Afia, I write in response to the question you asked a week ago. You asked whether the issue of gender equality is possible in our contemporary world. I will hit the nail right on the head and will be brief as possible. I could feel the pain in your voice when you referred to an incident at Marwako Restaurant where a Lebanese supervisor cruelly dipped the face of a Ghanaian staff, Evelyn Boakye, in pepper paste. As a matter of fact, it’s always disheartening to hear of such punishments meted out to women.
Tragic in our permissive society, is the alarming frequency and intensity with which some people disregard women. Women in the eyes of many are regarded as the weaker vessels.
Afia, my simple answer to your question is “Yes! Gender equality is possible”. I have always held the view that creation would have been incomplete without women in society. Right from creation to our contemporary times, women have proven that they are beyond capable.
In all societies throughout the world, women have risen to occupy key positions to contribute to the development in all facets of life. Women have rubbed shoulders with their male counterparts as engineers, lawyers, ministers of state, teachers, nurses and the high position of the presidency.
The remarkable career success of women across the world is no news to the ordinary Ghanaian. During the period of Nigeria’s struggle for political independence, the positive role played by women like Mrs Flora Azikwe and Margaret Ekpo can never be lost from the memory of their admirers. The unforgettable role played by Yaa Asantewaa in the history of the Ashantis will forever remain fresh in our memories. I dare say that her bravery and sheer display of patriotism dwarfed and eclipsed those of her male counterparts. These personalities may be abstract to you. Let me bring you home and cite my mother as an example. She played the role of a father and a mother by single-handedly taking care of the family.
Afia, men will continue to be men for women to remain women. Don’t misunderstand me. I mean, under no circumstance should females be transformed into males. Our differences as males and females are the cause of our unity. I hope you do not see me as a chauvinist in the eye of your mind.
To transform a female into a male or the vice versa is to oppose the natural order either by choice or by force. This is where gender equality has been misconstrued. Gender equality is therefore not about “sameness” in terms of sex but about equal access to job opportunities, educational institutions and many more without any segregation based on gender.
Afia, earlier in this letter, I indicated that “Yes! Gender equality is possible”. Every “Yes” on planet earth comes with a responsibility. You are your own woman. I therefore believe that you will make informed choices anytime the need arises.
Women in the 21st century should be bold to man the affairs of their respective communities and the nation as a whole. The primitive idea that some positions are for only men should be discarded into the dustbins of the Dark Ages.
Afia, I end this letter with the words of one of my finest and prolific writers of all time, the late Efo Kodjo Mawugbe. In his award winning book, “In the Chest of a Woman”, Nana Yaa retorted that “in the chest of a woman is not only the extension of breast and a feeble heart but a flaming desire to possess and use power”.
” Feminism is not about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s all about changing the way the world perceives that strength”, so says G.D Anderson.
Written by Effah Elvis, a Student of the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.