EQUALITY OR NO EQUALITY
When asked whether women's crave for equality was good, a contestant at the Miss Xcel Plus Beauty Pageant hosted by the nation's broadcaster answered in the negative. I felt so disgusted. Could it be that she didn't understand the question? or it was out of sheer ignorance? Whatever her reason was, I believe equality should be the topmost agenda of every woman.
The United Nations convened the Fourth World Conference on Women on 4-15 September 1995 in Beijing, China. This Conference was widely known as 'The Beijing Conference. Delegates had prepared a Declaration and Platform for Action that aimed at achieving greater equality and opportunity for women. The three previous World Conferences were in Mexico City (1975), Copenhagen (1980) and Nairobi (1985).
Even though I was in secondary school, I remember very well that this conference sought among other things to advance and empower women in relation to women’s human rights, women in education, women and poverty, women in the decision-making process, the girl-child, violence against women and other areas of concern. The resulting documents of the Conference are The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
The Conference however had its resolutions misunderstood when delegates went back to their various countries and laid emphasis on ONLY one of the resolutions contained in the Beijing Declarion and Platform for Action. This was the 15th point and it read "Equal rights, opportunities and access to resources, equal sharing of responsibilities for the family by men and women, and a harmonious partnership between them are critical to their wellbeing and that of their families as well as to the consolidation of democracy........". Many Ghanaians misunderstood this to mean women sharing equal roles in the home and for that matter in the kitchen, and so wherever women were in the limelight, it was seen as rubbing shoulders with men. I simply do not see anything wrong with a man helping with the house chores, especially when there is no househelp around. What is more loving than a man washing together with his wife and discussing issues in their relationship?
From the little that I know, there is more to equality between men and women than the kitchen or home. Even in the home, some young men I spoke with said they will marry women who are gainfully employed and can contribute to the financial running of the home. How can this be possible when women are relegated to the background without equal access to education, health, the law, employment and the decision-making process? This was the main concerns that the Beijing Conference sought to address. "Women's empowerment and their full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision-making process and access to power, are fundamental for the achievement of equality, development and peace".
Since time immemorial, women have held various positions from the local, national, regional and international levels. In Ghana women have risen to be Professors in the various educational and research institutions, we have women holding positions in the religious bodies which hitherto was a male dominated area, women are now involved in the decision-making process both in the public and private sector. Kudos to the government and people of Ghana whose two of the three arms of government is occupied by women. At least the resolution on governments commitment as contained in the The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which states that "We hereby adopt and commit ourselves as Governments to implement the following Platform for Action, ensuring that a gender perspective is reflected in all our policies and programmes" has been achieved.
I won't be surprised in the not too distant future if the media reports that the world governing body, the UN, is headed by a woman.
In the nutshell, it is rather unfortunate for a woman to affirm that equality isn't good for women.
I have a few shots of women who have been empowered and are affecting their generation.
|Ghana's Head of the Legislature|
|Ghana's Head of the Judiciary|
|President of Liberia|
|Late Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto|
|President Julia Gillard of Australia (2010)|
|President Michelle Bachelet of Chile (2006-2010)|
|First woman pilot of Saudi Arabia|