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GHANA: Teaching My Family to Be Proud of Me

Mma Hasana
Posted September 21, 2016 from Ghana

Growing up, Mma Hasana set out to disprove the myth that boys are better than girls.

We are super girls.
 

My mother gave birth to four strong, powerful girls. I believe she was actually blessed with 16 children because a daughter is equal to four boys.

My mum had been married for more than five years without any children. Then, she married my dad and conceived in her first year of marriage to him. She gave birth to two beautiful twins, of which I am one. Two siblings,Khayraand Ikilima, followed—also girls.

When we were growing up, I constantly heard my dad telling my mum that she should weep for not giving birth to male children. I remember telling my mum to keep calm and to see what we would become. Though she never took my statements seriously, I would tell her we were going to be greater than any boy child could ever be.

My dad has three wives and 17 children. Two of my mum’s co-wives have given birth to all males. Being in a polygamous family made my mum depressed, especially when she saw the pride the other wives had for their sons. In order to support our mum, my sisters and I took up the challenge of breaking norms. We assisted in the construction of our new house; we painted and did plumbing work. We assisted our mum in her trading to boost her income so that she would never regret giving birth to us.

Despite his initial reaction, our dad never discriminated amongst his children when it came to our pursuit of knowledge. We are nine girls and eight boys. All of us were given equal opportunities by our dad. Out of the nine girls, eight have successful completed senior high school; seven made their way to the tertiary level. One became a nurse, one a midwife; three are trained teachers; one is an entrepreneur, and one a civic leader. Then, there is our kid sister who has just completed senior high school and is yet to go to the tertiary level.

With our male counterparts, out of the eight boys, five have completed senior high and only three have been able to complete tertiary education. Two are teachers, one a business executive. So I asked my mum, “Do you still think our brothers are better than us?” You know what the answer is: It’s a big “No!”

We are super girls.

With perseverance and belief in ourselves, we broke the myth. Now our mums are all proud of us. One of myhalf sisterseven paid the expenses for her mum to visit the Holy City of Mecca in 2014. After this happened, I asked my mum again, “Is the male child better than the female child?” And the answer still stands: "No."

This year, I made my mum proud by bringing home the Environmental Youth Activist Award at the African CleanUp Conference in Nigeria. Upon hearing this, she could not hide her joy. I told her to prepare for greater things to come because I’m still climbing the stage.

In the beginning, my mum had it in her mind that she should cry over not giving birth to a male child. Trust me, now she is rejoicing for having given birth to four beautiful, inspirational women. Now, she has come to believe and understand that if the girl child is empowered, she can attain her full potential and be even more economically supportive than her male counterpart.

As women, we have to break the myth that girls are not as strong or as valuable as boys. I know that we are the best ones to pick up this challenge to change the way people view us. Let’s tell the world that it is not disappointing or embarrassing to give birth to girls. Let’s tell the world we are proud to be girls!

Comments 11

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Upasana Chauhan
Sep 21, 2016
Sep 21, 2016

OMG you inspired every blood cell .. touched some deep wounds .. I can't thank you enough for your bravery n inspiration.. This is not a story just in Africa ... it's worldwide .. it's soo true that even today families think that boys can bring them pride rather than girls .. Thanks for changing it in your community.. you are soo brave .. such an inspiration.. m sure your family will be so much proud of you ... would love to know much more about your journey my sister 

Love n Hugs

Ahhdg
Sep 22, 2016
Sep 22, 2016

Hi Mma,

Your story is excellent and inspired. Thank you for sharing this story to us. Actually, I have a resonance with you since what you believe is what mom keeps telling me. My dad does not value girl as much as my mom. So my mom always encourage me and give me all kinds of support I need to achieve my performance. 

Please hold your faith and belief with you, and inspire more and more girls by your story.

Best,

April 

JANEKALU
Sep 22, 2016
Sep 22, 2016

Dear Mma  am happy that your family is among the people breaking the stereotype that a house without a male child is empty. Continue the good work, in no distance time the world will come to term with the fact women are the pillar that holds the home.

Cheers

Jane kalu.

ShellyAx-Bee
Sep 22, 2016
Sep 22, 2016

Beautiful. I can completly connect with you as my mother only has girls and my father has boys from following marriages.

Thank you for a great piece 

Jessica Foumena
Sep 22, 2016
Sep 22, 2016

Hey Mma,

Your piece is powerful. Let's keep sharing our stories so together, we may build a better future for women and Africa. It's nonsense that girls and women as seen as secondary citizens in this age. I share your pain but always your victory. I agree with everything you wrote so well. If there's anything I can do to support you in your mission or vision, please reach out to me. I'm very proud of you. You go girl!

Elvire
Sep 23, 2016
Sep 23, 2016

Dear Mma,

I agree a 100% : intelligence, strength, resilience, success, are no gender issues. If given a chance, girls can do wonderful things.

I am glad your father understood that and invested in you. I am also glad you wiped your mother's tears in grand style! I hope your 8 brothers can look at you 9 and write a different story in their own marriages.

Press on, more girls need to be given the opportunity; and more adults need to understand the world around. 

rosemary_ntoipo
Sep 24, 2016
Sep 24, 2016

Dear Mma,

What a wonderful piece this is. Am so proud of you. You made me see a girl with a difference. First, I like the way you appreciate yourself that you are beautiful. This is an indication of self appreciation and a sign of courage.

You are such an inspiration to many girls and women. Am very happy that you made your mother proud and changed the myth on boy preference to girls. This will make other men appreciate their daughters in future and support them.

As for your dad am sure he now sees and appreciates you and if he has not he will some day. That's the strength of a woman. Keep it up girl, you are great will continue progressing. Best wishes

With lots and lots of love,

Rosemary.

helen.ng
Sep 25, 2016
Sep 25, 2016

Thank you for sharing such an empowering story! I absolutely love how you started off with "a daughter is equal to four boys." I completely agree with you in that girls are and boys deserve every equal opportunity offered, as both genders have the potential to make the most out of it. And I love how you and your sisters were strong enough to break down the misconception that girls are just as strong as boys, with the help of your father who believed in each and every one of you.

Natasha L
Oct 03, 2016
Oct 03, 2016

Dear Mma

Yes! Yes! Yes!  You are an inspiring, wise, passionate, talented and hard working daughter, woman and human being.  Your mother is proud of you.

I am so grateful to have read your story and been uplifted to hear of the ways you are changing hearts and minds.

Shine on, Mma -

Natasha

danadabbous
Nov 24, 2016
Nov 24, 2016

Thank you for this inspiring story. It is great to fight for this equality that you speak of. I definitely believe you will go on to achieve many great things that will make your family rejoice and be very proud of you!

Best, -Dana

helen.ng
Dec 11, 2016
Dec 11, 2016

Hello Mma,

This is a really beautiful piece of writing! Thank you for sharing your story with us. Your experiences are so inspiring, and serve as a constant reminder for women and girls to continue fighting for their rights no matter where they are in the world.