As we commemorate the Pan-African African Women’s Day today, with the theme ‘Towards the African Women’s Decade: Realizing Women’s Human Capital through accelerated social and economic development, addressing the scourge of violence, food insecurity and good nutrition on the African continent’, I wish to have the attention of all African Women here. Let us reflect on what distinguishes us as African women. Our value systems and moral standards. When we were growing up, the term ‘women empowerment’ meant ‘harnessing the potential of women in order for them to be useful to themselves and society’. These days it looks as if women empowerment has been redefined to mean ‘the ease with which a woman can take off her clothes’. Women’s ability to be ‘vulgar’, ‘obscene’ and ‘nude’ are given adjectives like ‘bold’, ‘confident’, ‘assertive’, ‘sexy’ and ‘liberated’. But these characteristics were called ‘uncouth’ or ‘uncultured’ and plain and simple ‘unrefined’ when I was a child growing up in a cultured Ghanaian home.
On this special day, I want women to revisit the days of ‘obaasima’ (the ideal African Woman) who knew how to dress up elegantly but still covered up at the appropriate places, who knew how to speak her mind in public but with well crafted and wisely chosen words that turned the heart of the king, the one who was consulted when men were at a fix because she influenced her generation.
Let us go back to the basics because many seem to have lost their way. Enjoy the day all you wonderful women of substance.
By:Marian Asantewah Nkansah