Marriage, like any other partnership or relationship involving two people, should have the common good of the parties at heart. Yet, some section of the Ghanaian social media landscape seems to robustly argue that a lot of Ghanaian marriages curtail the progress of one party, the woman.
In this piece, I will argue against this assertion—and erect a missing point, that Ghanaian women should achieve as much as they want before getting into marriages where huge compromises are naturally expected of the woman.
All over Ghana, women get married when they have nothing to their names—at best, except a degree or some lousy paying jobs. Building a solid career takes years, even if you start early.
To become a specialist lawyer for instance will take you about 6 to 8 years of legal education and training—imagine you having started this journey at the age of 23. You will need to be in your early 30s to be finding your feet in the legal field.
On the back of a strange primitive mindset, a lot of Ghanaian women become focused, perhaps the right word is fixated, on marriage right out of University. Many end up at prayer camps, shouting day and night for a husband.
Several Ghanaian women get married when they have nothing to their names—in terms of career or finances. The expensive weddings also clean them up, and rob them of any little savings they may have managed to accumulate.
Going into a marriage without a career, money or any solid business, and expecting to combine marriage to building any of these is difficult. Yet, this is the common path amongst young Ghanaian women.
And then comes childbirth, what I call the natural compromise. Right after marriage, the next thing is to have a child. With the Ghanaian, one is never enough—so we are talking about 3 or 4. This will easily take up about 4 to 5 years of the woman’s life.
All these will be happening at a time that such a person has not even started a career or any business. Those who would have been lucky to have started a career would have to cut the growth short to focus on childbirth immediately after marriage.
Then 10 years down the line, with 3 or 4 children, no career or business in a swiftly changing world, the Ghanaian woman is left hanging—and claiming that her man or marriage has robbed her of the economic progress she deserves.
While on the face of it one could argue that but for the marriage, the Ghanaian woman would have at least achieved something in the field of employment or business, this indictment fails to consider the crucial deciding factor of CHOICE.
Heartrendingly, when most young Ghanaian women find themselves in between building a financial future or career and marriage, they quickly jumped for marriage, cheered on by their annoying family and friends.
No one wants to delay marriage in Ghana, even if it’s to build something for themselves.
People go into marriages with empty hands and expect to suddenly have bags full of quality grains. Where will these fall from? Marriage is not a magic trip.
On the contrary, young Ghanaian men mostly build themselves up before taking up marriages. Of course, there are the few fools who just marry the daughters of others when they don’t even have a place to sleep.
The notion that the man must provide aids the culture of men building themselves, either through businesses or employment—and sometimes even building their own houses before getting married.
I got married at the time when I was done with most of my legal education—I had done 6 years of legal studies and was about finishing my final stage. I had a career mapped out, and I had a business that was earning me enough.
What’s truly the obstacle to the progress of most Ghanaian women is not their marriages but the fact that they chose marriage so soon, over building anything for themselves. And after marriage, they choose children so quickly over setting the foundation for any proper economic empowerment.
The question: what does he do for a living is mostly just asked of the man. The woman can be doing nothing with her life, and that is fine. She is permitted by all standards to get married.
Then years down the line, the same woman would become bitter, and blame her husband or marriage for her failure to progress through the various economic strata.
It’s not mostly the man or the marriage. If you want to become a doctor—why don’t you achieve this before getting married? If you want to become a CEO, why don’t you achieve this before getting married—so that you can go into the marriage, half full or completely full?
I have a friend who is now trying to get a degree—after marriage and 3 young children. How do you think this journey is going to be at the age of 36 when the brains are always tired?
If marriage is the obstacle, then why the unending patronage, year after year in Ghana?