It’s been a while since I’ve introduced you to someone, so today I would like you to meet Dorothy; the Ghana YMCA Accountant and my French practice buddy. Dorothy is always very vocal in my gender sessions, and in general when gender is being discussed in the office. Here are a some of her thoughts on Gender:
What are your thoughts on the Ghana YMCA’s efforts to increase gender equality within the organization?
I think it’s in the right direction; and we as the YMCA need it because of where it’s (the organization) is coming from and because of the name*. We actually need a gender desk here.
*YMCA stands for Young Men’s Christian Organization
What has been your experience as a woman working for the Ghana YMCA?
They haven’t had a lot of women working here (In the secretariat office). There was one woman staff who resigned, and then myself and Vero came in. I don’t find anything difficult about working with only men; in my family I’m used to being around men, I’m the only woman. (Dorothy has two sons: three-and-a-half year old Pistis and Basil who is one-and-a-half).
Sometimes the challenge is when we have (executive) meetings. Because it’s all men, if you are not so loud you might not be heard. Here as a woman you have to be extra loud.
Have you noticed any changes in relations between men and women in Ghana between now and when you were a student?
In the family men didn’t used to help so much. They thought it was the sole responsibility of the woman to keep the house. Now I see a number of career-women and the husbands help at home. They (men) change diapers, where before that would be seen as an abomination.
Now men like women to contribute financially; they are actually looking for career women because they know she will be able to help out financially which wasn’t a priority before.
You are raising two young boys; what kinds of values are you trying to instill in them with regards to gender?
I would want them to grow up respecting women. Some men think all that a woman is good for is to be in the kitchen. They don’t like it when their partner is rising up, especially when it’s above them, like in education. I would not want them to be like that.
If you had a daughter, what kinds of values would you want her to have?
I would want her to be virtuous and I would like her to stand up for what she believes in. She should not be intimidated by men or the things around her. I am aspiring to be a good person, so I would want her to see that, if not do better than me.
Favourite Dorothy Quote: In everything that you do, you should not do away with love.