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Masculine Women, Feminist Men: Assertions and Contradictions in Mawugbe’s In the Chest of a Woman

Summary of Article by Awo Mana Asiedu, 2010 / Edited by Rhona Justice-Malloy

Efo Kodjo Mawugbe’s play In the Chest of a Woman celebrates women’s achievements through celebrating three characters representing three generations of women: Queen Mother, her daughter and grand-daughter. At first glance, the play seems to contradict its claims of celebrating women’s empowerment because the women are called by circumstances to play male roles. The playwright was questioned about apparent contradictions between his assertions and the evidence in play. The playwright’s objective was to point out old customs and traditions which are disempowering to women, and hence the need to change them. At the end, the resolution of the play advocates for a change of traditional customs, which when changed solve the characters’ problems, and victory for the women is gained. Hence the play may be read as a celebration of women in spite of some contradictions apparent in its representation of female characters