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My Experience As A Woman Prior To Marriage (Web 2.0)

My Experience As A Woman
As indicated earlier, in Ghana, one of the most serious social problems is discrimination against women in all spheres of social, economic and political arena.
According to the traditional African culture, it is considered a taboo for a woman to challenge a man. A woman is therefore expected to accept anything coming from the man as final and unquestionable.
No matter the level of education of parents or support received from them, any woman in Ghana is likely to face discrimination in one way or the other, be it in the office or at the work place, in the church, and in marriage. The root cause of this social problem is our culture which relegates the rights of the woman to the background
Although there are many instances where I have personally encountered discrimination or have been considered inferior to my colleagues from the opposite sex within my community, the worst and memorable experience which I would like to share with my colleagues is an encounter with a 35-year old man prior to my marriage.
As a journalist and an author, and among the few Ghanaians fighting for the rights of women within my community, I was determined to work towards the social, economic and political emancipation of women. With this background, I was determined never to get married to any man who holds on to an ideology that women are inferior no matter the level of their education.
People within my community branded me as an arrogant, disrespectful and rebellious woman for daring to challenge the ideas of men and proposals coming from men and sometimes kicking against those ideas which I found to be unacceptable and do not promote growth and development of the community. I was determined to work hard to educate and create the necessary awareness among the community to ensure social transformation of my community that would focus on woman empowerment as well as the promotion of woman rights.
With the support of my father, I stood against all odds especially the negative comments that came from my extended family members who persuaded me to emulate the example of my colleague graduates who despite their qualifications have humbled themselves and have successfully got married.
At the age of 30, I was still not married because of my values. In the following year, I met a banker and a successful business man who could be described as a brilliant and well-to-do person who possessed most of the qualities of a husband I was looking for.
I therefore accepted his proposal for marriage, thinking that he had some form of exposure from schooling in London as well as living there for years.
Although the man had all the attributes I was looking for, I was still careful to critically study him, to find out his attitude and mentality towards women especially the fight against women’s freedom in Ghana.
Throughout the period of our dating, this so-called knowledgeable man kept reminding me of my position as a Ghanaian woman, and cautioned me never to take advantage of my position as a Journalist to shirk my responsibility as a home-maker. He set out some ground rules for me like a maid-servant to ensure that the family house is always kept in order. Furthermore, this man had no respect for women at all, and often used abusive words against women.
During our encounter, he told me that since a woman’s place is in the kitchen, if I thought it would not be appropriate for me to combine office work with the household chores, I should be expected to resign from my work in order to become a house wife immediately after the marriage ceremony.
Considering my future plans and determination to fight for the rights of women in my community, I could not imagine how I could end my career and shatter my dreams and long-cherished ambition and aspiration.
I therefore changed my mind and decided that I would rather prefer remaining single throughout my life than to marry a man with different values and mentality. I engaged him in a very serious discussion to educate him on the need to change his mindset toward women and make him understood that I personally hated people like him.
In fact since most of the people in my community were aware of my dating with that man, I became confused about how they would describe me or see me for refusing his proposal.
One day, I approached my father and disused my intention with him. My father who had always stood behind me to fight for my rights advised me never to make a mistake by going against my wish as I would one day regret.
Although it was a hard decision to take, I tried to forget about him and pretended as if I had not met anybody like him despite the name calling.
With prayers and dedication, I met my current husband who shares the same ideology with me, and with the support from him and my father, I have already started a crusade to condemn all Ghanaian traditional cultural practices that undermine the rights of women.
The aim of this piece is to encourage my younger sisters who are about to enter into marriage to critically access the type of guys they would get married to in order not to have their future plans shattered.

Comments

Susan K.A.'s picture

Thanks, Stella

Hi Stella,

Thanks for sharing your story. Timely advice, indeed--a cautionary tale for young women everywhere. One foolhardy decision (making a bad choice of husband) can cause such an avalanche of pain in later years...especially when there are children involved. I have a friend who is suffering horribly on account of having married a deeply flawed man--luckily she is finally in the process of divorcing him, but it's unbelievable how much she and her kids have suffered through the years on account of having to live with him. So, yes, I'm already telling my 2 little boys how important it is to choose a partner who respects them and treats them kindly.

I am so glad that your tale ended well. Thank you for having the courage to follow your intuition, stay clear about your values, and for respecting and loving yourself enough to hold out for what you deserve.

Peace,
Susan

______________________________________________________________________________

"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being."
-Hafiz

Stella Danso's picture

Thanks Susan

Thank you my sister for spending enough of your time going through the piece for me.

turtledove100's picture

Way to go Stella!

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It is through the courage of women like you that attitudes and ideologies are changed and improved. The world definitely needs more people like you who stand up for women's rights no matter what they have to go through to do so!

My thoughts and prayers are with you and the WP community stands beside you in your continued battle to change Ghanaian traditional cultural practices and empower the women of Ghana! God bless you.

"Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach" (Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author and poet)

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