglican Church, women are ordained as reverends, women and men are protected by the government from anything that puts their lives in danger.

1. Emphasis is put on monogamy as the ideal type of marriage. The church is taking a leading role in this direction.


Although the idea of gender balance or equality is the talk of today, there are instances where sex inequality is still evident.

1. Roles in some families are still assigned according to sex. For example, cooking food is mainly done by women and cleaning the compound by men.

2. Some women still feel that men are the sole provider of their needs being it basic or luxurious. Therefore, such women sit back and wait for their husbands to do everything for them.

3. Polygamy still exists in some families. To some men, it is for prestigious reasons while others think that is traditional rights to many as many wives as they can.

4. Women battering (terrible beating) are still common today. Men have repeatedly beaten women as a way of disciplining them.

5. Inheritance of widows is still practiced in some communities. Such women are denied the chance of making independent choices after the death of their husbands.

6. Sexual abuses like rape are common against the women. This means that there arc some men having the thinking that women are, there to satisfy their sexual desires at any time they feel.

7. Women are still denied the chance of inheriting the property of their parents in the event of old age and death. Property such as land, houses and vehicles are given to sons only at the expense of girls.

8. There are some professions which are seen to be more fitting and specific to a particular sex. For example, being a secretary is taken to be feminine and being an engineer is seen as better for men,

9. In some religions, sex differences still exist Men and women pray separately in the Islamic faith and in the Catholic Church, only the men are ordained priests.

10. The government is putting a lot of emphasis on the girl-child, For example, girls are awarded 1.5 points when joining public universities.

11. Some parents still force their daughters into marriages. This is done with the selfish aim and greed for wealth like cows and money.

12. Men are still dominant in the politics. The electorate tends to give their votes mostly to the men because they think that they are best suited for it.

13. The continued existence of bride price undermines the position of women. It tends to subject them to mistreatment.

14. Women are still divorced by their husbands unnecessarily. The majority of these women are not given the opportunity to resist the divorce.

15. Some men still claim the ownership of children. They think that the children belong to them and therefore expect their husbands to respect what they say about them.

16. In some places, the cultural activities still favour men. The women are expected to be submissive to the men and give them due respect

The role of the government in promoting equality or lifting the status of women

The government is taking the following measures order to uplift the status of women:

1. The Ugandan government is keen on observing the International Women's day every 8th of March, an annual celebration is held to the achievements of women

2. The government of Uganda has given fill support to women's organizations such as Organizations Women's Effort to Support Orphans (OWESO), Action for Development of women (ACFODE), FlDA and others.

3. There are strict laws to protect women's rights against abuses like domestic violence, defilement and rape which are punishable by imprisonment of not less than 7 years.

4. The government has put emphasis on the girl-child education. The girl-child is points when joining public universities such as Makerere, Gulu and Mbarara. This is at increasing literacy level among the women in order for them to be independent

5. The Uganda government has always seminars, workshops and conferences is done with the of sensitizing the public about the rights and the contribution of women in development.

6. The Ugandan government has also created women's post at all levels of leadership. Amonz others, there are special seats for women in parliament and local councils

7. The government established a whole ministry, which is responsible ensuring equality between two sexes. For example, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Development

8. The government has further and given filii support to the adult community education for women. This aims at giving basic skills to the women so that they can earn a living without depending on men entirely.

9. The government has always put special emphasis on recruitment of women for jobs. This is to help them earn some wage or salary and to help transform the position women from doing domestic duties to doing public duties.

10. The government has taken the initiative to empower women economically by giving loans. It has also zone ahead to advise women to use the loans to set up projects that are income generating.

11. Employed women are leave before and after giving birth. This allows them to recover from the period of difficulties during pregnancy and enable them have time with the new born.


1. The church has always preached equality of all. Everyone is encouraged to treat the other in the same way showing that all are equal before God.

