General News of Saturday, 10 March 2018
Gender parity and gender mainstreaming appear to have assumed a very important pedestal across the world, breaking the glass seals for women to attain their full potentials.
Even so, till now it looks out of the ordinary to find females in some professions which come across as requiring masculinity and some extra zeal to occupy.
One of such professions is the military once ascribed to brave and well-statured men with the ability to do the unthinkable.
It, however, appears the trend is changing pretty much with women at the very forefront of military activities within the Ghana Armed forces, a trend which was once not the usual.
Lieutenant Mary Kwakumey is on regimental training at the 4th infantry battalion in Kumasi and commander of the anti-armed robbery operation calm life contingent performing a silent drill at the 4th Infantry Battalion in the Ashanti Regional capital Kumasi.
Entering the military and rising through the ranks as a female she says, requires some mental fortitude to operate just like any other man would.
“It starts from the mindset right from the day you enter into training. In the military, there is nothing like women or men. We all do the same thing. If it comes to physical training, we do the same and it’s the same with weapons. That is why you have women manning weapons and we have women who are drivers with some driving these armored vehicles,” she says with a smile.
She indicates that those looks of surprise still exist among the public when they see women like her jacked up in their uniforms and wielding lethal weapons going about their operational duties.
2nd Lieutenant Kwakumey says peculiar female issues like that time of the month and pregnancy are no excuses for her strenuous and demanding profession.
“There is nothing like I am in my time of the month so you will not do it because on the war front if you are in the time of the month and the enemy is coming, you are expected to react. So there is no excuse and that is what we call pain is the thing of the mind. You keep the pain in your mind and then you continue doing what is expected of you,” the young Lieutenant admitted.
2ND In Command of the 4th Infantry Battalion Major Emmanuel Sosu told Ultimate News’ Ivan Heathcote – Fumador, female empowerment is top on the agenda of the military with certain quotas allotted for women to be enlisted and encouraged to rise through the ranks.
He explained, “Even now as far as recruitment into the Ghana Armed Forces is concerned, there is a quota given to females and we try to encourage them. Formerly we did not have female soldiers as combatants but now you see them in the trenches with us. So that is to prove a point that what the men can do, the women can equally do.”
For the men who find it a dangerous endeavor approaching women in the military, 2ND Lieutenant Mary Kwakumey thinks otherwise. She says you can approach just like you would make attempts at any other woman.
“I won’t say men find it difficult to approach. If you want to approach, you approach. If you are too fearful, you stay back. It’s an individual thing because we have our women married to civilians. It’s up to you the individual to be able to cope and know that your woman is in a profession that she will demand a lot of support from you,”
From all indications, the Ghana Armed Forces have every course to be accorded some good rating in women empowerment as the world marks International Women’s Day.