Professor Mansah Prah of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) on Tuesday called on the University authorities to employ more women lecturers and to support them to enable them to give of their best.
She said women had the requisite experiences and expertise to work effectively in the university but because they found themselves in a male dominated environment it was difficult for them to make any meaningful impact.
Prof Prah made the call in her inaugural lecture at the University on the topic “Through a Woman’s Eyes: A version of events.”
The lecture was attended by lecturers, students and a cross section of the public.
The title of the lecture was directly derived from the logic of feminist epistemological discourses that took into account women’s experiences as valid knowledge for interpreting social and symbolic systems, as well as other theoretical approaches to the analysis of the social world to give voice to minorities.
Prof. Prah presented and analyzed her experience as a lecturer at the UCC, arguing that “it is very much a gendered institution, with cultures, rules and organizational outcomes that are based on males' values and attitudes”.
She also argued that like other universities, the UCC was a "greedy institution" that fully absorbed the energies of its workers.
Prof Prah argued that career making was not a linear and cumulative process but rather a meandering and rhythmic one, especially for women who were unpopular and considered socially and culturally deviant.
“As long as women membership do not increase and attitude and institutional cultures remain unchanged, most women who work in the university will not have the opportunity to develop to their full potential and contribute their best to the university”, she added.
In this regard she recommended that UCC should establish a unit that will help resolve the psychological abuse of members and also create space where work place harassment could be resolved.
Prof Prah also recommended that more women should be encouraged to hold inaugural lectures, adding that in the more than 50 years of the existence of the UCC, she was the second woman to give such a lecture which, she said, was not good enough.
She noted that the UCC had a 15.6 per cent female staff population, adding that out of the 68 committees in the school, only three had women representatives.
The lecture was chaired by the Vice Chancellor, Professor D.D. Kuupole, who thanked Professor Prah for sharing her experiences as a staff of the school with the public, as well as her contributions towards its growth and development.
Prof Mansah Prah was born in August 1954, had her secondary education in Achimota and Holy Child School and graduated from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, with an MA in Sociology and Anthropology in 1978, followed by her PhD at the University of Frankfurt, also in Germany, in 1984.
She was the Head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of UCC from 2000-2004, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences from 2004-2006 and the Dean of that faculty from 2006-2009.
Prof Prah has been a gender consultant for the UNFPA, UN Women, The Commonwealth Secretariat and the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (NUFFIC).
She was presented with a citation and bouquet of flowers from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences and her husband, Professor Haruna Yakubu, Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies (UDS).
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