A NEW CHAPTER OF WOMEN LEADERSHIP

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Esinam Seade (UG, Legon 2016 SRC Candidate) and Emmanuella Elikplim Katahena (KNUST 2016 SRC Candidate)

The Students’ Representative Council across all Universities in Ghana have been dominated by male leadership over the years. It appears as if the presidential seat is frightening and by nature, masculine. It is uncommon to hear of a woman coming forth as an SRC presidential candidate. But my question here is; why should it be so? Is it due to the assumption that women have about society or is it the politics of the system? Is there anything leadership of the SRC can do to help combat this problem?And will the status quo ever change? Well, let’s find out.

“Do you think a woman can ever become the SRC president of KNUST and why would you vote for a female candidate as your next SRC President?” Well, these are common questions asked by people but most a times receive weird answers. This time, the question came from no other person but Emmanuella Elikplim Katahena, third year student of political science who is known for her participation in various debate championships in Ghana and the sub region. Personally, answering that question was very simple because I generally do not fancy the culture of patriarchy even though majority of men do. I see no problem with voting for a female candidate to become SRC president when I know she has all that it takes to be in that position.

Here in the heart of KNUST like other universities in Ghana, ladies tend to look down upon themselves and do not see themselves as capable to compete with men for presidential positions. They often prioritize men as the ones “born to rule” and such myopic ideologies entangle their minds; they shut down their visions for leadership positions and level themselves to subordinates of men. It was until recently that few female candidates begun contesting as vice presidents at various departments and faculty levels. More often than not, Female politicians prefer secretariat and women commissioner portfolios but do not have much, if there were any, interest in presidency; an ideology that must be reconsidered and rebranded.

I believe many friends, colleagues and even parents disagreed with Louise Carol Serwaah Donkor’s decision when she was contesting for the University of Ghana SRC presidency in 2012 but she never gave up. She went ahead, took a bold step, broke herself out of the ordinary box and contested against nine (9) male presidential aspirants. One female against nine able men was a tough battle but surprisingly, in the first round, She had (23.7) of total vote cast and Christian Kwabena Ansah had (22.3) resulting in a run-off where she whipped Christian by 60.5 % and became the first ever female president of the University of Ghana. She opened a new chapter for women which have become a legacy in Legon.

At this point, permit me to ask if you believe that the woman and the man can equally compete for higher leadership positions in this 21st century. You do not have to side with me but I believe with the level of democracy in Ghana, women can do better if Women Advocacy Networks; NGOs and women commissions would outline certain measures to encourage and endorse more women to contest for presidential positions or If possible, funds should be made available to assist brave women with exceptional qualities and competency with the passion to contest for the SRC presidential office. It would be a great competition if at least two female candidates are endorsed for SRC presidential position every year. For this reason, I see the two Emmanuella’s (Katahena Emmanuella and Sika Emmanuella) among this year’s KNUST SRC presidential candidates, and one other female candidate in Legon’s SRC race (Esinam), as new voices, chapters and elements for women empowerment in the political arena. They have made women proud due with their bold decision and I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of them emerging victorious. The major excitement lies in the fact that they have taken off the veil of the “monstrous” seat and have set the foundation upon which other women would follow.

“We can do anything we want to do if only we put our minds to it”

By: AHETO MATHIAS
DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, KNUST
ahetomathias@gmail.com

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