Ghana’s former first lady warns of ‘seeds of dependency’ in western education

| December 5, 2013
Mme. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, wife of former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings

Mme. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, wife of former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings

(GIN)—In a speech that examined the growing role for women in a rising Africa, Ghana’s former first lady also called for a critical look at formal western education.

Mme. Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, wife of former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings, and head of the 31st December Women’s Movement, delivered her remarks recently at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, in Glendale, Arizona.

On the topic “Development, Politics and National Government—Impact on African Women,” she recalled her work “as an African woman who has spent her last 30 years working on behalf of our nation’s women and children at the grassroots.”

“Women are 51 percent of Africa’s one billion people and they make up the majority of its poor,” she noted. “Those living in isolated rural communities are not yet part of the good news story.

“Together with children, these women often suffer the most, especially in times of crisis and unrest. For the masses of women, Africa is rising—but slowly and unevenly—and unfortunately many women are not rising with it.”

Mme. Nana Konadu then highlighted efforts being made to ensure that education is inclusive, that teachers are gender sensitive and curricula relevant to girls’ aspirations because: “From our experience in Africa, we have been more aware than ever that education can be a tool for subjugation.

“Indeed our dilemma has been that formal western education, while containing crucial elements for keeping us in touch with rapid technological and economic developments, which control the shape of international relationships, also bears the seeds of disempowerment and dependency.

“As the continent becomes more prosperous and more attractive to the outside world, our challenge—and the challenge of our national governments—is to address continuing inequality so that all Africans, including those living in isolated rural communities, fragile states and poor urban areas, are able to benefit from economic prosperity.

“It is up to us, the women of Africa, to share the responsibility for actions needed to end poverty—first in our homes, then in our communities and, ultimately, throughout our nations, one woman at a time.”

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Category: Africa Briefs

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