This past week was highly reflective for me. International Women’s Day came along and so did the flood of female-glorifying posts and actions everywhere I turned. Being serenaded by so much estrogen led me to take note of the myriad ways the minority in gender have stood up for themselves and why the day is such a profound one. Gender equality is a whole lecture on its own and every continent/region has different dynamics with regards to if it can be labelled a problem or otherwise, and what the way forward is in that regard.
My earliest encounter with gender disparity takes me far back to Judith Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf. A female as big as Shakespeare, only in hypothetical terms, was causing quite a stir back in the early 20th century. Telling, isn’t it? But that never stopped any woman from making an impact in her field of choice. Right here in Ghana, Yaa Asantewaa is a household name and so is Efua Sutherland. However, when you sieve through the history of Ghana, female personalities I bet you have never heard of made notable impacts and worked as diligently as their male counterparts who have been given more credence. Sophia Doku, Susanna Al-Hassan, Mabel Danquah. Do these names ring a bell? No, I suppose. In recent times however, awarding more women with positions of authority seems to be coupled with celebrating them. Joyce Bamford Addo, Ama Ata Aidoo, Nana Konadu Rawlings, Shirley Frimpong Manso, Joyce Aryee and others are reference names in their respective fields. A step in the right direction, surely. But the likes of Ruth Medufia are still not being given their flowers while they are still fresh.
Conversations regarding gender disparity should be informed and solution-based rather than being a witch-hunt for the opposite gender, which is a growing trend on social media.
It is quite easy for time to rob us of the importance of an age-old issue. Through very little fault of ours, the menace of gender inequality has become a normalcy because of how long it has been on the radar. It is all too easy to downplay the strides that have been made in an effort to mend the disparity. Conversely, the lack of appreciation for these steps or the viewing of these steps as merely small wins allows women to go big when going for the prize. In the long run, achievements by women in various fields should be celebrated more on the count of merit than due to the fact that the odds were against her. Perhaps, very idealistic. But with the current trajectory of women acing their roles in power, it is increasingly becoming a delightful normalcy for women to get plaudits.
I must say, although this topic is a highly sensitive one, caution must be given to the way it is addressed. Quite simply, logic over emotion should be the way to go about things. Conversations regarding gender disparity should be informed and solution-based rather than being a witch-hunt for the opposite gender, which is a growing trend on social media.