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Feature Article of Monday, 1 October 2012

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

Women In Ghana Deserve Better From Ghanaian Society

Than Is Presently The Case

By Kofi Thompson

In a scene repeated daily in thousands of family homes across Ghana, women come home in the evening - from working in their farms, market-stalls, shops, sundry businesses, offices in public and private entities - and change from their work-clothes into more casual clothes, to prepare and serve the family's evening meal.

Be they lawyers, doctors, accountants, engineers, research scientists, dressmakers, market women or farmers, those amongst them who have them, often wake up at dawn to ensure that their children are readied for school, and that each member of the family can have breakfast and a packed-lunch for the day.

Alas, it is a thankless family task that is invariably taken for granted by their husbands and children.

And in a nation full of philandering males, many children owe the stable home environment they grow up in, to the forbearance of their more responsible and enterprising mothers.

Indeed, there are many successful women and men in Ghana who owe their high status in society, mainly to the sacrifices made by their mothers to ensure their education.

And those who travel on our nation's highways late at night, for example, will attest to the fact that pick-up trucks carrying farm produce, with the women owners of the said agricultural produce squeezed into the tiniest of sitting spaces in the pick-up trucks' buckets, or atop the produce, are indeed a familiar sight on roads nationwide.

And those brave and hard-working women are at it rain or shine. As a matter of fact, the purchase and distribution of food in our country, is largely in the hands of women entrepreneurs - who also dominate large areas of the informal sector of Ghana's real economy.

Has the time not come, dear reader, for our nation to end the marginalisation of women in Ghanaian society - and finally acknowledge their immense contribution to the development of the enterprise Ghana, over the years since independence?

As we speak, valuable taxpayers' money is being poured into that financial equivalent of a blackhole, otherwise known as the "Brand Ghana Office" at the Osu Castle.

Why should we tolerate the lunacy of the national treasury paying the earth for daft ideas from the mediocre individuals ensconced there - ideas that by definition are at best ephemeral outcomes that can easily be made complete nonsense of, by uncontrollable events, in an instant - when fairness to Ghanaian women can win the enterprise Ghana plaudits worldwide, at zero cost to hapless taxpayers, I ask?

The question that patriotic, independent-minded and discerning voters must pose to our political parties and hard-of-hearing politicians, is: Would Ghanaians not be far better off putting their nation on the world map, much more effectively, by getting all our political parties to agree that the constitution ought to be amended: to reserve half the seats in Parliament for women; ensure that half of the total number of government ministers at any given point in time is allotted to women; and reserve half the seats on the boards of all public entities to women?

Will that not immediately gain the world's attention and admiration - and forever be pointed out as an example worthy of emulation, by students attending civics classes in high schools and political science lectures in universities worldwide?

(Incidentally, will such a simple idea that costs absolutely no money, ever emanate from the so-called "Brand Ghana Office" - especially one that will have such long-lasting and positive effect, on Ghana's image globally, I ask? But I digress.)

Our homeland Ghana will be a much better place if Ghanaian womenfolk played an equal leadership role in society.

Would there not probably be less high-level corruption in the public sector, for example, dear reader - Ghanaian women being generally more honest than their menfolk?

So let us finally affirm the important role women play in Ghanaian society, by making the constitutional changes suggested above.

It is time the contribution of Ghanaian women to nation-building was acknowledged by us all. They most certainly deserve better from Ghanaian society than is presently the case. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com

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