2. The church is encouraging the education of the girl-child. This is by offering sponsorship and having schools which are only for girls like Rubaga Girls Secondary School and Saint Joseph's Girls Nsambya, This can help the girl-child to live independent lives the future,

3. The church has recognized women's leadership roles. In the Anglican Church, where Women are ordained as reverends.

4. The church regularly organizes workshops, seminars and conferences at national and international levels. This is aimed at sensitizing the masses about the need to recognize the rights women among other issues

5. The church encourages monogamy as the ideal type of marriage as opposed to polygamy where women are exploited.

6. There are some women organizations set up and supported by \ the church to help uplift women's status. Among others, Mothers Unions, Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) have been instrumental giving some basic skills and training to the women in order for them to earn a living.

7. Women are being appointed as headmistresses in church founded educational institutions

8. The church has also set up or funded some projects in its effort to uplift women's status.

9. Some of these projects extend assistance to the women in the form of loans. The church provides guidance and counseling services to women and even to men. This has been an eye opener to the people to realize and understand that all human beings are equal.

10. The church gives physical assistance like shelter and food to the disadvantaged women like the widows and the poor.

11. The church has always organized workshops, conferences and seminars. On such occasions, the roles of women are discussed in order to sensitize the public about the rights of the women.

12. The church has always established income generating projects like poultry keeping hence helping women with a source of living.

Revision Questions

1. Explain the contribution of the church in the uplifting of the status of women.

2. What role is the church playing in the emancipation of women?


Women's emancipation movement is an effort to raise or recognize the rights of women in masculine dominated society. It is the attempt by the women to free themselves from aspects of oppression and exploitation by the men in the different spheres life. This emancipation movement has its root from the western countries. It aims at up lifting status of women such that they may realize their full human rights.

Reasons for the Rise of the Women Emancipation Movement

There are historical reasons for the growth and development this movement in Uganda Africa as a whole. This movement insists that women must choose to behave, as they want without reference to and restrictions from their sexual partners.

  1. Women are subjected to domestic violence in a form of beating among others. This has seen very many women lose their lives and others left with injuries.
  2. Women are treated as an interior and submissive group of people. Therefore, they are expected to respect men.
  3. The men find tend to marry many wives without due consideration of their feelings. There is a tendency of under looking at the roles and contribution of the women in the development of the society.
  4. Some men still believe that women are a source of misfortune in the community. They tend to associate women with bad things in the community.
  5. The women have limited opportunities for employment This leaves such women idle and therefore unable to live independently.
  6. The women are given limited opportunities to participate in the politics community.
  7. They suffer from lack of respect in marriages. They are constantly abused and insulted makes their lives difficult
  8. In some communities, widows are inherited after the death of their husbands. This makes it appear that such widows cannot decide on their own.
  9. Most domestic duties are left in the hands of the women. These include cooking mopping, washing and the man simply looks on as he waits to be served.
  10. Some men look at women as sexual object and therefore they expect their sexual desires to be fulfilled according to their way.
  11. The payment of bride wealth exposes women to a lot of exploitation including beating.
  12. Women are still being divorced against their will and the men feel they cannot be divorced by the women.
  13. Women still have limited opportunities for education as compared to men. This explains why a greater number of women are illiterate.

15. Some men are still taking themselves as the natural heads of a family. In such a case, the women are treated as a submissive.

16. Some men claim the ownership of children. In such a case, the women are denied the right over their children.

Achievements of Women Emancipation Movement

The women liberation movement has registered some achievements. This is especially based on the changing roles and status of women today. In particular, women have been able to realize some freedom as a result this struggle and are, therefore, enjoying their full rights as summarized below.

1. Women have been able to acquire equal opportunity for public employment and are, therefore, having the chance to earn wage or salary. This has transformed the role of women from doing domestic work to public duties.

2. Women nowadays have the right to terminate marriage. In other words, women are now to bring their marriage relationship to an end without interference.

3. There is also freedom on food. Women can now eat any type of food including fish, chicken, eggs, pork, etc. which they were being denied before the emancipation movement.

4. Women nowadays have the freedom to own property. They also have the freedom to inherit property from their parents.

5. Women nowadays have the right to determine their choices of marriage. Parental interferences are now reducing. This has given women the right to determine whom and when to many Women also have some rights over their children. The laws in Uganda emphasizes that children belong to all the parents and that a child must not leave the mother before it is above 7 years

6. There has also been a change in the attitude towards the girl child. All children are nowadays treated in the same way.

