The negative attitudes of some founders of contemporary churches in Ghana manifested in the recent isolated thinker’s assertion by a certain “Man of God”.
The prophet in question, Badu Kobi, disgustingly pontificated in front of his congregation that, “Ashanti women are not marriage material”; “Fante women are foolish” and “Ewe women are dull in character”.
If a whole ‘Man of God’ can harbour such an idiosyncratic view on Ghanaian women, then I am afraid, the Christianity in Ghana has a long way to go.
Undeniably, false prophets are at work today, and command a multitude of truth seekers, many of whom lack knowledge, hence following the con-artists, who are probably resorting to necromancy, albeit masquerading as “Men of God”.
Obviously, there are numerous Bible verses on false prophets and their self-aggrandisement and the need for their followers to be on their guard.
Disappointingly, however, the founders of the one-man churches have succeeded in proselytizing and swindling unsuspected truth seekers, who only want adulterated, more 'palatable' forms of Truth, watered down and compromised for convenience.
Some of us, as a matter of principle, do not have any regret for supporting the Members of Parliament who prudently called for the enactment of regulation to curb the unscrupulous activities of the men and women who are swindling and maltreating the unsuspecting followers in the name of God.
Evidently, people who think like Badu Kobi are celebrated misogynists who do not have an iota of respect for women, but only expect a typical woman to restrict herself to kitchen, to devote herself virtually to the care of a man, her children and parents in their old age.
IN Ghana today, most women are believed to be discriminated against in all walks of life, including jobs, pay, education and welfare.
So you would expect the likes of Prophet Badu Kobi to stand in solidarity with Ghanaian women and not to push them down further.
It used to be said that women must do twice as well as men to be seen half as good, and yet young women are often encouraged to see marriage and the family as their only viable means in life, and are therefore routinely dissuaded from learning most skills or studying the same subjects as boys.
In career options, women are mostly pointed in the direction of jobs such as selling petty goods, dressmaking, and hair dressing to pass off time till they get married and have babies. Then they get married with high hopes of a perfect family life—but it doesn't often work out like the ideal family of the millionaire’s world, especially when money is insufficient and a partner’s job is casual or menial.
It is also an undeniable fact that a sizeable number of women are financially dependent on a man, and without meaningful help, and often cumbrously look after children and care for the infirm and the aged.
Unsurprisingly, therefore, the feminists groups hold a view that society's opinion formers’-- ranging from judges to journalists, politicians to technocrats, view women as second class citizens who often fail to utilise their perceptual powers of the mind to good effect.
It is also true that society unabashedly gives oxygen to the damning assertion of women natural role to look after home and children and men role as bread winners.
Inevitably, in order to keep up with these domestic duties, women are often expected to give up everything else; education, work (or at least decent, well-paid work), and outside interests of all kinds, including political activity.
In practice though, the vast majority of women do what is expected of them, and, devote a great deal of love and care to their families, often in very difficult circumstances, thus, society somehow assumes that women are narrow-minded, or at least simple-minded, --unable to comprehend what goes on around them.
It is also a common belief that most women are economically dependent on men because they cannot carry the burden of household tasks and hold on to a decently paid full-time job as well, and that makes society to spuriously assume that women are dependent on men because they are invariably feeble and helpless without them.
Even when women are busily engaged in other gainful activities alongside their domestic duties, society still cynically sees them as domestic servants.
No matter how hard they try, the odds remain stacked against them, and, their relentless strides to keep up with men are often ignored.
There is also a contending schools of thought who fret that if women ‘swamp’ the labour force rather than look after their children, this will boost GDP but create negative social externalities such as a lower birth rate.
And yet developed countries where more women work, such as Sweden and America, their birth rates are higher than Japan and Italy, where women stay at home (the economist print edition, April 2006).
Some contending schools of thought however argue that the influx of women in the paid labour force can come at the expense of children. And yet the available evidence does not support such a notion.
What is manifestly clear is that in countries such as Japan, Germany and Italy, which are all harshly faced by the demographics of shrinking populations, far fewer women work than in America (Economist 2006).
The worldview, however, is that in developing countries where girls are less likely to go to school than boys, investing prudently in education would deliver huge economic and social returns, for not only will educated women be more productive, but they will also bring up better educated and healthier children.
The general belief, , therefore, is that more women in government could also boost economic growth, because studies show that women are more likely to spend money on improving health, education, and infrastructure and poverty and less likely to waste it on tanks and bombs (Economist 2006).
Nevertheless, most women are mostly held up in the family circles. For however much they love their husbands’ and children, they know they have little choice about it. For it is harder for a woman than for a man to get out of a marriage that has gone wrong, and most women whose marriages break down are often left to bring up children on their own with little or no support’.
More worryingly, many women are ‘stuck’ in their homes by violence or the threat of it. For some men end up harming the woman they live with because they are ground down at work or don't have enough money to meet their family's needs--they make women scape goats for what isn't their fault, and most women have no way of fighting back and nowhere to turn to when this happens’.
What kind of society is it that puts women in this position? It is only a society that insists that the family is 'private', and that women somehow belong to the men they marry as if they were pieces of personal property.
“In rape, women are exposed to a kind of violence which men don't face, perhaps the most humiliating of all. Women are encouraged to look sexy and attractive to men, and to feel as free as men to enjoy themselves--a freedom long overdue after centuries of hypocrisy.
Take, for instance, when an attractive woman is raped, most people think she must have been 'asking for it”. How can women feel free when this unfairness is going on under their noses?
In our society, it appears that women don't have equality, and they don't even have respect and dignity in any meaningful sense.
If that was not the case, how can a whole ‘Man of God’ disgustingly look down on Ghanaian women indiscriminately?
Well, our dearest women have to remain resolute and be prepared to face the likes of Prophet Badu Kobi, and fight back for themselves and for the future of all women. This doesn't mean an out-and-out conflict with all men all of the time. For separatism--the view that women can battle for liberation only on their own and against men--is an admission of despair and a way of keeping apart women and men still further.’
Whatever the case, our dearest women have a right to organise with men to fight against the society that keeps women down, to make men see that the world has to be changed. This, however, doesn’t mean that women can't organise their own meetings, demonstrations, pickets or whatever, when necessary-- we have that right too—but we should be trying to reunite women and men in the struggle for peace and equality.
I must, therefore, confess that it pains my heart so much to state that the founders of the one-man churches have long been getting away with their ceaseless scheming guiles and needless self-aggrandisement.
Please, do not get me wrong; I’m not seeking to condemn Christianity, far from it.
It is an undeniable fact that freedom of worship is an inalienable human right, which is encapsulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
More significantly, freedom of worship has been transposed and given meaning in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution.
As such, there is no permitted abridgment as to which religious sect one could join. Indeed, individuals have their inherent dignity and inalienable rights to choose or join any congregation of their choice.
In sum, the stereotyping against women is a disturbing situation which requires the attention of the wider society. The big question though is: how do we convince the likes of Prophet Badu Kobi to get involve in the fight for women's liberation?
K. BADU, UK.
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