Nations as Women

“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.”

Virginia Woolf’s declaration in Three Guineas carries weight in part to her assertions that “nothing is ever just one thing…”  Woolf’s reflection on women, violence, and nationalism contributes to a discussion of shared responsibility and the role of women as developing our relationships with each other transnationally to develop a feminist coalition.  This statement can be a positive or misguided sentiment, depending on how you look at it.  There is a hopeful or assumptive connotation to claiming that womanhood transcends countries or that there is a possible solidarity among women.  It also at once comments on marginalization within one’s own country as a woman and the desire to break free of nationalistic boundaries, and perhaps cultural boundaries, between women.  Such a statement however runs the risk of further displacement and exclusion of women from men and from each other.  It is clear that Woolf is trying to undermine nationalistic violcence and conflict, but the world as a country is just another imagined community who’s belief in intersection can normalize what other women have to bring to the conversation.  It is a more positive assertion in my eyes even if it emphasizes a rejection of one’s assigned nation or culture, because it asserts that there is a tangible desire for a global conversation for women, and that is an important desire to have.  We can only stop normalizing women and their plights with a step toward a humble conversation.

On a related note the Ghana Review International published the Secretary General of the United Nation’s address on International Women’s Day, March 8th, and offered their own commentary in terms of Ghanaian education for women and girls.

“Only through women’s full and equal participation in all areas of public and private life can we hope to achieve the sustainable, peaceful and just society promised in the United Nations Charter.”

This excerpt from the address is concise in making clear how the work to make other half of the population no longer the other is necessary and constant.  The population of women and girls are needed to be fully engaged and autonomous peoples to be able to address the scope and magnitude of issues we face as a county in Ghana and globally. 

GRI calls for continued affirmative action in women’s education with a 30 percent quota on Ghanian Education decision-making boards, and interestingly asserts that this sort of integration can create more “gender-sensitive” teachers, therefore a better environment for women in schools as well as more opportunities in the first place.  This two sides initiative is encouraging and at the same time it places responsibility on the newly included women to portray and permeate gender sensitivity, the term itself is unclear on its projected position for women.  Despite these concerns there is a theoretical attempt to continue a conversation on women in education, and an acceptance that this is not a one-dimensional issue.

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