7. On the religious front, women have scored highly. Some are being ordained as reverends in the Protestant Church. The Catholic has also promoted sister hood.

8. There has also been the recognition of women in the political fields. Women now have the right to vote, be voted for and also make important decisions in the society.

9. Women nowadays have the freedom to engage in business. This has resulted into a number of women becoming economically powerful. This has enabled them to support themselves in all ways.

10. There is equal access to education by both boys and girls. in other words, the education system treats both boys and girls equally

11. Women nowadays have some say over bride price. They can now determine how much to be paid in some eases, the women or even the bride contributes part of the bride price

12. In some cultures, women are cultural leaders like queens, princesses and head of clans among others.

13. Women also have some sex rights. They can now determine whether to in sex or not. Because of this, they are no longer seen as sex objects whose work is to produce and take care of the family.

What Can Be Done To Improve On the Position of Women

1. Discouraging or eliminating some cultural practices which undermine it he status of women in the society. For example, the payment of bride wealth and female genital mutilation (F.G.M)

2. Giving respect to and acknowledging the contribution of women in development of society.

3. Encouraging or supporting women groups in order for them to be independent.

4. Women should be encouraged to be confident and regard themselves as important and as equal to men.

5. Priority should be given to the education of the girl child. This can promote literacy among the women.

6. Priority should be given to the employment of women. This becomes a source of income to the women and therefore a step towards living independent lives.

7. Women should maintain self-respect. This can make others particularly men to respect them as well

8. There should be strict laws to guard the rights of women and in case of any violation, severe punishment should be given.

9. Women should be appointed as leaders in a community. This helps other women to be fully protected from any kind of exploitation

10. Giving soft loans to women. This can make the women to become economically independent.

11. Treating women in the same way everyone expects to be treated. This can help to bring about respect and a positive attitude towards women. Organizing workshops, conferences and seminars with the aim of sensitizing the public about the rights of women.

13 .The women should be encouraged to speak out their minds in public without fear or intimidation.

Sex Education in the Present Situation

There are great changes in the way sex education is conducted today. It is no longer considered an affair of the community. Below is how sex education is being carried.

Some parents still play great roles in teaching children sexual issues. Though some have failed, it has always been in the interest of most parents that children have to observe good manners while relating to their sexual behaviour.

Close relatives like the uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters and grandparents are also involved imparting sex education on to the young ones.

The churches are equally involved in sex education today. Very loft en, the church teaches partners preparing for wedding about good sexual behaviors in their marriage lives. The church also points out that sex is a divine gift from God during the process of preaching. This eventually creates sexual awareness among the youth.

Peer influence is also an avenue through which sexual awareness is created among the youth today. These are people of the same age group. It is a very common practice among the peers to engage in sexual stories. This gives the chance for the others to learn about sexual matters.

Some subjects in schools like Biology and Christian Religious Education are playing great roles in sex education. The contents of these subjects are sex oriented. This creates sexual awareness.

In some community, cultural practices such as circumcision are still being up held. These practices create sexual awareness among the young ones at an early age.

Sex awareness today is caused by the various television programs, which are related to sexual issues. For example, western soaps common in television stations today are much treasured by the youth because of their captivating sex related issues.

Sex education is also being conducted through various radio programmes. Radio stations are always carrying out talk shows related to sexual matters. Among others, Capital FM is famous for its programmes such as Capital Doctor on every Tuesday at night, Late Date that begins from 9:00 pm daily.

Some written literature like novels and magazines has information related to sex. This is the main source of information about sex among the youth.

Some drama shows are also responsible for creating sexual awareness today. The acted stories tend to expose a lot of facts on sex.

Songs, both at the local and at the international levels contain a lot of information about sex.

Emphasis is put on finding Jove, loneliness and disappointment

Problems associated With Sex Education Today.

Although sex education is an important aspect in the life of the community, there are number problems associated with it. This has made conducting sex education very difficult problems include,

Some parents are too irresponsible. They have left the education of children to schools only. Such parents falsely believe that everything including sex education is to be taught in the school.

