Growing up in a compound house full of ladies, I always heard parents telling their daughters to do this or that, or not to do certain things in order to get husbands when they grow up. Though I was a kid, I had in mind that ladies are rewarded for their good lives with husbands.

As a future husband, I saw no need to live a certain kind of life to have my dream wife. The world around me made me believe that it’s easy for me to get a wife as a man. Parents were busily grooming their daughters for future husbands so I saw myself and other boys as “future hotcakes”.

That wasn’t enough, my religion’s scriptures also confirmed that a man is the head of the family. Even when a woman is the only person with a job, the man still remains the head. My Akan people also backed it with an adage that says “if a woman buys a gun, she keeps it in a man’s room”.

I witnessed many instances in school and society at large where women were favoured just because they were considered “weaker”. Heard statements like “why are you fighting a lady?” “Ladies first” “Don’t you know she’s a girl?” “Give your seat to the lady” “You are a lady so sit down first” and other statements that seemed like insults like “Why is the house dirty? Is there no woman in the house?”.

It was always news to me when I see a woman driving and it’s been discussed for days when a woman is seen driving a taxi, working as a carpenter, painter and others. Our world really put women in a certain corner and we become surprised when we see them do certain things.

I then heard of the fight against gender inequality. I treated this as a mere syllabus as part of the school’s curriculum because not much was done to ensure this achieved aside reading about it to pass examinations.

I eventually became a man and events kept me reminiscing on some of the advises ladies received in the compound house I grew up. I saw Churches filled with women praying and fasting for husbands while potential husbands had loads of women to make choices from. I asked myself: Is it that these women did not heed to the advice of living a certain kind of good life to get husbands? Some had to pay pastors huge monies for special spiritual directions to get husbands. Why should women do so? Why would someone suffer just to have me as a husband?

Then governments who are to lead the fight against gender inequality started women empowerment programs. Why no men empowerment programs too? Why should women be empowered? What message are these programs telling the world? That women have been enslaved? That women are weak? That women have proven to be incapable?

Then came another word: Feminism.

Ghanaian women took Feminism out of context and embarked on various campaigns to disrespect men while still belittling themselves in some areas that contradict feminism.

I once posted on Facebook that Mobile Money is hindering the fight against gender inequality. Same people running this campaign expect men to be ‘financiers’ of their relationships. Most of these people have their lives fully dependent on men. Once gender defines ones role in a relationship, there’s gender inequality.

I thought it was only in those days that ladies were advised to live with the hope of getting good husbands in future until I found a post on Facebook advising same.

Reindorf Nana Kwadwo Oware posted: “Well endowed body and attractive physical appearance only brings you casual relationship but only CHARACTER brings you a husband.”

So I asked, Is husband enough reason for a lady to have a good character? How do men feel when they see such posts? Won’t men feel like women are struggling just because they want to have them as husbands? Reindorf did not consider how well-endowed body and attractive physical appearances have landed many women as actresses, models and various careers. So should one throw away all these because of husband?

Marriage has always been seen as the greatest achievement of a woman in Ghana. Fellow women see unmarried women as ‘delaying in life’ and women celebrate marriage not just because they have found the love of their lives but because they have found husbands.

Though religions and our culture make feminism and the fight against gender inequality difficult, there’s much we can do if we put our heads in use and see fellow men and women as humans as ourselves and treat them as such.

The fight begins with how women see and carry themselves. Until women understand Feminism and work towards becoming self-reliant, we’ll continue to be here. My next article will throw more light on this.

By Akesse Sanza
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