In what she described as her “most important meeting in Ghana,” U.K MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington Diane Abbott, spent a morning with leading women activists in Ghana in animated discussion hosted by AWDF.
Abbot met AWDF’s grantees and staff to discuss development issues and the representation of women in the country. The conversation provoked insightful exchange of knowledge and helped forge new links between the parliamentarian and the grantees. The meeting took place on Tuesday February 16.
Abbott, a Labour politician who currently serves as Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, listened as the participants shared their experiences. On her part she talked about the struggles she faced on the road to leadership as a minority representative and stressed on the importance of women in the process of development.
” Development programs which are focused on and reaching women are more effective,” she said. ” I see my task to build on traditional strength, energy and focus of African women,” Abbott said.
The discussion raised salient points about the trials and tribulations of Ghanaian as they forge new paths for themselves. Facing stigma from spouses, family and the media when women pursue high government office, was highlighted as one of the key reasons are dissuaded from taking public office. Oftentimes the lack of a support system keeps them from occupying the spaces due them– and when compounded by the sheer difficulty of reaching these positions it becomes clear why there seems to be slow growth in the area of political representation. There is also a large burden on women to be able to balance several
Despite the daunting picture painted it was noted that there has been progress both within Ghana and the continent as regards women’s rights and representation. There is so much the African woman has to offer and it is clear that she has not stood in silence but rather has often defied the odds to make real change within her community and country. Despite the difficulties that await her, she will continue to take her place at the table in new, exciting and powerful ways.
“Change can happen quicker than you thick. We have to have the courage to seize opportunities,” Abbott said.