Decline in African cultural values has also made it difficult for sex education to be conducted to the young ones, cultural practices like circumcision common among the Bagisu are considered out of date. Because of this attitude, they pay no attention. This is a hindrance in educating the population about sexual issues

The popular belief that "practice makes perfect" or "you learn by doing” especially among the youth maker; it difficult for the sex educators to do their work. People with this belief tend to put in practice whatever they have learnt. This creates the fear of being agents of immorality among the educators.

The influence of mass media is also a problem to the running of sex education. This media contain pornographic materials, which the youth are more attracted to. Because of this the learners cannot listen to the educators. In Uganda, newspapers such as The Red Pepper Straight Talk, Bukedde, and some films like "Blue movies" contain information that hinders the process of sex education

Some young ones tend to be influenced by their peers about sexual matters. Such youth not listen to and respect advises from their elders.

Some educators have inadequate knowledge about sex education. Such people teach sexual issues that is not relevant to the learners.

The youth today claim to be more educated than their elders Such youth have a feeling the "uneducated" elders cannot guide them Because of this "1 know more attitude," the youth tends to minimize the roles of sex educators

The existing generation gap between parents and their children is another great problem in sex education. The youth think that their parents' ideas are old fashioned and cannot therefore listen to them.

Some sex educators are too shy to discuss sexual matters. Such people may even try to avoid coming face-la-face with the learners in the process of their discussions. This renders the whole process less effective.

Some youth are too materialistic. They can easily offer themselves for luxuries with the false belief of survival. Even when they attend sex education, they tend to ignore the teaching.

Sex education has also been commercialized Most of the educators are influenced by the ability of the learners to pay some money. This has denied the poor learners the chance of being educated. The educators are also driven by the need for money, but not helping the learners.

Redundancy by most youth renders them adaptive to situations that encourage pre-marital sex. This may be done with the false belief of being occupied.

Permissiveness also makes the process of sex education less effective. This mostly affects the youth who tend to behave in whatever they could imagine because of the assumed freedom.

The youth have become vulgar and obscene. This makes them indiscipline to follow what they are being taught.

Some parents think that their children know about sex thus they ignore educating them. This deprives them of the opportunity to learn something about sex.

There is a problem of inadequate knowledge about sex issues by some of the educators especially the youth. This makes them give wrong information to the children.

Sex differences in traditional Africa

In traditional Africa sex was an important aspect of social life. This was reflected in the daily activities of the community. There profound evidence to show that sex differences existed in the traditional African way of life as shown below.

Men and women had different roles to perform. Women were assigned tighter roles like cooking, digging and collecting fire wood. However, men had roles such as grazing animals and cleaning the compound.

Women were considered inferior to men. They had to be submissive to the men. For example, they were required to kneel when greeting men as a sign of respect.

Men dominated the affairs of the community. Making decision rested entirely in the hands of men.

Some women were associated with misfortune and bad omen like childlessness. A man could even abandon his duty or journey if he could meet a woman as the first person on his way because of tearing bad results.

Men had the right to have as many wives as they wished without considering the feelings of the wives already at home.

The family property such as land, cows and goats belonged to the man, For this matter, the sons were the ones to inherit such property upon the. death of the father.

Women were subjected to food taboos. Certain food stuff like chicken, eggs and liver were reserved for men only.

In many African cultures, children belonged to the man. In the event of separation, she could leave all children with their father.

A man was compensated if his wife was caught in adultery. However, if the man could be caught in the same act, his wife was instead blamed for her failure to satisfy the husband sexually.

Men were permitted to initiate divorce against the will of their wives. However, the women were denied this chance even when they were being mistreated

Women were traded for items like cows, goats and chicken in the requirement for bride wealth. To make it worse, men remained masters over this property to decide the fate of the women who were always given a smaller share.

The men were the natural heads of families. Women just like children were required to obey and follow their decisions

Approaches to sexual issues such as virginity was only stressed the girls. If a was found to have lost her virginity, she was seen to be immoral without due consideration of the man she could have had sex with.

Domestic violence like beating, affected mostly the women. Some men could beat women as a way of disciplining them.

In some African community, people were less troubled by murder of a woman. However, greater concern was shown towards the murder of a man.

There was the practice of inheriting windows. This made it appear that the women could not make independent decisions about their marriage lives.

