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Opinions of Thursday, 17 November 2011

Columnist: Kwarkye, Nana Abena Afriyie

Who carries the Bread Basket

By: Nana Abena Afriyie Kwarkye

The growth of every country's economy highly depends on the contribution of its citizens. The truth is that, the engine of growth needs to be constantly fuelled, the reason it functions well. In the same light when that engine is not maintained, it can break down permanently. Just as it’s a must to take our vehicles to the mechanic for regular check up, the main aim is to keep our cars most especially the engine in good shape. In Ghana, the engine is mostly fuelled by both the public and private sector. The informal sector has contributed immensely towards our growing economy.

The contribution of women in our society cannot be over emphasized. The role they play in paying their national dues is worth applauding. In my opinion, women carry the bread basket of the country. No matter how minute their effort is, we cannot write it off.

My little observation has exposed me to the fact that, most women double as wives and breadwinners as well. From dawn to dusk, most women are on the move just to provide the basic necessities of life for their family. My question is, do these women get appreciated or acknowledged for their contribution? The most recent Volta Lake disaster recorded a high percentage of women with their children strap to their back who lost their lives, “carrying the bread basket of their family.” They were coming from the market, which is a routine chore. What will women not do just to keep their family going?

Sometimes, I walk pass the market and see these women sitting right under the scorching sun every day. The scene that really moved me was when it was raining. Those without sheds had to sit in the rain under a very small umbrella. Rain or shine, these women need to put food on the table for their family. I interviewed one of these hard working Ghanaian women on her daily schedule which I will be sharing with you. The woman in question sells toffees, chewing gum, face towel to mention but a few.

Her day starts as early as 4:ooam.She goes about her normal house chores and takes care of a 5 year old child. She prepares his food and gets him ready for school. Just about 5:30am she heads for the road side with her child. She carries her goods in a flat pan on her head. Her son has to sit in the sun, and wait by the road side for his mum to make some sales in the early hours of the morning before he is taken to school at about 7:30 am.

The question that usually comes to mind is, is these women married or single parents? If they are married, where are their husbands? On top of that, they have to sprint home after a long day to prepare supper. In the western world, these responsibilities are shared. Paying of bills and doing domestic chores. I’m not advocating for same in Ghana but the recognition.

As a child, I saw my mum wake up each dawn to get her 4 girls ready for school, in addition to doing the house chores and her job of catering. She was always the first person to wake up but the last to go to bed. I’m still not sure she got the acknowledgement that was due her for her selfless support toward putting food on the table on a daily basis.

In conclusion I would like the society to recognize the contribution of women towards the growth of the country’s economy. No matter how little the contribution is, it will make a mighty economy just like little drops of water making a mighty ocean.

I salute all women who in their little way are carrying the bread basket of their family.

Kudosss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gallant women of Ghana.