Women in Ghana and in most parts of the developing world face obstacles that prevent or make it difficult for them to attain their aspirations in education and social life unlike their male counterparts. These setbacks to women development have drawn attention and sympathy towards women the world over. And thus we see all over the developing world, programmes and projects intended to empower women. Have these initiatives helped and how can they be made more effective at empowering women?
In Ghana and Africa at large, obstacles to women’s development can be traced to the culture of male dominance otherwise referred to as patriarchy. The cultural and social setting of the Ghanaian or African society and maybe other parts of the world is built on patriarchy. Therefore, in order to address women’s challenges and design women empowerment programmes, it is imperative to first address patriarchy.
For instance, to provide micro loans to women in some communities, it is best to engage their husbands or male counterparts on the purpose of the money before disbursement. This may sound weird but could be the sure way to get the desired results. This is because in some societies where the woman is considered the ‘property’ of a man, the money might end up in the pocket of the man and the objective of the empowerment programme will not be achieved.
Conscious of the fact that the empowerment of women cannot happen without the involvement of men, the literacy school project allows the participation of some men in the project. Even more so husbands or male counterparts of our women beneficiaries are engaged in order to gain their support. For instance in our previous project (the Bolgatanga Literacy School), some men initially resisted the participation of their female counterparts but would later be supportive by sometimes accompanying them for classes. This also means that they are willing to provide money for lunch and other needs while the women take up the literacy classes.
Empowering women can be more effective if it is done with the cultural and social setting in mind and we at the Literacy School Project are committed to this so that your donation makes the needed impact. You can learn more about our project at https://impactdirect.eu/project/literacy-school/