Professor Akosua Adoma Perbi, a Professor of History at the University of Ghana said the struggle of women in contributing to the development of Ghana from the pre-colonial era to recent times was bizarre.
She said: “the British introduced an alien system”, against women, but the intervention of Ghana’s first President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah in attaining independence for the country brought an end to the struggle.
Prof Perbi was speaking at the second session of the 2018 J.B. Danquah Memorial Lecture, organised by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science (GAAS) in Accra.
The lecture, which has the theme: “Women in History: The Case of Ghana– Pre-Colonial, Colonial and Post-Colonial,” is aimed at unearthing women’s contributions in Ghana’s social field, political life, in the military sphere, in religion, and in the economy, and the differences within the time frames of pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial, as well as their impact on society at large.
“Men continue to dominate in the social, political, military, religion, in economy activities and in administrative work, as women were not permitted to perform the above duties during the colonial rule.
“Women were not given the chance to prove or disprove the fears of the colonial government. Male chauvinism was dominant in Britain and in all Europe, America, Asia and Africa”.
She said the colonialist felt that women were inferior and weak and that their physiology and anatomy prevented them from performing well, adding that, “there was also a protectionist attitude from men who were deemed stronger to protect the women who were feeble and of the weaker sex”.
Prof Perbi said all these struggle did not deter the Ghanaian woman in performing their traditional roles.
She said some of the struggles by women under the Gold Coast administration were very hard, adding that, all married women were employed on temporary basis and were not entitled to annual and maternity and sick leaves or pension.
Prof Perbi said the story of the impact of colonialism on the role of women were re-written under the watch of Dr Nkrumah, after he battled for self-governance and won.
She said: “The situation remained as such until 1963 when Ghana, under President Nkrumah, witnessed great changes in the status of women”.
Students from the Presbyterian Boys High Secondary School, Accra Girls Senior High School, Accra Technical Training College and Wesley Girls Senior High School were present to witness the second session chaired by Professor Samuel Sefa-Dedeh, Vice President of the Academy.