Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all"

Monday March 8th was International Women's Day. I felt a need to do something about this and like everything in Ghana it would all be done last minute. So with the help of the wonderful Joan at the all girls high school-St. Francis in Jirapa she had her students do an essay competition on the topic for the day. Which was "Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all". Joan selected the best 3 essays and we took them to Wa, took them on the radio and had a discussion about women's rights and then they read their essays. These girls are very bright, composed, patient, and very motivated. They all did a wonderful job representing their country and school and its never too soon to start that media career. Ultimately I hoped to give the students a chance to share their experience and knowledge while building their confidence and skills. I wanted them to feel important, capable, and influential in their country especially when it comes to women's rights. I don't want them to be the typical shy, passive, reserved girl who won't stand up for what she deserves. By speaking on the radio it gave these girls a sense of confidence and importance that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

As promised I am going to post some pictures of the girls at the radio station and post their essays for all to read! Enjoy!!

Ali Regina Soah

"As a Form 1 student of St. Francis Girls Senior High School, I am privileged to be given the opportunity to speak on the topic of this august occasion: International Women’s Day.
To begin with, Rights are the basic things every human, both men and women, need and must have for our country of Ghana to function well. These rights should be respected and backed by law and the State. Women in our country and the world at large need to enjoy the same rights as men, without any discrimination, but rather equally.
Our mothers must have the right to a decent life. They must not be denied their right to live decently and be treated fairly. Most women in our communities are sometimes maltreated in various ways . For instance, a woman who is accused of being a witch goes through hell in the community. She is denied food, she is made to sleep with a dead corpse, and worst of all she is made to swallow the saliva of a dead person which is very poisonous and can cause a health hazard to her, which can also lead to her death. Through these actions which her community inflicts upon her, she is denied the right to a decent life.
Also, many women are denied their right to education. In a situation where a family is poor, where a boy and a girl’s education is involved, the boy is given the opportunity to go to school while the girl is asked to trade to supplement the family budget. The girl may be asked to sell water on the street, or worse yet, she may enter prostitution. As she engages herself in prostitution, she has a risk of contracting deadly diseases, such as Human Immune-Deficiency virus ( HIV) which later develops into the disease called Acquired Immune Deficiency syndrome ( AIDS) . She might also become pregnant. If she decides not to keep the pregnancy she may use all sorts of crude and highly unsanitary methods to end her pregnancy, which might cause her to be barren the rest of her life or even lead to her death.

Another area where women suffer because they do not have equal rights is in the area of marriage. In Ghanaian society, our mothers were not given the chance to choose a life time partner as the men can do. Many women are forced into marriage at a very early stage in their lives. Due to being forced to marry too early, they do not get a chance to develop their God given talents and abilities. For instance, in a situation where woman is given out to marry the chief of the land she only sits down and folds her arms, watching things while they happen. Instead of her also working to support herself and to use her God given talents, she fears the man so much that she only sits down beside him and then may develop troubles in her head which can lead to her suffering from mental stress.

In a nutshell, women should be give the right to a decent life. That is to say, they should not be denied their right to live peacefully and productively and in harmony with society. They should also be educated to the same heights as men . They should be given the chance to choose a life time partner in order that she may develop her God given abilities instead of ending p in some man’s house where she lives with fear and in an unjust situation.
Equal opportunities, especially in education, should be assured for all women. A girl should not be dropped out of school while a boy continues his education. Unfortunately for women, our local people believe that if a family educates a woman, that at the end of the day she will end up in a man’s house, forgetting that when she is educated she will impact the knowledge of her children, leading to the progress of our entire nation. But men will only concentrate on himself alone, instead of trying to also impact his knowledge upon his children in order to broaden their minds. As the saying goes, “ If you educate a man you have educated an individual but if you educate a woman, you have educated the nation of Ghana and the world at large.” For this reason, all women should be given equal opportunities for education in order that the entire nation can make progress.

Equal opportunities for women to work should also be provided if our nation is to make progress. Women should be allowed to work just as men are. As the adage states, “ What men can do, women can do he same and even do it better.” If women are given the same opportunities to work as men, our country will be a happier, more progressive place , causing harmony to grow in our land. By giving women equal opportunities and equal rights to be educated, to work, to be treated decently in the community and in marriage, every person, man and woman, will contribute to making Ghana a country of progress for all."

Offei Jemimah Rukaya

"I am a Form 1 student at St. Francis Girls Senior High School and have the honor of speaking today, International women’s Day, about the need for making sure all women in Ghana receive equal rights and equal opportunities so that there will be progress for all citizens of our country.

Women should be given the same opportunities as men so that our nation will progress. For example, if a man and a woman enter the same car and proceed at the same speed, they will both reach their destination at the same time. So it is with the opportunities that should be given to women to help our nation prosper. When a man is given an expensive car and a woman only receives an old one, the man will reach the destination with much greater ease and comfort than the woman. Women who are vulnerable and who have fewer advantages in society need to be receive all the support we can find in order to build up their personality, broaden their horizons, and kill the inferiority complex within them in order for them to contribute their quota in building up our nation. This goal can be achieved by making sure all women have access to education, the right to make decisions about their own lives, and the chance to work at all jobs for which they are qualified.

