Monica Lambon-Quayefio_Ghana_edited.jpg

MONICA  LAMBON-QUAYEFIO

GHANA

'I have always believed that education is a powerful tool to empower women in sub-Saharan Africa, where it has been known to reduce early marriage and fertility, increase the likelihood of wage employment and improve autonomy in decision making. What I underestimated is the formidable force of social and cultural norms on the road to complete women empowerment. I find it interesting that in Ghana, even though women have been empowered through education, the cultural and social dial on expectations of women with regards to domestic and unpaid care work has been sluggish. Like women with little or no education, highly educated women continue to bear a greater burden of unpaid care work compared to their male partners.  Official statistics show that educated and employed women in Ghana spend three times more of their time on domestic and unpaid care work compared to men. This incompatibility between domestic responsibilities and formal paid employment presents additional hurdles for women to live out their full potential in formal employment. In some cases, women have been forced to pull out of formal sector employment for more flexible jobs in the informal sector to allow them to fulfil their ‘primary’ responsibilities while earning an income.  These expectations often lead to a situation where women are funnelled into lower paid jobs and vulnerable employment with limited social security benefits, increased stress and compromised mental health, thereby, perpetuating a cycle of financial dependence on male partners and fuelling the wheels of patriarchy in our society.'