There is an urgent need for the empowerment of Muslim women in the country so that they can contribute meaningfully to the socio economic development of the country, founder and president of Al-Hayaat Foundation, Hajia Hanatu Abubakar has said.
She also admonished parents to prioritise the education of the girl child so that they do not become liabilities to their families and the nation in the near future.
Speaking to The Ghanaian Times in a telephone interview yesterday, Hajia Hanatu mentioned that, women empowerment was an important concern “especially in this contemporary age of globalisation”
The best way women can be free from the shackles of poverty she said, was through education and empowerment.
Islam, she said, gives credence to women and the Quran also generally speaks about women with high regard so it is very important to educate the Muslim girl and clear the misconception that the Muslim girl was born just to be a wife and nothing more.
“Many women, through determination and hard work have obtained education so it is possible for us to be the change we need. People have made it, as successful and educated Muslim women and so it is possible for others. It is never too late. I have been able to make it as a Muslim woman. I got married after my Senior High School (SHS) education but that did not prevent me from going to the university. In fact my husband enrolled me into the university and after that I continued to the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and I am currently in law school. I am a Muslim woman, I made it so the rest too can equally make it. Our society will become a better place if everybody is educated”, she said.
The philanthropist stated that, sometimes, the lack of financial independence forms part of the reasons why women do not experience empowerment adding that some societies even restrict the empowerment of women for cultural reasons.
She also called for the consistent inclusion of women in all public affairs.
Touching on the menace of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Hajia Hanatu stated that, despite the fact that the practice was very common in the northern part of the country, it is not Islamic and called for a stop to it adding that though people no longer speak about it lately, the practice was still ongoing.
Describing FGM as a violation on human right, she added that, the practice is a cultural tradition deeply rooted in inequality between sexes.
Over the years, the Al-Hayaat foundation has made positive impact in the lives of the vulnerable, especially women and orphans by making donations to orphanages across the country, creating awareness on cervical cancer and offering free cancer screening to people especially those in remote areas.
The foundation also focuses on prioritising issues concerning discrimination and violence against women.
By Raissa Sambou