In northern Ghana, traditionally a patriarchal society, gender inequality is an issue. Women often have limited decision making power and unequal access to education.
Girls can experience prejudices throughout their lives. As children their brothers’ education is likely to be favoured over theirs, as teens they are at risk of teenage pregnancy and child marriage and even as they move into adulthood, employment opportunities are fewer and they are likely to earn less than their husbands.
How June Sarpong is shining light on the situation
Gender rights campaigner and AfriKids ambassador, June Sarpong MBE, has written a number of books highlighting the importance of diversity within societies and giving women the platform to have their voices heard.
“When women are in the room, progress happens. When women are in the room, breakthroughs happen.”
June’s Ghanaian heritage ties her closely with AfriKids’ projects and during her visit to Ghana in January she witnessed how AfriKids’ local team are ensuring more woman are “in the room”. After-school Child Rights Clubs set up in schools are teaching young teens, both girls and boys, about their rights, building their confidence and using their voice against injustices. June was excited to get behind the project.
When June met 15 year old, Blessing, the two instantly clicked over their shared vision for an equal society.
Changing the attitudes of older generations
When Blessing was a young girl, she found out that her father had wished for a son rather than a daughter. Her mother recalled his disappointment on hearing the news of his daughter’s birth. Since that day, Blessing has made it her mission to prove her father wrong. She has proven that she is just as valuable as a son and that she too deserves to go to school and have equal opportunities for building a secure future.
Beyond her family, Blessing has big dreams for her community. She wants to see equal opportunities for girls and boys – in education, in marriage, in employment.
A role model for young girls
Blessing is leading change in her community. As a Club Youth Leader, she helps younger girls to build their confidence to speak out about their rights. She actively goes out into her local community to speak to older generations about the importance of educating girls. Blessing has even sat on a panel of adults talking about gender equality (!) and featured on the local radio to raise awareness.
When June asked Blessing about her own role models, she confidently told her: