Monday, April 27, 2009

the worth of an individual

One of the things I've noticed and sometimes struggled to understand is how the worth of a woman is determined in Ghana. I remember someone telling me when I was 13, that if i didnt learn to like cooking, I'd get married and have my husband send me back to my mother's house because I cant cook. Fast foward about ten years and half serious/half joking conversations between some of my friends and I is about how lucky/unlucky our husbands will be because of our cooking skills.

A recent conversation I had with a family member touched on the issue of the worth of a woman. Now, since this family member loves me dearly and beyond all things, there's no doubt that for this person and the rest of my family, my worth is inherent in myself. We talked about how the role of an educated woman in the home and I heard second hand, the views of some young men and women my age about the role of a woman and how "difficult"it can be to live with an educated woman because these women are "too known" and will have the guts to argue with a man.
Err, are all human beings not allowed to express their opinions? I think the sad part for me, was that these views are held by men and women in universities. If 25 y/o men and women still think like this, what hope is there for changing the roles that women have found themselves in over the course of history? Why are some of our male collegues so "intimidated" by or "uncomfortable" with us?

I also realize that a woman in my society is either referred to as so and so's daughter, asimasi's wife, this person's mother. A man however is Mr X. So why is there that double standard? On one hand,women and girls being encouraged to go to school as far as they can, to climb the cooperate ladder, to be involved in politics and healthcare and reform and education and engineering and in all aspects of life.......and yet on the other hand, some people are still uncomfortable with women rubbing shoulders with men. Why is this? what am I not getting?

Don't get me wrong, I dont think men=women. I think that both genders are different and beautiful in their own right and have their strengths and weaknesses. My worth as a modern woman has nothing to do with how like a man I can be in whatever field or regard. I dont even think that this should be the case. But seriously, I'd like to be known as "me". Not always this person's sister or daughter or wife or mother. Yes those are roles that I play or God willing will play, but I dont think that my entire identity hangs on those.

So again, the point of this post is not immediately clear. I'm simply putting my thoughts to paper (or a screen). Please share any and all thoughts....I'd love to hear them.

Angst, uncertainty and life

A friend of mine sent me a word document. It was a medical school graduation address and I loved it. Why? Well, because it's good to remember that there's a point to this journey and there's an end to this phase. But more importantly, it cleared up some things for me. The article is long and I wont put it all here (who knows what copyright rules I might break) but the gist of the article was this: this author, an MD, is full of angst. He describes medicine as the best and the worst thing he's ever done with himself and sometimes he's not entirely sure why he chose to become a doctor. Why do I care? because this re-assures me that angst and uncertainty are ok. They are part of life and of growing up and sometimes, in working out the why's, how's, when's and wherefores (not sure if that's a word, but I like the sound of it), some measure of clarity can be found. Yes, even in confusion.

So it doesn't matter if this post makes a whole lot of sense. And it doesn't matter if I always make sense of my life and my calling. It's ok if I sometimes wonder why I chose this and what that will look like and when will I move to Gh finally and where will I do residency............questions are ok, answers are nice but are not always readily available or clear........that's ok too.

I'm beating a dead horse I know, but this to me is very very liberating. I dont have all the answers, and I dont have to have all the answers. How cool is that? :)

Anyways to a shout-out to my friend who may never read this blog. Thanks for helping me find clarity in my confusion. God bless you!