In some cultures, men preferred producing boys to girl especially as their tint born. Much love was extended to the woman giving birth to boys.

Men and women ate separately. In some cultures, women, girls and the uncircumcised boys had separate fire and pot tor cooking

Women were looked at as sex objects A woman was not supposed to show any tendency of sickness or inability if the husband could demand for sexual intercourse However, the woman had no right to demand for it if the husband was not interested.

Sex education in traditional Africa

In African traditional society, Sex education was an affair of the whole community parents in some cases played a relatively passive role.

It was done to majority by the elderly members in the community including the aunts, uncles and the grandparents.

Sex education was also aimed at preparing the children as future adults and marital

The girls were taught by their aunts on how to look after themselves and how to care their husbands in their future marriages.

The boys were taught by the uncles on how to handle their wives especially in a polygamous marriage.

The education was conducted at the puberty and adolescent stages. It was aimed at preparing children for their future marriage relationship.

Sex education was deep rooted in the roles to be performed by a particular sex as male and female. Therefore, roles were assigned according to sex,

The girls were taught domestic duties such as peeling" fetching water and cooking. The boys were taught duties including gathering food, grazing animals and building huts,

The girls were exposed to motherly experiences like menstruation, child birth and breast feeding.

Sex was taught to be sacred (holy) and only meant for the adults mostly done at night when everyone was sleeping. Pre-marital sex was, therefore highly punishable.

The privacy of sex was highly up held. Individuals were told to respect and safeguard their sexual parts through being told to sit well, to cover them and not to call them using their real names. Among the Bagisu, the sexual organ is referred to as "Khasolo" meaning the front part. In Buganda, it is referred to as "Akasolo' meaning the small animal

1. The values of virginity were emphasized and respected particularly among the girls. In some cultures, there could be a return of bride price if after marriage the girl was found to have lost her virginity. Among the Banyankole, a coin with a hole or ail empty matchbox could be sent to the girl's parents as a way of informing them about the loss of the virginity of their daughter. The aunt was there after expected to pay some fine in the form of a goat for her failure to teach the girl public manners. Where the girl was virgin, the aunt was rewarded

2. In some cultures, sexual rituals were performed. Among the Bagisu, the boys were circumcised to show that they were ready for adult life.

3. The boys and girls exposed to sexual taboos. Having sex during such periods as menstruation and mourning was forbidden.

4. The boys and girls were taught to play separately. This was aimed at preventing sexual temptation.

5. The girls and boys were also made to sleep in separate rooms. This was to avoid the incest.

6. In some cultures, the aunt was a witness to the first sexual intercourse between the newly married couple. The aunt could sleep under the bed and listen attentively. If any of the two partners could tail to perform the expected duty, the aunt had the responsibility of giving practical lessons.

How sex education was carried in African traditional society

· Assigning different roles to boys and girls

· Through sexual rituals like circumcision

· Using threats

· Separating the boys and girls during playing times or while sleeping

· Through traditional dances some of which were specific to a particular sex and reflected courtship, kindness and tolerance

· Through stories which were related to sexual issues

· Through punishment especially on grounds of sexual abuses

· Through rewards especially after behaving in a desired sexual way

· Through superstition connected to sex

· Through proverbs

· Through riddles

· Through games like wrestling

Sex Differences and the Person IN CHURCH HISTORY

(With Emphasis on Africa)

Before the introduction of Christianity in Africa, the behaviour of the people was shaped by sexes. This, however, started declining on the arrival of the missionaries as discussed below.

1. The missionaries taught that human beings are equal. They emphasized that both male female were created in God's image.

2. The church encouraged the education of the girl-child by constructing schools including Gayaza High School.

3. The women were trained with some basic skills in life like knitting in order for them to fend on their own.

4. The church showed that the under privileged were normal and important human beings by building schools for the blind, deaf and the dumb.

5. Some of the women were trained to offer services to the general public for example, Hana Kageye of western Uganda was trained as a teacher in the Anglican Church. She was in charge of teaching women and children.

6. The missionaries encouraged monogamy among the Africans as opposed to polygamy which only favored men.

7. The missionaries discouraged the inheritance of widows. They emphasized that such women could make independent choices.

