Although I have not traveled all over Kumasi, I have been here for five weeks and have yet to see women my age in social settings. I first made this observation week two at Bar Naas, a local nightclub. My friends and I walked through the entrance and was immediately surrounded by men. Majority of these men were flirting with us and grabbing our arms to try to talk to us. It was as if they had never seen women before. This wasn’t shocking at all. I had already been told that the concept of personal space is different in Ghana. I had also witnessed men grab women aggressively to get their attention. Personally, I have met some kind and welcoming individuals, most of them being men. They’re cool and all, but where are all the women.
It seems like most women are either attending classes at the university level or working long hours, which might stop them from going out. Classes or work may stop them from going out because once they return home they have chores, obligations to their family, or may just be too tired to socialize. Upon further analyzing this situation, I realized that the gender and social norms in Ghana also impact the way women perform their identities in public spaces. For instance, after reading some of Amma Darko’s work, an influential Ghanaian writer, a woman’s traditional obligation to her husband and children are still being followed. Women are only expected to tend to the needs of their house, including cooking, cleaning, and raising her children. This leaves very little room for partying of any sorts. Even if the woman is not married she is still expected to work or help at home. However, this still does not fully explain why men are able to move so freely in any setting they see fit. Furthermore, the absence of women in social settings like nightclubs could also be due to the violence they experience or the potential violence in the world. Books like Beyond the Horizon or Purple Hibiscus speak more on the narratives of women who experience patriarchal violence. This blog post is part of a much larger conversation about gender norms and violence towards women in different cultures. The gendered nature in Ghana is interesting. I think I may talk to some women about their experiences to better understand what they go through.