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First Ghanaian policewoman passes on at 91

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The first Ghanaian woman to be enlisted into the Ghana Police Service, then the Gold Coast Police Force, has died aged 91.

Rosemond Asiamah died at the Police Hospital in Accra on Saturday evening, February 20, 2021.

She became known for fighting for the rights of her fellow policewomen whilst in service.

She celebrated her 90th birthday in January 2020. 

Police Woman One (PW/1) Rosemond Asiama Nkansah, together with 11 other women, were enlisted into the Gold Coast Police Force on September 1, 1952 at the age of 22.

Before then, the police force had been male dominated since its establishment in1894.

On her 90th birthday, members of the Police Ladies Association (POLAS) and retired female police officers joined family members of PW/1 Asiama to celebrate her 90th birthday at a ceremony in Accra.

Two out of the five surviving colleagues graced the occasion while another who lives in the UK sent well wishes.

Forbidden to marry

During the time of the first 12 women in the service, they were forbidden to marry or get pregnant and were compelled to resign if they wanted to go contrary to that directive, and that led to the resignation of some women who joined the service after the first 12.

After serving for five years and nine months, PW/1 Asiama decided to marry so she resigned, “but thinking that women were not being fairly treated as their male counterparts who were allowed to marry and bear children, she decided to do something about it before leaving”.

Before her resignation on May 16, 1958, PW/1 Asiama petitioned the administration and the clause was removed; thus allowing women in the service to marry and bear children and causing those who had resigned to start their families to be reinstated.

President Nkrumah

Ghana’s First President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, saw the need for the inclusion of women in the police force and gave his assent to recruiting women, which became the nucleus of a new branch of the force.

After three months of intensive training, PW/1 Asiama, together with her 11 squad mates, passed out on December 1, 1952.

The first 12 policewomen lived up to the expectations of President Nkrumah throughout their years in the service.

About PW/1 Asiama

Before her enlistment, PW/1 Asiama was a holder of Senior Cambridge and Teacher’s Certificate ‘A’ and taught briefly before joining the police force; so after resignation, as a professional teacher she went back to the teaching profession and taught at St John’s Grammar School from 1961 to 1964.

Thereafter, Ms Asiamah joined the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) in 1965 and was in charge of school broadcasting programmes for a year.

She retired and became a full-time housewife trading in building materials until she retired from active service in 1999 and devoted her time to writing books, translating words in her book Octagon into both foreign and local languages.

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