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Elizabeth Ohene: Style and vision in charge

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Something interesting is happening at the University of Ghana. I don’t think there was any big, strategic plan. It certainly has nothing to do with quotas or affirmative action. But the University of Ghana has suddenly turned very feminine.

I hesitated a bit about pointing it out, just in case I attracted the attention of the usual suspects with their misogynistic tendencies.

I have taken a deep breath and I am pointing out that many of the top positions at the university are currently being held by females.

Obviously, these positions have throughout the 70+ years of this university been held by men and it was not something that anyone had thought about commenting on. After all, that is the normal thing, isn’t it? The men tend to be in charge.

The interesting thing about what is happening at Legon right now is that some of these positions have been occupied by females in other parts of the country and at other times and sometimes even at Legon, but this must surely be the first time that there has been such an aggregation of females in such powerful positions at the same time at a university in this country.

And not just in this country but probably in the whole wide world.

There had been a female Vice Chancellor at a public university in this country, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang was Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast from 2008 to 2012.

The current Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), is Professor Rita Akosua Dickson, she is female and was appointed a year ago.

Therefore, the University of Ghana appointing a female acting Vice Chancellor, (hopefully the acting will be dropped soon) should not be big news, indeed some may say Legon is a bit late.

Registrar

Last Sunday, Emelia Agyei-Mensah was sworn in as Registrar of the university; that by itself might be taken as a big deal, a female Registrar, except that Mrs Agyei-Mensah was succeeding Mercy Haizel-Ashia, who was the first female registrar in Legon and has now been succeeded by another female registrar to demonstrate, hopefully, that Mercy Haizel-Ashia as first female registrar in Legon wasn’t a flash in the pan.

KNUST had taken the lead in this sector with Sophia Quarshie-Sam as Registrar between the years 2000 and 2006.

There have been and there are female chancellors of universities in other parts of the world but we got our first female chancellor of the University of Ghana three years ago when Mrs Mary Chinery-Hesse was sworn in on August 1, 2018.

There are probably some females who are the chair of university councils in countries around the world but we have just got our first one with the appointment of Her Ladyship Sophia Akuffo as chair of the University of Ghana Council.


The writer is the former editor of the Daily Graphic, BBC Focus on Africa and Education Minister in the Kufuor administration.

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