Discrimination Against Women And Its Negative Repercussions In Ghana’s Development Process: A Critical Appraisal

The Ghanaian culture and for that matter, the African culture is mainly patriarchy-biased; and this situation gives ample room for male domination and superiority over their female counterparts in every sphere of human endeavor for survival, progress, advancement and prosperity of Ghana and Africa.

This state of affairs is so because of the age-old patriarchy ideal that has existed in the human society up to the present time.

However, in the present 21st Century of mankind history, there has been dramatic change now, and a wind of change is currently blowing globally against this entrenched age-old patriarchy ideal. And women all over the world have begun to challenge the patriarchy ideal; and to assert themselves as equals to their men counterparts.

Women all over the world have come in solidarity to fight for their rights and freedom by way of empowering and emancipating themselves to determine their status in the modern world today.

Feminism or the feminist ideal is the weapon that women all over the world are now using to fight against the patriarchy ideal that has considerably influenced and impacted in the Ghanaian and African situations as far as subjugation, domination and suppression of women by their male counterparts are concerned.

It is obvious that due to discrimination against women in the present Ghanaian society, they have been denied and deprived of many roles that they can play in the developmental process of Ghana to benefit Ghana greatly.

This article primarily seeks to advocate and to discuss the opportunities and roles that Ghanaian women should be given in the midst of discrimination against them as a result of the Ghanaian culture, in the governance and developmental process of Ghana since independence from British colonial rule on 6th March, 1957.

The first president of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of blessed memory recognized the importance of women and the roles that they can play in the governance and development of the country. So he involved some women in the politics and governance of the country by offering them ministerial posts and influential positions to assist in the development process of the country.

President Nkrumah involved women in many important organizations and corporations such as the Convention People’s Party, the Builders Brigade, the Cocoa Marketing Board, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation etc.

In fact, President Nkrumah gave some positions and opportunities that were regarded as male domain to women because he knew how women can be efficient and effective; and even sometimes better than men, when given roles to play in the governance of the country.

Notwithstanding the opportunities and roles that President Nkrumah gave to capable Ghanaian women to occupy in the developmental process of the country, women in general suffered discrimination as a result of the patriarchy biased Ghanaian culture.

Since the era of Nkrumah up to date Ghanaian women involvement in the developmental process of the country is neglible and wanting because women are a formidable force in their contributions to the development process of any country in the world today.

Owing to their abilities and capabilities which are comparable to that of men in every way, women had risen to assume leadership of rule in some countries in the past like Ceylon; and in the recent past like Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain and Mrs. Celina Johnson of Liberia.

Sincerely, women’s roles and their contributions to the development process of societies of countries in the past and in the modern world is significant and tremendous; and comparable to that of men!

Knowing the importance and their great contributions to the development process of countries all over the world today, the great illustrious son of Ghana, His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary General of blessed memory made a very important speech on March 8, 2003 on the occasion of the celebration of International Women’s Day which is significant and relevant on the issue of women discrimination and emancipation. And I quote it here for the purpose of this article.

It reads as follows: “Study after study has shown that there is no effective development strategy in which women do not play a central role, when women are fully involved, the benefits can be seen immediately families are healthier and better fed, their income, savings and reinvestment go up. And what is true of families is also true of communities and in the long run of whole countries. That means that all our work for development from agriculture to health from environmental protection to water resource management – must focus on the needs and priorities of women. It means promoting the education of girls who form the majority of the children who are not in school. It means bringing literacy to the half billion adult women who cannot read or write – and who make up two-thirds of the world’s adult illiterates.

A careful analysis and evaluation of Mr. Kofi Annan’s speech shows how serious the discrimination against women is; and how itsnegative repercussions in the modern world today affects economic growth, development and prosperity of countries.

In the light of Kofi Annan’s speech, one can not dispute the discrimination against women in the Ghanaian society, particularly in the political arena and governance of the country at the present time.

A careful analysis in terms of figures indicates a big disparity between men and women holding ministerial appointments and key positions in the governance of the country by the present ruling government of His Excellency President Nana Akuffo Addo of the NationalistPatriotic party.

Unfortunately at the time of writing this article,beaurocracy and official down had made it difficult to get access to the exact figures to support my assertion of disparity in representation between men and women in the present ruling government of His Excellency President Nana Akuffo Addo.

However, the fact still remains that women representation in the present ruling government of His Excellency President Nana Akuffo Addo is comparatively neglible and similar to what prevailed in previous governments of the country after the era of President Nkrumah’s rule.

In fact, the trend in women representation in previous governments of the country had been fluctuating and again, unfortunately, time, space and volume of this article will not make it possible for me to provide exact figures to support my assertion on the discrimination against women in the present Ghanaian society, which emanates from the Ghanaian culture.

Mrs. AyorkorBotchway the current Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mrs. Alieu Mahama, the current Minister in charge of Local Government etc are some of the prominent capable Ghanaian women who are presently contributing effectively in the development process of Ghana.

In my opinion, it is highly imperative at the present time in the annals of Ghana’s developmental process since independence to involve more women in the governance of the country; and the developmental programmes of the country.

This will definitely ensure an accelerated momentum of pace for the development of the country.

It will be of interest to corroborate my pro stand against women discrimination in the Ghanaian society with the following figures captured recently on Ghana’s population disparity between men and women.

According to the statistics released by country meters world population 2005 Ghana’s population stand as follows:

Male: 12,024845,00

Female: 12,633,978,00

Source: World starts info!

Website: http://enworldstarts.info.africa

Based on the above figures in Ghana’s population of the ratio between men and women, women out number men; and it is unjustified that men should dominate women and suppress them in all fields of human endeavor in the development of the country.

As already established, it is the patriarchy-biased Ghanaian culture that has determined the positions and roles that women should play in the development process of the country. In fact, this is detrimental in the development of the country as a whole.

Personally, I advocate and propagate that the discrimination against women in the Ghanaian society is not right and is unjustified. It must therefore be reviewed now and changed to make it possible for women to contribute positively to the continual development process of the country.

To this end, I believe and hope that Ghanaian feminist advocates will rise to the occasion in solidarity with their counterparts the world over to make pragmatic efforts to impress on Ghanaians cultural authorities and experts to bring about a positive change of this patriarchy ideal in the Ghanaian society. This will make it possible for Ghanaian women to assert themselves and become equal with their men counterparts in the development process of the country.

In conclusion, I state categorically with much optimism that Ghanaian women of today are equally capable as their men counterparts in all fields of human endeavor. And therefore they should be given ample opportunities and roles to play in the present development process of the country. This will guarantee an accelerated development pace that will take the country by leaps and bounds to experience optimum economic growth, development and prosperity. Women are indeed indispensable in the development process of countries!

The writer ia a Theatre Critic

By Michael Akenoo

Show More
Back to top button