Breaking the Status Quo For Young Women

International Women's Day 2018

International Women’s Day 2018

In celebration of International Women’s Day and the African Women’s Leadership Conference at Wellesley College, Scholars explain how gender has shaped their leadership journeys. Sharon Afri Prah studies English. She is a Scholar in the Program at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

In a world of too many limitations as to what a male or female should do, it is seemingly impossible to undertake certain responsibilities or positions, especially in a male dominated environment. My leadership journey is no exception. However, the need and desire for change led to the alteration of the status quo.

For the first time in the history of Peki Senior High Technical school located in the Volta region of Ghana, West Africa, a girl filed for the position of Senior Prefect, an office that had been reserved for boys until then. The chaos that ensued after my nomination was a story to be told. One question bothered their minds: why change the status quo?

So, I asked myself, why change the status quo and was there any need for that?

The answer was yes — as a young teenager living in a society that has negatively oriented its people concerning gender equality, I was inspired by the likes of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the 24th president of Liberia and the first elected female head of state in Africa. I realized I could do more than just watch — I decided to take a bold step and gloriously emerged as the winner of a position that was previously solely reserved for boys.

This was just the beginning of an experience that sharpened my leadership skills and challenged me to break societal limits that restrained an ability to create changes in the community. In serving as the first ever female Senior Prefect cum President of the Students’ Representative council, I discovered that the responsibilities that came along were never beyond the capacity of the 21st century girl. My role came with difficulties as well as challenges but today, I am not only confident and bold, I am conscious of my abilities as a woman. I know I can equally impact and impart my world and make it a better place.

It is not good enough that we advocate for gender equality without removing the barriers that already exist for women throughout the continent. If Africa MUST progress, then it is incumbent on the society to allow for some liberty and pave the way for the girl child and women to contribute to its growth.

Meet Sharon Afi Prah

Sharon Afi Prah, Mastercard Foundation Scholar at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

Sharon Afi Prah, Mastercard Foundation Scholar at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

Sharon’s story is part of a series for International Women’s Day that is highlighting stories from Mastercard Foundation Scholars about how gender has shaped their leadership journeys. Continue reading more posts in the series here.