Earlier this week the world celebrated International Women's Day, of which women were celebrated for their achievements. In light of this, we've decided to shed light and celebrate a few inspirational Ghanaian women.
Nana Yaa Asantewaa aka Yaa Asantewaa was the Queen Mother of Ejusi, in the Ashanti Kingdom. As a queen and a leader, Yaa Asantewaa led the Ashanti rebellion in 1900 in what became known as The War of the Golden Stool. Yaa Asantewaa was the first and only female to lead an Ashanti fighting force. Before she led the rebellion, she famously stated these words: "Is it true that the bravery of Asante is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be! I must say this: if you, the men of Asante will not go forward, then we will. We, the women, will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight! We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields."
Ama Ata Aidoo
Ama Ata Aidoo is a Ghanaian poet, author, playwright and academic whose work often focuses on the paradoxical position of the African woman. Her fictional work deals with the tension between Western and African world views and many of the women at the forefront of her stories defied the stereotypical roles of womenof their time. In 1992, Ama won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Africa) for her novel Changes. In 2000 she founded the Mbaasem Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Ghana that aims to support and promote the work of African women writers.
Theodoshia Okoh was a Ghanaian stateswoman and artistt known for designing the Ghanaian flag. In justifying her design Theodosiah is quoted to have said"I decided on the three colors of red, gold and green because of the geography of Ghana. Ghana lies in the tropics and blessed with rich vegetation. The color Gold was influenced by the mineral rich nature of our lands and Red commemorates those who died or worked for the country’s independence. Then the five-pointed lone star which is the symbol of African emancipation and unity in the struggle against colonialism…."
Not only was she an artist, but she also led Ghana's hockey team to its first ever World Cup appearance as the first female chaiman of the Ghanaian Hockey Association
Georgina Theodora Wood
Georgina Theodora Wood is a judge and a former police prosecution officer. In June 2007 Georgina became the first female Chief Justice of Ghana. During this role, she sworn-in three Presidents, including the current President, Nana Akufo Addo. On 7 July 2007, Georgina Wood was decorated with the Order of the Star of Ghana, one of the highest honours in Ghana. She also serves on the board of the Global Justice Center, an international human rights law organization. She retired in 2017, after five decades of serving Ghana and in that same year she was sworn in the Council of State
Esther Afua Ocloo
Esther Afua Ocloo was one of Ghana's leading entrepreneurs. She is well known for becoming involved in the micro-lending industry, providing millions of low-income women with the small loans needed to reach their financial goals. Esther's desire to empower and support women stemmed from her underprivileged background. In 1979, she co-founded Women’s World Banking and became the head of the organization. She was also the first black person to graduate from the Good Housekeeping Institute in London in 1951.
Shirley Frimpong-Manso is a Ghanaian film director, writer, and producer. She is the founder and CEO of Sparrow Productions, a film, television and advertising production company. She initially entered the movie industry to change the way Ghana was portrayed. Her films are mainly known for their 'fierce female leads.' Some of her notable works include the tv series 'Adams Apples' and the film 'The Perfect Picture.' Recently her film 'Potato Potahto' debuted on Netflix.
Rosemond Nkansah was the first female Ghanaian to be enlisted into the Ghanaian Police Service. Before she was enlisted, the Ghana Police Service was a profession reserved for men. At the time she joined, women were forbidden to marry or get pregnant and if they did so they would have to resign. As a result of this, Rosemond resigned after serving for some years due to her decision to marry. However, before she resigned she petitioned for that clause to be removed as she felt that the clause unfairly treated women in comparison to their male counterparts who were allowed to marry and have families. Her petition was successful and the clause was removed, allowing those who had resigned to be reinstated.
Hannah Kudjoe was a prominent activist for Ghana's independence. She was a support of United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), a political party formed to fight against colonial rule whilst pushing for Ghana's independence. When the Big Six were arrested, Hannah raised money and campaigned for their release. She was also an active participant of the Positive Action, a series of political protests that eventually led to Nkrumah’s election and the formation of an independent nation.
Efua Sutherland was a Ghanaian playwright, director, children's author, poet and dramatist. She was the founder of he Ghana Drama Studio, the Ghana Society of Writers, and the Ghana Experimental Theatre. She was influential in the establishment of modern Ghanaian theatre. She also played a major role in developing educational curricula, literature, theatre and film for and about Ghanaian children.
Akosua Dentaa Amoateng MBE, is an award winning entrepreneur, actress, TV presenter, singer, producer and manager. Dentaa is an advocate for the Ghanaian UK community. She is the founder and CEO of GUBA (Ghana UK Based Achievements) Awards, which recognises the achievements of individuals and organisations "positively contributing to the Ghanaian community in the UK or Ghana".
Notable mentions include:
Charlotte Osei - The first female to serve as the Electoral Commissioner since independence. Susan Ofori Atta - Ghana's first female physician.
Angela Dwamena-Aboagye - A lawyer a human rights activist who founded the Ark Foundation, a space for women and children suffering from domestic abuse in Ghana.
Alice Annum - A female Ghanaian sprinter dubbed as the original 'Baby Jet'.
(Sources: Back past, Sine4women, Soopempire, Ghanaian museum, People pill, Clture trip)