Inequality of girls in school

While Ghana’s goal is education for all students, this task is not yet accomplished.

There are several non-profit organizations as well as USAID that sponsor a program to get girls into school.

Many of you asked why the girls have short hair. The answer was pretty simple… to keep them from primping in school and keep them focused. Also, since some students are older (jr high ranged from 14-22), they have the girls shave their heads so they can tell the difference between younger teachers and older students. Some students may be older because they had family obligations, couldn’t afford school, or didn’t pass the national exam. One teacher said,”They can stay in school until they pass if they can ‘behave like a student.'”

These girls are beautiful:


Why are the girls not in school?

– Traditionally they are suppose to be cooking and cleaning. So, education isn’t necessary. Providing is the man’s job.
– Some schools are a 3 mile walk. So, some girls were getting raped on the way to school, and parents wanted to protect their daughters.
– Some are betrothed to men as you g as 5-6. Then, they are married at 10-11. They are not to “waste” their child-bearing years in school. (Note, this is the traditional idea, there are many progressive women going to the university and marrying in their 30s).
– They can make money for the family working
– This is a bigger problem in northern Ghana but happens many places.

So, the non-profits go speak to young girls and their parents about the importance of education. They are told about scholarship programs from USAID so the family won’t lose income when their daughter goes to school.

Effect, more and more girls are in school. In fact, girls are consistently out performing boys in the sciences. More women are ranking higher than men in Law School.

The perception of female education is a social issue which is SLOWLY changing.

This all links back to our essential question for the year: How does culture impact perception of justice?

13 thoughts on “Inequality of girls in school

  1. It seems like Ghanians are very acceptive of foreigners and treat them like family. What is the one thing that surprised you the most about Ghana?

    • Well, I was very surprised by the fact that they burn their trash everywhere. You find fires everywhere. So, the trash ashes are in the air. I didn’t expect a sanitation program, so I guess burning it makes sense.

  2. It is really interesting to read about what life is like for the girls in Ghana. It makes sense to hear about why they cut their hair so short! It could be very distracting, and by cutting it off could help their focus. Also, I know it is very hot in Ghana so it probably feels better to not have hair over your neck and shoulders! It does make me feel good to hear that the women nowadays are becoming more educated. It is great that men and women in their society are gaining equality.

  3. In your post from when you had just arrived you took a picture of a sign that said somthing along the lines of “Ghana does not welcome pedofiles”, but if girls are betrothed at 5 or 6 and married at 10 or 11, what age are the men that they are betrothed/married to? This could be seen as pedofilia over here if they guy is like 15+ years older than her, and if he is her age, they’re all too young…

    • Just to follow Mary I was wondering the same thing, because here people generally get married ages 25- 35 or so, not really sure just a guess. Is their marriage age for girls younger because of the mortality rate?

      • Well, it is more in the tribal areas they marry that young. That is not the norm for Ghanaians. Most get married in the same age range as Americans.

  4. After reading this, I was wondering if the girls that get taken out of school to marry and to not “waste” their life on education are happy with this decision? And do they think it is the right thing to do, or are they just doing what their parents what them to do? I know that a lot of kids here in America say they hate school and don’t want to go, but I think we should be grateful that we have a great free education. I also found it interesting how the girls have to shave their head so that they are not distracted by it during class and I was wondering if the schools in Ghana are more or less strict then they are here. Do they have more rules and regulations? If so, are they the same as they are here?

  5. I highly believe in gender equality. Everyone whether they’re tall or short, black or white, male or female, should have the opportunity to get an education. Education has not only taught me several useful subjects, but it has also made a huge motivational impact on my life. It’s an experience that makes you want to go out and achieve s0mething important. The things that these girls go through is horrific, if there was a chance that I could be sexually abused on the way to school there’s no question whether I’d be scared to go. They need to be provided security and safety before USAID takes anymore steps with their programs. In conclusion, I just want the girls in Ghana to know that they’re all beautiful, and they don’t need men to tell them that. -DW

  6. I am very glad to hear that women are becoming equal to men even if it is happening slowly. To hear how young they used to marry and how little they valued education is upsetting but I understand that was just the cultural norm then and still is now in some ways. Gender equality is important in how developed a country is and seeing that Ghana is taking steps in the right direction is good to hear. I was wondering if most schools separated boys and girls. I was also wondering how old most teachers were and whether they were mostly men or women. Also would you northern Ghana is less developed than other parts of the country seeing as girls are schooled less there? I hope you are having a great time. I wish I could travel abroad to such a foreign place and learn about other cultures!

    • Daniel- Some schools are all girls or all boys. However, there are mixed ones too. There is not a typical school because they are all run differently. It is strange. There are a mix of teachers and ages of teachers. However, I would say I see more men teaching than we do in America.

  7. I find it really interesting that the children can stay in school for as long as they need to pass, with certain perimeters. I think that is a pretty good system. This way the children who may be a little slow or feel a little challenged can continue trying. I feel like that would also help student attitude because it doesn’t put so much stress on you. I would kinda like to have this system if I was in their shoes.

  8. I find it interesting how many different kinds of nonacceptance is permitted in Ghana. Ghanians have adopted the traditional concepts of many cultures around the world, such as the thought of homosexuality as a sin and that “education isn’t necessary (for women). Providing is the man’s job.” I understand that many parents would not insist for their daughters to go to school because they can get raped, but I find it degrading that Ghana still places the value of women in such a lower class than women. They shouldn’t be treated like a tool for the production of offspring, that should be forced to get “married at 10-11. (And forced) not to “waste” their child-bearing years in school.” Women can serve a greater purpose in Ghanian society and I think that the integration of women into schools is the first stepping stone in creating a better community and form greater foundations for success as a nation.

  9. Reading this made me feel very bad about myself. All the time I am complaining about not wanting to go to school because I would rather sleep in or something. This made me realize how selfish I, along with 90% or students in America are considering there are people around the world that are discriminated against for getting an education. The fact that the students at this girls school are willing to walk 3-5 miles to get an education is inspiring. The fact that some of the girls are raped on their way to school and yet still have that desire to learn is unfathomable. I have so much respect for these young ladies and have a new found appreciation that I have the privilege of a sound, safe education.

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