First, As we will all agree, education of all people is the key to progress for our nation. Both women and men have the right to an education in our country, but when a woman reaches a certain stage it is presumed by our people that she cannot do anything apart from the kitchen where she prepares for the family. For this reason, society often does not encourage women to make use of the equal opportunity for education that our nation has made available. For example, I know a brilliant girl at stage six who was given out for marriage at the age of nine . This cultural practice means that she and many other girls have been denied the right to an education and forced to marry against their will. When this practice of forced marriage is erased from the minds of our people it will create progress for everyone in Ghana.

Secondly, women should be given the right to make decisions that affect their community and the nation at large. Women are very talented but they are often denied the right of making decisions. For example, the elders of certain communities may go to the Chief’s house to make decisions that will be forced on women. Whether these decisions are good or bad for the woman, she must accept them. But it should not be like this. Women should be given the opportunity to participate in decision making that directly affect their lives, in order to help build a good nation for us all.

Last, but not least, when good and right jobs are offered to women everyone will know that they can think of ways to improve the work place . They can work very hard but too often men always have it in their minds that women are not able to do anything. It is a proven fact that the work a man can do, a woman can also do. But often women are denied job opportunities. For example, if a woman and a man apply for the same job, even though the woman has the better job skills and everything it takes to do the job, often times the job goes to the man because men look down on women, saying a woman is not fit to hold that particular job. I propose that both women and men be given the rightful opportunity to work.

Finally, if women are given equal rights and equal opportunities by the government and our society , they will then be able to contribute toward the progress of all. We must therefore know, that if you educate a man, you educate one person but if you educate a woman, you educate the whole nation. Women in Ghana today are found working in high level positions like Her Lordship Georgina Woode who is now the first female to be Chief Justice of Ghana and Her Ladyship Joyce Bamfford Addo who is the first woman to be speaker of the Parliament of Ghana. These women are showing our nation that what men can do, women can also do, and do very well.

On this day of celebrating International Women’s Day in Ghana, let us promote in our political and society forums the benefits of equal rights and opportunities for women because with the collaboration of both men and women development and progress will come about for our entire nation."

Puopele Yeldibong Flora

"Speaking today as a proud Form 1 student of St. Francis Senior High School, I am honored to be selected to talk about International Women’s Day. I believe that women in our country we are first class citizens who should enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men, because by sharing in the responsibilities of our nation we women will turn our abilities into the betterment of the society and our nation of Ghana at large.

Rights are defined as privileges that people enjoy as a result of being human and also belonging to a group or organization. Opportunities are certain chances that make way for progress.

It is important on the International Day for Women to recognize that women have the right to be educated. Women in Ghana should be educated to the highest level and as far as they wish to go. In years past, women in Ghana were not allowed to go to school since it was perceived that the place of the woman is in the kitchen and therefore it would be of no importance for a family to dedicate their resources to educating a woman since she would someday get married and the husband would take care of her. In Ghana today, as a result of the 1992 constitution, has clearly outlined that women have the right to education. We can now see that women’s voices can then be heard in the political arena and what more do we see for women in our nation? Women now hold very important and prestigious positions in our nation, such as Mrs. Georgina Woode, our nation’s chief justice, and Mrs. Hannah Tetteh and Mrs. Afua Sutherland and many other women whose professional skills have allowed them to be able to create the awareness in other women that the place of a woman can extend beyond the kitchen, as it has too often been drummed into our ears for time to time.

Secondly, as a young female I believe that all women should be guaranteed the rights to their own personal health and bodily privacy and that nothing should be done to them against their wishes that will take away their right to live as a healthy female in our society.

Lastly, all women should have the legal right to own land property. This legal right gives women the right to acquire property. Laws should protect women so that no one should prevent her legal acquisition of property or seize her property against her wishes.

If women are given their full legal rights, our dear nation, Ghana, will progress and develop even further because we will be living up to the adage by the great and wise Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey who said, “ If you educate a man, you educate an individual . If you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation.”

There are many opportunities for progress and development in countries around the world where women have the same rights as men. Let us listen to the cry of women so that Mother Ghana will advance in peace and prosperity."

All of us and the radio presenter!


  1. I really liked those essays. Well done.

  2. Perhaps these girls will become lawyers, engineers, or diplomats. These essays speak to the heart of Ghana.

  3. Way to go Elyse! You are such a strong woman & happy to see you helping to promote Women's Rights in Ghana! "If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation." So true!

  4. I think three girls did a very good job on their essays. They will grow up to be strong independent women no matter what path they follow. You can be very proud of a job well done.
    Love you lots.