Marginalization is the exclusion of an individual or group of individuals from meaningful participation in society
It is recognized all over the world, since the beginning of the earth, that women play important roles in the development of society. We all know that women are the best managers. They took care of households with little funds available to them. They are masters of management in every situation you and I can imagine.
Unfortunately they are relegated to perpetual neglect and marginalization to the extent that they are not involved in the decision making processes that affect their social, political and economic living condition. They are considered to be “fetchers of water and hewers of wood” and only good for the kitchen.
In a statement presented in Parliament to mark the International Women's Day, which falls on March 8 every year, Hajia Mary Salifu Boforo, member for Savelugu and Deputy Majority Chief Whip said "Lack of quality health care and violence against women are still part of our everyday life. in education, the country did not fully implement the affirmative action policy, which started several years ago, which resulted in high illiteracy among women as compared to men.” (Source-GNA, Accra)
During a sensitization community forum, a few women were present and when a question was asked as to why there were few women at the forum, a man answered that “they are busy”. When he was asked what business the women were doing such that they could not attend a community meeting, he answered that they were busy in the kitchen. So, for a total of sixty –three participants, only nine women were present. A typical example of gross marginalization of women is the situation where a a man head a so call “Witch Camp” at Bambaga in the Upper West Region.
Men mistakenly consider themselves to be more knowledgeable than their counterpart women. This is no reasoning because women in some countries have proven to be better in knowledge than men.
The problem is that female children have not been given opportunities to attain high levels of education. This is considered to be intentional for men to continue to keep their positions as decision makers.
Some traditional cultural practices have made it difficult for women to strife for positions in communities. For example, a woman who has been kept in isolation for one year, because of the death of her husband is not involved in a community forum to discuss community issues.
Consider the trokosi system in which a young woman is forcibly sent to a shrine to be married by the fetish priest to pacify the gods for a crime another family person has committed. She does everything for the priest to gain from and at the same time, the woman must be catered for by her family. The woman has no freedom to do anything she wishes for herself. Even though the system has been banished, stringent measures, such as enforcement of laws, need to be put in place to ensure that it did not re-occur.
Women also lack the needed courage and confidence to contest for high positions at community levels, district, regional and national levels. It is difficult for a woman to contest for a position held by her brother in law, her husband or a family member.
Further more, marriage and reproduction of a large number of children is another hindrance to women education which makes it uneasy for their involvement in decision making
To forestall these human errors, there is the need to ensure that the girl child is sent to school. There is need to formulate laws that makes I compulsory for parents to send, particularly, girl children to school. With enormous knowledge, a woman will strife for position and get involved in the decision making process.
Widowhood rites that retard women progress must be forbidden through the passage stringent laws to regulate bad tradition and cultural practices.
Women who have attained certain levels of education must strive for higher workplace and political positions for them to participate in decision making. This will encourage the young ones to make it to higher school levels.
Women in high positions must mentor young girls, particularly those in rural communities, to encourage them for participation in decision making.
In order to ensure equality, we need to put in place measures such as affirmative action programs aimed at increasing the number of women in public positions. So far, only 14% of District Chief Executive positions an 9% Parliamentary seats are held by women in Ghana.
These will help enhance democratic and accountable governance at the local and national level.
“And women’s progress is more than a matter of morality. It is a political, economic, social and security imperative for the United States and for every nation represented in this graduating class. If you want to know how stable, healthy, and democratic a country is, look at its women, look at its girls. (Emphasis mine) ”- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s commencement address at Barnard College .
By Lloyd Paul Ahorney