Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Does Ghana need an affirmative action law for women?

In the Ghanaian Chronicle, I. K. Gyasi says no tokenism is necessary for Ghana’s women.

I admit that Ghanaian women still face obstacles and suffer injustices. Ideas of male physical and mental superiority, inhuman widowhood rites, unjust accusations of witchcraft against older women with consequent confinement and even torture of such women, attempts to deprive widows and their children of a portion of the deceased husband's property, female genital mutilation and other injustices still plague our women, whether educated or not.

However, those agitators who create the impression by implications that our women have achieved nothing and that there is a deliberate policy to keep women down ought to face two realities.

In the first place, there is no official national policy that deliberately sets out to keep our women down. Secondly, Ghanaian women, both the educated and uneducated, have demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that they have what it takes to make a success of their lives without affirmative action or tokenism.

A common charge brought up by women's advocates is lack of education or lack of educational advancement for our women.

…Of course, I am willing to admit that, perhaps, here and there, a female appointment may have been the result of political patronage or some other consideration. But can we honestly say that, if that is even true, some male appointments have also not been the result of political patronage or some other considerations?

In any case, did the women not have to be qualified first? Were they appointed because they had beautiful faces or could talk?

As I admitted above, there are still obstacles that slow down or prevent women's advancement in certain areas. But women's rights advocates should accentuate the positives by showing how far they have come instead of indulging in self-pity and self-denigration. They can make it if they want to.

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