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Opinions of Monday, 2 August 2021

Columnist: Emily A. A. Mensah

No Africa without a woman

Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo

Women-Connect Conference is an annual conference designed to expand the network of Ghanaian women globally, by connecting their diverse personalities and expertise to that of the world and to drive social impact.

31st of July, 2021 marked exactly 59 years since the Pan-African Women’s Organization (PAWO) first commemorated the African Woman's contribution towards advancing the cause of women. Efforts were made by our mothers not only towards the realization of political freedom, but also the attainment of social and cultural independence of women.

All over the world, women have had to face minority- from politics, through professions to social empowerment issues.

It is a joy, however, to say today that we have come a long way. Today, we see manifestations of these efforts in our daily governance, policy conversations, and daily discourse. That is why celebrating Africa's Women's Day cannot be over-emphasized.

It goes without saying that we are far from arrival. It is interesting to know that since the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by the United Nations in 1979, a country like the United States of America, though signed on, is yet to ratify this treaty. It tells us as a continent that, the battle is far from over.

Today, Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Ghana's premier university, the University of Ghana, Legon and she is an African Woman.

Recently, I came across a novel written by Nawal El Saadawi, Woman at Point Zero, which recounts the writer's meeting with Firdaus, a female prisoner in Qanatir Prison who agreed to tell her life story before her execution.

It is unfortunate for me to admit that, regardless of all the relentless efforts to recognize the important role of women on the continent of Africa, 'Firdaus' still exist in our modern-day Africa some 46 years after this sad story was told. Patriarchy silently creeps into our every endeavour, discourse, and statute, making the fight challenging every single day.

Here, is the good news, we are also far from giving up. We, as women, are not giving up. We will continue to constructively challenge the status quo until patriarchy gives way to equity.

We are unique in our own rights, in like manner, our challenges are unique. I am pleased, however, to see Ghanaian women and women on the continent alike break frontiers in diversified areas such as science, politics, engineering, robotics, and academia, just to mention a few.

This is why Women-Connect Conference has committed itself to being part of the discourse through its annual conferences and post-event activities, to see the African woman bold and empowered.

The second edition of our conference will come off in the last quarter of 2021. There would be a launch that would highlight further details of the upcoming event.

Happy Africa Women's Day to every woman on the continent.