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.


  1. OY, welcome back from the other side

    dont we still dis-inherit our own father's names and take up their last names?

    It is actually the educated hypocrites that anger me most but I recognize that change needs time, and that we cannot un-do centuries worth of misogynist notions in a couple of decades. We can only continue to tell our daughters to reach for their stars.

  2. You know, I forgot about the fact that we change our last names.....somehow that doesn't bother me in the least. I wonder why.

    But yeah, I suppose just as we've been told to reach for the starts, we'll tell our daughters and sons the same thing, and they too will spread the word. Maybe one day change will be complete.

  3. I think the important thing is to decide that your worth as a women should not be defined by society but by YOU. We should all work to change these limiting stereotypes about who or what a good woman is.

  4. @Nana- you're right. We determine our own worth......
    How do we go about changing stereotypes though? How do we convince our more traditional brothers and sisters that an educated woman is not necessarily a bad/evil/too known woman? Does it even matter that we succeed in changing their minds?