The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama says women activists need to be more tolerant of opposing viewpoints on gender parity following the criticism that met President Nana Akufo-Addo’s demand for more dynamism from women.
On The Big Issue, the minister also said the Ghanaian feminists and gender advocates needed to be more inclusive.
“The women’s movement has to be very tolerant of other people’s views and encourage other people to be part of the conversion and generate ideas to enable us to move on.”
Hajia Mahama is holding fast to her view that President Nana Akufo-Addo’s call was not deserving of criticism.
On Friday, she joined two other women ministers to defend the President’s remarks, which were made at the 2019 Women Deliver Conference in Canada.
Critics argued that his comments erase the earlier efforts of activists and ignore the role expected of persons already in positions of power in a male-dominated political space.
But Hajia Mahama questioned the critic’s grasp of gender issues.
“When the president said something, they found their voice talking about things they don’t even understand,” the Minister added.
‘No one will open doors for you’
Hajia Mahama insisted that women outside of government bore the responsibility of addressing systemic problems.
“When we say amplification, it is not just people doing it for us we should also move forward. We can’t fold our hands and sit down and say that the decision-making people should change for them. No one will open doors for you. You open the doors yourself. You break the glass ceiling and go through.”
“Gender issues have come this far because of the long chain of women who have fought for it though of course, we have had support from men,” she stated.
Unwholesome talk from President
The spokesperson for former President John Mahama, however, described President Akufo-Addo’s comments as unwholesome.
She said the President, the 2017 AU Gender Champion, needed to be more nuanced in his assessment of gender in Ghana.
“I think he made a very general statement which failed to address the dynamism that Ghanaian women had shown,” Mrs. Mogtari also said on The Big Issue.
“I believe that on this occasion, the President could have started off by saying something more wholesome, expressing a more prospective perspective. Speaking to the past of female activism, activists, dynamism and movements.”