By: Kwaku A. Danso
In the day-to-day busy schedules of our lives we forget some core values and roots – our women. On our GLU forum on Sunday March 22, a dynamic lady wrote this, and I share with my comments:
Date: Sun, 22 Mar 2009 22:41:38 -0700
Subject: Celebrate Women's History Month
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Celebrate Women's History Month
Who are some of the women in your family tree? Can you name your great-grandmother on your father's side? What about the great-great-aunt on your mother's side? Do you know what they did each day, or what they thought about as they raised their children? March is Women's History Month, a time to celebrate the women in your life and in history. According to About.com, the purpose of Women's History Month is to "increase consciousness and knowledge of women's history: to take one month of the year to remember the contributions of notable and ordinary women."
To celebrate this occasion in your own home and increase awareness of some of your female ancestors, here are a few ideas:
1. With your family, trace the history of one of your female ancestor's life on a map. Here is an example of this activity as outlined for the life of Anne Frank, a famous young woman in history.
2. Follow the timeline of famous dates in US women's history and find the era in which one of your female ancestor's lived. Read about what was happening in the lives of women when she was growing up.
3. Gather together the pictures, journal entries, newspaper clippings, pedigree charts, and other historical information on one of the women in your family tree and post this collection in your home on a bulletin board or on a family website where your family and friends can learn more about this woman who has contributed to your family.
Best regards, Audrey.
Another lady replied:
Thanks for sharing this information. Very few women's lives are documented, especially African women and we must change that. Best regards - Amy
My TRIBUTE TO WOMEN -RE: Celebrate Women's History Month
Amy, Audrey, and all the ladies out there,
We all join you in celebrating women’s history month – well, I mean waking us up. WRITING OUR OWN HISTORY-
Amy, note that Africans were not even writing their own books till recently, let alone for women or men.
I recall it was Basil Davidson, a British Journalist who was writing our history books till recently the late Prof. Adu Boahen and F.K. Buah came on. Not to deviate, it is interesting to note that when the Black man started writing his own history in recent times, they tried to take out the core achievements of the people they did not like, e.g. Kwame Nkrumah! One of my nephews did not know much about Nkrumah a few years ago when he arrived in the US, and thought Nkrumah was the one who brought about Ghana’s economic malaise.
By not writing ourselves, we have allowed the Euro-Americans to paint us any color they wanted. I recall as a young students in 1969 time reading Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia at University of California. Under Ghana were some pictures of some Boy Scouts, half naked, dancing around a bon-fire. I could tell because I had been a Boy Scouts! The caption read “Ashanti Boys on a holiday”. My Gosh! That was quite a beginning to note how these people view us. Even in those days there were nice buildings and structures in Ghana to show but they chose to show some half-savagery of images!
Well, roll forward only 40 years and you see your own President, a tall man with low self esteem and no self-dignity, with hands clasped behind his back, following an American President shown on TV, begging for some $25 million grant or $103 million to set up water systems for his people! – And sad thing is that the moneys are never put to the use intended!
I took the first risk in writing my first book (Leadership Concepts and the Role of Government in Africa: The Case of Ghana, Danso K. A., 2007) about my country Ghana, in America, knowing that not much will be sold here. But I have the full copyright and can publish it later in Ghana. The point is that we the educated ones need to write and put our own ideas on paper for the record. To show the power of the pen, examine what I wrote long ago and even forgot about, but just found archived on the Web:
LETTER TO Presidential Candidate Barack OBAMA Analysis of the Obama-McCain Presidential campaign: WINNING STRATEGY in a DESPERATE RACE. http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/blog/DrKDanso
Why is Africa sitting still? By Kwaku A. Danso Feature Article | Sat, 10 Jan 2009 http://www.modernghana.com/news/198075/1/why-is-africa-sitting-still.html
Wow! I opened a can of worms – I used Google to find my name and so many articles I never even remember writing – check it out! These days one can run but cannot hide! No matter some officials in Ghana do not like the Internet (smile)!
MY WOMEN HEROES and TRIBUTE TO WOMEN. So let me pay my tribute to women and give my analysis and advice for the day or month.
The POINT I am making is that WOMEN need to write more; others will read it later; To STAND UP more; others may see them and admire; To ASSERT themselves more; others may learn to be strong also; and To EXPRESS themselves more, on social, economic and ethical issues, in the direction of our nation and the development of the human organization on earth.
In about 100 years, American women have learnt to assert and express themselves so much that Senator Hillary Clinton was very close to becoming President of America, were it not for the exceptional skills and brilliance of our brother Barack Obama displacing her for the top job in 2008. Many of us loved Hillary Clinton also, but faced with historical choices, Barack had to win! You may want to read my strategic advice to Obama when he was down in the link above. Talk about Akufo Addo hiring political strategists from America and paying them big bucks! I gave this advice in September for free! I was already a Manager in America solving problems when Obama was in high school! (smile! Shoot! Let me blow my horn small – as we say in Ghana).
There are a few women I admire in history and my own family: 1. Joan of Arc – we know her in European history (she epitomizes Yaa Asantewaa for the Ashantis of Ghana);
2. Harriet Tubman – the woman who run the “underground railway” taking slaves from the Southern USA to Canada during slavery;
3. My late Aunt called Juliana Adwoa Akyema (May she Rest in Peace). That woman was the first woman I saw when growing up who could talk straight to the men, with power and no fear, and make the men cower! She was a heavy set woman who looked you straight in the eyes. She told the truth when the men would be drinking and doing silly things and they could do nothing to her – because the truth hurts but she had to straighten them up! I wish our modern leaders would set up a Social Security Pension scheme for the self-employed women of our lives! The educated leaders have neglected that as a duty! No woman, irrespective of their profession, should have to die in poverty or need in Ghana after they retire!