8. Among the Anglicans, the women were ordained as Reverends and were therefore important in the ministry of the Church. The women were encouraged to take up key positions in the church and participate activities like choir

9. The church involved a number of women in the work of preaching the gospel. The Roman Catholic ordained girls as nuns commonly known as sisters. This was ideal aspiration equality since it recognized the role of women as leader in the church

Revision Question:

Explain the response of the missionaries to the sex inequality in Africa

Examples of African leaders trained by the missionaries

1. Hana Kageye

· Hanakageye was a widow of the chief of Toro in western Uganda. She became a Christian in 1896.

· She was trained as a teacher in the Anglican Church and assigned the responsibility of teaching women and children in Ankole and the neighboring kingdoms.

· She was later put in charge of the girls who were boarding mission schools.

· She was responsible for teaching the girls some traditional crafts such as weaving baskets and making pots.

2. Yohana Kitagana

He was a catholic who worked in various parts of western Uganda.

He lived a saintly life. He was always exemplary in his daily activities.

He took care of the orphans by spending the little money he had on him


Sex inequality existed in Church history. The missionaries who came to Africa preached the equality of all with the reason that all were created in God's image.

The work of preaching was majorly tor men and therefore no woman was expected to take part in such.

Missionary work was only for men. The men used the excuse of leaving to the women the responsibility of caring for homes.

In the Anglican Church, it was tradition only for men to be enrolled in the church choir. Among the Catholic, the office of priesthood was strictly reserved for men.

Women were not given a chance to pray for the church congregation and not even for their families.

Men treated the women unfairly as though they did not deserve spiritual food.

Men also dominated fellowship in the earlier days of Christianity. Such gatherings were only seen to be fit for the men.

Among the Corinthians, the women were expected to wear veils before going to places of worship or in any public gathering

Among the Corinthians, the men were allowed to divorce their wives and the woman let with no objection.

The women were expected to first confess their sins before the men could do so. In some eases, the women could confess their sin to the men who could in turn present their sins to God.

Men appeared to be highly considered as saints in the early days of Christianity. There were more male saints than the women.

The women were discriminated particularly during their menstruation. During such a period, they were made to stay away from others.

Sex Differences and the Person In The Old Testament

Many events in the books of the Old Testament are revelations of God's plans for His creatures particularly the human beings, He cared about and expected them to respond to Him with faith,

God created the human beings both female and male in His own image at the same time, Therefore this means that everyone is equal before God (Genesis 1 :26)

God blessed human beings both male and female multiply and fill the world. This means that both the man and the woman were pro-creators,

God gave everyone the control of the beings of the world, He commanded the human beings to bring the world under their control. This was a can for the man and woman to work together.

All human beings are dependent on God. God provided the first human beings with everything they needed to eat for their survival,

Human beings are companions God realized that it was not good for a man to stay alone. For this reason, He created a woman from the man's rib

Human beings are complete in the presence of one another. This was the reason Adam felt lonely and incomplete before the creation of Eve.

God called for unity between a man and a woman in marriage. He expected the man to leave his father and mother and gets united to his wife.

In the story of the fall of man, God punished both the man and woman for they disobeyed His command and eaten the forbidden fruit.

God called Abraham to begin the salvation process of all the human beings. In doing so, he intended to bring the fallen human beings nearer to Him.

In the call of Moses, God showed that He was concerned that the Israelites were being treated harshly and cruelly by the Egyptians (Exodus 3: 1 ff).

God called upon all the Israelites to obey His commands if they were to be blessed (Leviticus 19:19).

Besides, everyone in Israel had to worship only God in showing their obedience to Him. By doing so, they were to remain his children.

God urged all the Israelites to love their neighbors in showing love for him. For this, God promised to continue loving them (Leviticus 19: 18).

The Israelites were required to treat their slaves properly and with human dignity. Accordingly, they had to give them generously what the Lord had blessed them with (Deuteronomy 15: 12 - 14).

In their later history, the Israelites were caned upon to repent their sins in order for God to forgive them.


Sex inequality existed in the Old Testament. The following examples show that there clear as distinctions between made male and female

In the story of the fall of mall, the man put the blame of eating the forbidden fruit on the woman. (Genesis 3: 12).

