One of Ghana’s respected authors, Madam Ama Ata Aidoo, recently said that women’s marginalization can delay or cripple the development of any nation.
Madam Aidoo is the author of “Dilemma of the Ghost,” an inspirational African novel connecting Western to African culture by means of the marriage of a black man and a white woman.
Addressing several young females as the guest of honor on the occasion marking the 5th Anniversary of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA) held at a local resort in Sinkor, the acclaimed author said feminism is an ideology for life that should not be misconstrued.
“We women are not weak vessels as construed by many people, even including our fellow women. Therefore, it is counted upon your shoulders to prove the ultimate power you have that can transform your community, country and the world,” she said.
Madam Aidoo said it is important for women to recognize the power they possess.
Madam Aidoo, who served as Ghana’s Minister of Education, said African cultures have been misapplied in most cases and this has led to men seeing women as subjects rather than partners in progress.
“There are still practices in our African homes that are very ugly. Women cook chicken, for example, and men have the best share while they who prepare go malnourished due to lack of protein,” Madam Aidoo noted.
Geographically, she said, Africa is the center of the world and as such “we need to transcend the ancient systems of survival and develop our civilization that will not be in conflict with others and neither ridicules us as a people.”
Madam Aidoo expressed her gratitude to African women who have stood firm over the years to provide many other African women the opportunity to be heard and respected by their struggles for peace, justice and tranquility.
Also speaking at the Feminism Lecture Series titled “Herstory,” one of Liberia’s renowned female activists, Madam Etweda Cooper, said women are the rulers of the world, because men, in most cases, obey their orders.
“Be reminded that men don’t want to be disempowered and because they have such fear, they are fond of constructing ideologies that will always suppress us. Therefore you must be firm in defeating the fear of not engaging them meaningfully and constructively on issues of national concern as well as in your own homes,” Madam Cooper admonished young females aspiring to help society succeed in its development agenda.
She said the African proverb “Children seen but not heard” needs to be re-examined and improved upon for the good of society.
“Children, mainly girls, have a lot to offer to growth and development both at home and beyond. Please give them the chance to explore the means that will allow them to contribute to positive change,” the female activist admonished.
For her part, the founder and president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation (GPFA), Nobel Peace Laureate Madam Leymah Gbowee, said women should respond to what they are capable of doing and not their gender.
“Knowing that feminists are aware of the challenges they have to encounter daily, they must rise and live above the status quo of life,” Madam Gbowee noted. “You have to know that you are not second class citizens and have the confidence that you can do better.”
The Nobel Peace Laureate said her struggle for the emancipation of women from what she called ‘evil treatments’ and the establishment of peace in her home country, the rest of Africa and the world, is for the benefit of generations unborn.
“Even though we experience the results of our works today in so many different ways, it is for the sake of our unborn children we labor,” she said.
The three-day event, which took place at three separate venues, including the Monrovia City Hall, brought together nearly two hundred women and men from many sectors of the society, and included dance, lectures and a walk.