WOMEN’S UNEQUAL STATUS AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
The unequal status of women in the Ghanaian society is still a major hindrance to community development and progress.
Do you know that many women continue to be attacked verbally or physically for voicing their opinion on community and other societal issues?
It’s still generally believed here in Ghana and other parts of Africa that women have no right to challenge authority. If you do the consequences can be dire for you and your family.
A vocal woman who just wants the good of his community is often tagged as behaving like a man, ‘too known’ or simply difficult and unbearable.
Thus, even if a woman feels strongly that certain things are not going well in her community she is unable to voice it out openly because the powers that be will not take it kindly.
Women therefore remain marginalised and excluded from key decision making groups, bodies and institutions; a situation which is slowing down the pace of development in most parts of the country.
Last week a man complained to me that a lady in his neighbourhood (at New Mamprobi in Accra) is the cause of their plight – she is the reason why their road remains bad and without gutters. Her charge was that she confronted their Member of Parliament over lack of development in the area, and because of her actions the MP made sure the area (the particular street on which she resides) is excluded from current community road improvement and gutter construction projects. He lamented: “ the woman is not good at all, she thinks she is a man, in fact she is too difficult”.
I believe all that this woman wanted was the good of her community. But members of the community now see her as their enemy. They are actually upset with her – which is worrying.
Although Article one of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…” this is hardly the case for most women today – not only in Ghana.
Community development ought to be a shared responsibility between men and women. It’s about time we all understand that women’s voice only adds to the development of the area – it does not subtract from it.
The general perception that women’s opinion do not matter must change for Ghana to move forward faster.
BY: ROSEMARY KAYI
(Executive Director – Stand Ghana)