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"The Nobel Prize and The African Woman"------by Kwei Quartey

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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 06:10 PM
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"The Nobel Prize and The African Woman"------by Kwei Quartey

The Nobel Prize and The African Woman

By Kwei Quartey,

Women have a huge presence not only in marketplaces and other trading venues all over Ghana, but on farmland.
As anyone who has visited or lived in the country will confirm, Ghanaian women have extraordinary physical strength and stamina. Although men generally clear and prepare land for crops, the women do the weeding, planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and marketing of the harvest. In this way, they are responsible for an estimated 70-80% of food consumed in Ghana, contributing around 48% of the Gross Domestic Product, a laudable achievement by any measure.
The command Ghanaian women wield in agricultural activity is not mirrored in Ghanas formalprivate and public sector, where women are found mostly in the lower echelons of economic activity. They comprise less than 4% of the professional/technical and administrative staff in the labor force. So, for example, if you go into banks in Accra or another major Ghanaian city, female tellers and financial officers will likely outnumber their male counterparts, but upstairs in the boardroom, womens presence is lacking.
Why is that? Like Leymah Gbowee and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Ghanaian women are every bit as innovative, enterprising and smart as men, so why dont we see more of them in managerial, professional and technical positions? To conclude that it must be due to discriminatory employment practices would be to miss a much more fundamental problem. Starting in primary school, the gender gap widens at each successive level of education. In 2000, the percentages of Ghanas girls and boys in Junior Secondary School (JSS) were 45 and 55% respectively; in Senior Secondary School girls accounted for 33% of the student population, and at the tertiary level it was only 25%.
There are many barriers to girls education at issue, among them conservative traditional beliefs about the role of girls and women in society, gender biases in the classroom toward boys and corresponding low self-esteem in girls, inadequate counseling services for girls, teasing and sexual harassment of girls, poor sanitary facilities, early marriage and, as I ruefully discovered in a failed attempt to sponsor a Ghanaian girl through secondary school, teenage pregnancy. All these factors, particularly the last, contribute to a troubling high dropout rate among girls.
Via a number of proposed steps, the Ghana Government has committed to a National Vision of increasing girls access to education and to the promotion of retention of girls through basic education and beyond. But the government is unlikely to single-handedly achieve these goals. It will take the dedicated efforts of organizations like WIPSEN-Africa to really move girls education forward.
There is still a mountain of work to do before we see more African women move into the professional, technical and managerial classes, let alone see them receive many more Nobel Prizes. Has the era of the African woman arrived? Perhaps not yet, but it will.

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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-21-11 07:31 PM
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1. it's good to see folks are stil reading this...even if they aren't replying..
It's just important to get the "message" out there. Even if there's nothing to say. I feel that way so much these days. I read...and get overwhelmed...and I just don't know what to say because the news just keeps getting worse and worse and sometimes I feel OVERWHELMED with the HORROR.'s important to keep reading ...and then go on and work for MAKING A BETTER WORLD! We CAN DO IT
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