You might not know this but here are 10 women from Ghana’s history who should be your role model because they helped catapult this country to where it is today and they need to be celebrated.
We know this is the first woman that comes to mind when we mention incredible women from Ghana’s history because she’s the only one who stands out as being a fighter but we can assure you there are more.
Yaa Asantewaa is one of the queen mothers of Ashanti who stood her grounds to inspire men to fight against the British when the King was arrested and exiled and all the Ashanti soldiers were downtrodden because they felt their leader has been captured. She did not kowtow to the pressure and managed to push all the others to war. Although she was captured by the British too, she sent a strong signal.
Another problem with most Ghanaians is that we pay less attention to children unlike other countries. If there is any woman who drew our attention to caring for children, then that goes to Efua Sutherland, a playwright, director, children author, poet and dramatist who dedicated most of her works to the needs of children.
We can never talk about heroines in history without mentioning Theodosia Okoh because we owe our Ghana flag to her. She is the one who designed the Ghana flag and her work should inspire most women in Ghana to go into art.
But that’s not the only thing she’s known for, she also played an instrumental role in developing hockey in Ghana. She was the first female chairperson of the Ghana Hockey Association and later served as President of the Ghana Hockey Federation for more than 20 years. Ghana’s hockey stadium is named in her honor.
We all know about the “Big Six” but most of us don’t know some of the women who stood for the big six to be the big six we know. Hannah Cudjoe was so strong in the Convention People’s Party she was named “Convention Hannah”. She is the force behind the “Big Six” being the “Big Six” we know.
She was a strong crusader in the pursuit of Ghana’s independence. When the men were down, she was always available to carry the agenda and see it through to the end. In the days of the 1948 riot when the “Big Six” were arrested, Hannah Cudjoe mobilized a mammoth gathering of Ghanaians from all walks of life. She then led them to petition the colonial masters for the release of the “Big Six”. Hannah is credited as the founder of the All African Women’s league in 1960, a strong reflection of her role in the independence struggle. She served as the Party Organizer and Propaganda Secretary of the Convention People’s Party during her days.
When we talk about women who used journalism to fight for Ghana’s freedom, then it is this woman. She was the first female member of the legislative assembly in 1954 in Gold Coast.
She was a writer who used her journalistic skills to challenge colonial supremacy and female rights in the 1950’s. Using a women’s column in the Times of West Africa newspaper, she shared her strong feminine stance on colonial dominance in Ghana and enlightened the populace on certain happenings within the Gold Coast. She was also the editor of the Accra Evening News and wrote for papers like the Nigerian Day Times, African Morning Post, the Daily Echo, and the Daily Graphic among several others.
Ama Nkrumah can be likened to personalities like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. She’s one woman who decided to ditch her name to adopt the name Ama Nkrumah just to fight for Ghana’s freedom. Her real name is not known because of this stance. She’s the woman who stood during a rally and slashed her face with a blade and smeared the blood on her body and asked the men to do same to show that no sacrifice was too great in their united fight for freedom and independence.
This is what Kwame Nkrumah had to say about her in his autobiography, The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1957.
While I was in jail and the party organization was at its most critical period. I learned that at a rally in Kumasi a woman party member adopted the name of Ama Nkrumah (Ama being the female equivalent of “Kwame”) got up on the platform and ended a fiery speech by getting hold of a blade and slashing her face. Then smearing the blood over her body, she challenged the men to do likewise in order to show that no sacrifice was too great in their united struggle for freedom and independence.
She was also another devoted lady who contributed to the independence struggle and one of the first female parliamentarians in the first parliament in the first republic of Ghana under Ghana’s first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. She was a political activist who served in various capacities.
Susanna Al-Hassan is the first northern female hero who helped in the struggle for independence. She was a Ghanaian author and politician. She was the first African woman to hold a cabinet portfolio and became the first female to be appointed a minister. She also served as the Member of Parliament for the northern region.
Popularly known as Dedei Ashikishan, she was the Queen mother of the flour sellers in Accra and extended to the whole of Ghana. The business made her so rich she became the financier of the CPP and this earned her a special affection from Kwame Nkrumah and she became a target. This led to her being poisoned in Ho when she followed Kwame Nkrumah to a function.
She was unmarried and had no children, she sacrificed everything she had for the CPP and so when we talk about the backbone of the party, we can’t leave her out.
This is why H.E. Nana Addo mentioned her in his speech during the [email protected] Independence Celebration. She is the woman the double decker buses that plied the city of Accra back in the 70’s and 80’s were named after, Aunty Dede.
Just like Dedei Ashikishan, Akosua Shorshorshor is also one of the market women who helped finance the CPP party to get to where it got to back in the days and also needs to be remembered.