4. Another Aunt I admire who was and is still tough and told it like it is, is my 87+ year old aunt Adwoa Ataah Safoaa (Ataah = twin). She was the one who watched me as I spent money decorating and doing remodeling around the hometown house in 2004, and asked me: “Do you want to make this place look like Aburokyire (overseas)?”. And when I answered Yes, she shook her head and said: “We have lived like this and drank the same water since the Gold Coast time” and we are still alive! Such women show strength and they comfort you with their sense of humor and wisdom in life when you are down; and such spirits we need to admire and emulate.
Folks, I have said before that I was born in a family of women and as such I know women and their strengths perhaps as much as I know men and their stupid and irresponsible weaknesses.
WOMEN BETTER THAN MEN? –
Nobody can define what is better or not, but for sure Women live longer because they have
- A stronger spirit of endurance (Not even counting child birth);
- A longer and more enduring patience; - A longer and more enduring love;
- A longer and more sustainable hope in life; - A more reasonable approach to dealing with frustration and not resorting to drinking and silly behavior as many men do;
- A more practical approach to life – many men in the Diaspora have moved back to Ghana from overseas only to lose their money; most of our Ghanaian women do not want to return till they have a job or solid business strategy; even then the lack of water and health care issues worry them more to be more skeptical. We men bull-doze home and many end up being as corrupt as those in power we criticize;
- A stronger resistance to pain –more women can grab a hot plate from the stove than we men can, as well as eat food at a higher temperature /hot things compared to men (this is my own empirical data collected over the years). I cannot explain why, but from my grandmother to my own wife, it marvels me!
- Equal smartness as men when young, and even may be higher achievers up to high school level and early College (shall we say onset of puberty?). - Sharper communication skills than me – in fact recent studies show women have better verbal skills.
WHY MEN “MOVE AHEAD” OF WOMEN -
Having said all that the question becomes why women were left behind by men in most professions and aspects of life? A friend suggested that the Bible indicates women are not supposed to have jobs. Well, I won’t go there these days, but my answers, based on a lifelong empirical study, are these:
1. Since all humans are simply elevated and smarter animals, and men are built genetically bigger and hence usually stronger, the Jungle Law of “the stronger survives” made men stronger. Anybody who does not understand the Jungle Law should attempt a business in America. American AIG and other corporations like General Motors became so big, allowed to swallow others in their way (greed?) and now that they swallowed poison and dying, the same men want us to bail them out! Gosh! I have scars to prove the greed in American business in 18 years now!
2. Women used their brains better for self protection than men since they were not as big physically, and hence allowed the men to take leadership positions, thus letting their men face the oncoming bullets first, shielding them. It is common to see a man climbing a tall ladder and the woman at the bottom directing him “Honey, move left, move right”. Shoot! The fool may fall down and the woman will boil the hot water to treat him! Now you see why more women are Nurses? Who is smarter then? Your answer is as good as mine! No matter the population of women is more than men and women live longer on average!
3. The DOWNSIDE of letting others (men) take leadership positions is that if the men mess up, and are selfish and greedy, the society messes up (meaning gets “mismanaged”) and women suffer more than the men. Example, see the Northern parts of Ghana and East Africa where the women are left to take care of the farms and cattle! Can you imagine this nonsense! How can the smaller women be taking care of these huge animals! When men mismanage and steal the funds meant for water, health care and road projects, bragging in the stolen Toyota Landcruiser, Mercedes and other undeserved luxury vehicles, the women have to travel to the river side to fetch water. Huh! What an injustice! You the bulldog of a man goes out to wear a white shirt to work for the “Broni” as colonial clerk, and signs your name “Yours Obedient Servant”; and your woman is fetching water from the wells! God have mercy on stupid men!
4. One ADVANTAGE is that as the women are working on the farms and engaging in small businesses or “petty trading” (as the British calls it), they develop better marketing strategy and skills in negotiations, bargaining on the market, trading, etc. These are useful skills in modern global business. I think all our Trade Ministers should be women. See how Nana Konadu Rawlings manipulated to send her kids to Universities overseas whiles Jerry J. was talking revolution and thumping his chest! Now you also see why women in Africa actually have savvier brains for business and survival than the white-collar colonial-trained men who are pushed by circumstances to be corrupt! (that topic is for another day).
Well, that is my tribute for the Women for the month. I raised one boy and one girl, or shall I say one man and one woman. Of course the greatest Saint I have lived with was my Grandmother Akosua Serekye Ansomaah of Abetifi, who lived to be perhaps 110 years old! My Gosh! If President Mills follows that Saint’s advice of fama-Nyame (give-it-to-God) we will never put these crooked politicians in jail and they will still be thumping their nose at the poor taxpayer who cannot even get ordinary water through pipes despite the $603 million in grants and loans! Of course the woman I owe my sustenance to is my mother, now about 83 years old who would not tell us when she is suffering (I am improving in mind-reading over the years due to her). And of course the one I admire the most is a little younger woman right here, somewhere in the house, but won’t even know I wrote this - well, maybe some flowers might do the trick.
Dr. Kwaku A. Danso (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) President, Ghana Leadership Union, Inc (NGO) / Moderator, GLU Forum Livermore, California, USA http://groups.google.com/group/glu-ghana-leadership-forum