Besides, the woman was made subject and Submissive to the man following the fall of man. Accordingly, she Was to have a special desire for the man (Genesis :16)

The payment of bride wealth was accepted Jacob Was made to work for seven years in order to marry Rachel (Genesis 29: 18-28).

Among the Israelites, a woman appeared to be part of a man's property. Accordingly, the Israelites were forbidden from admiring another man's property including his wife (Exodus 20:17

Among the Jews, a man was allowed to write a letter of divorce and give it to the wife to take to her parents. (Deuteronomy 24: 1 ff)

Some services like the military and the institution of priesthood were preserved only for men.

Among the Jews, a woman was deemed unclean for thirty three days after giving birth to a son. However, she was unclean for sixty six days after delivering a daughter (Leviticus 12:1- 8)

There were cases of sexual immorality like rape and adultery among the Jews. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba who was married to Uriah (2 Samuel 11: 1 ff)

Only the men were subjected to force labour. King Solomon drafted a total of 30,000 men into forced labour during the building of the Jerusalem temple

Polygamy was practiced among the people of Israel King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11. 1 ff)

In a national census, only the men were counted among the people of Israel. This was done by King David who wanted to know the number of men who could be subjected to forced labour (2 Samuel 24: 1-9)

The New Testament Teaching On Sex Differences

Jesus was born in the Jewish society where inequality and discrimination characterized the people's ways of life. It was based on sex, Possessions and ranks. However, Jesus' teachings and way of life showed that all human beings are equal as seen below.

For the love of al] human beings, God Sent His only son in order to die for their sills so that everyone could achieve salvation (John 1: 14-16).

He advised his followers to love one another as they love themselves. He showed that love is the foundation of all relationship. He went on to say that He was willing to sacrifice His Own life (John 13:34--35).

Jesus advised his believers to believe in him so that they could be put right with God his father.

Jesus identified Himself to all the believers as the way, the truth and life one to go to the father

Jesus said that judgment would be for everybody. He pointed out that it would be based on one's relationship with his others and him.

Jesus called upon all the believers to treat each other with human dignity whether or not, they deserve better treatment.

According to Saint Paul, all human beings are sinners and have fallen short of God’s glory.

Jesus associated with those considered to be the outcasts (sinners) like Zaccheaus who was a tax collector.

Jesus defended those who were weak including the defenseless woman caught in adultery.

In his feeding miracles Jesus showed the need for feasting together, He fed men as well as women finishing His preaching.

Saint Paul caned for unity among the believers. He said that unity in Jesus Christ is Stronger than physical barrier (Galatians 3:27-28).

Showed to his believers that everyone is equal in his father's kingdom. In doing so, He denied possession, status and ranks as being important and necessary in the heavenly kingdom.

Jesus conversed with the Samaritan woman. The Samaritans and the Jews hated each other but Jesus showed that racial discrimination was not necessary before God (John 1 10).

Jesus was friendly even to the women. He associated with Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus as friends without discriminating against them (Luke 10: 38- 42 and John 11: 5).

Jesus equally loved the children. He allowed them to play freely in His arm. In the Jewish society, children were not allowed to be with important and elderly people (Mark 10: 13 - 15).

Jesus helped the leper to show His concern for the welfare of all mankind. The lepers the Jewish society were considered outcasts and social misfits (Mark 1: 40 -45).

Jesus also allowed the, sinful woman (the prostitute) to anoint and kiss him. Such sinful people were not allowed to be closer to the righteous, a person of Jesus' caliber (Mark 14: 3)

Saint Paul urged the believers to love each other by acts of mercy, kindness and forgiveness among other moral virtues (Romans 5:5 ff)

Jesus' death and resurrection is a sign of hope and strength to both man and woman. Each of the two would receive salvation through His death and immediate resurrection (John 11:25).

Revision Questions

Show how the New Testament promotes the equality of all persons

How did Jesus show that all people are equal in the heavenly kingdom?

IDevice Icon Revision Question:

 1. Explain the Old Testament teaching on sex equality.

Show that man and woman are equal in the Old Testament

Licensed under the Developing Nations 2.0

A complete talking Book for Uganda certificate of Education