“Women are not homogenous. We can be different but still find common ground to work together strategically. We cannot, must not, allow age, generation, class, ethnicity, education and professional lives, marital and motherhood statuses, diverse abilities and disabilities to divide us”. Prof Akosua Adomako Ampofo
Feminism is sisterhood and sisterhood requires conversation and interrogation to grow. It is not always the beautiful, flowing moments of synergy, but sometimes the recognition of our differences that require an examination of the cracks in order to find healing.
To mark International Women’s Day this year, The African Women’s Development Fund partnered with Pepper Dem Ministries, a vibrant online activist movement to engage in a conversation about Intergenerational feminism in Ghana. We examined mind sets, structures and the lack of conversation between various generations that could eventually lead to an erasure of our collective gains and histories. We looked at the good, the bad and the complex and emerged better for it.
The conversation was divided into three separate panels. The first panel, labelled the Pacesetters, comprised some of the women whose activism had paved the way for women’s rights in Ghana today. The panel, moderated by Gifty Anti included Nana Oye Lithur, Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Professor Takyiwah Manuh and Professor Akua Opokua Britwum. These women recounted all the times they had challenged power in their long careers, and reminded the audience of the importance of building on foundations. They also spoke to worrying new trends, a resurgence of “traditional” values, that Professor Ampofo aptly referred to as the cult of domesticity.
The Second panel, captioned the NewGen, included feminists that had come into the fold through the development of their individual belief systems that were doing interesting work and sparking new conversations in their various fields. This panel, moderated by Afia Kwakyewaa Owusu-Nyantakyi was made up of Francisca Kakra Forson, Shamima Muslim, Felicity Nelson, Efe Plange and Maame Adwoa Amoa Marfo. This panel discussed the new conversations that Ghanaian feminists were having to tackle, as well as the necessity in fighting for and understanding differences within the movement. From their discussion, it was clear that a self-serving movement was unsustainable and would ultimately fizzle out.
The Third Panel, was an intergenerational panel that focused on the learnings that the feminist movement would need to address and grow from. They spoke to the changing dynamics within the feminist movements, the importance of harnessing social media space and momentum as well as the need for better communication of our feminist histories within the movement. This panel comprised Kinna Likimani, Louise Carol Donkor, Dinah Adiko, Rita Nketiah, Sheila Minka-Premo and was moderated by Akosua Hanson.
The conversation was lively, raising issues that are often glossed over and charting a history that isn’t always spoken of. Participants left the event with renewed vigour and a thirst to learn more about our shared movement and discover better ways to work together. This will enable us to truly consolidate our gains.