Why Do Women Suffer the Most During Old Age?
Why do only women suffer the most during old age? Are they not human beings? What makes them different from the men? Do women enjoy their human rights during old age? What then are human rights? It is not easy to give a concise internationally accepted definition.
Human rights mean that every person is entitled to the standards or conditions necessary for living a decent life. Human rights are those basic entitlements that protect our ability to satisfy our basic needs with dignity and respect and human beings have them by virtue of the fact that they are human beings rather than as citizens of a particular country.
Human rights are universally recognized as fundamental to the dignity of the individual. Meaning that all people are entitled to them irrespective of their citizenship, nationality, gender ethnic origin, social status or age. They are inherent in every person, that is, we are born with them. As such, they are not doled out by any government.
Human rights are also inalienable. Where lies the equality before the law? When in their old age they cannot talk and do things like their colleague males in the rural and some urban communities. When in their old age they cannot go about their normal duties like their male counterparts. The fundamental freedom of free expression and easy movement for all is not enjoyed by majority of aged women in some Ghanaian families.
Societies use many different ways to propagate beliefs through the use of old proverbs, rules, songs and rituals surrounded by certain messages we grow up well versed in these beliefs that society has for us in terms of our attitudes and behavior.
For instance, we are conditioned to accept that women play a subordinate role and should be treated as the inferior sex.’The male is by nature superior and the female inferior. One rules and the other is ruled” 4th Century BC,” To be a woman is to submit” Chinese proverb.
“To bear a girl is to bear a problem” Ethiopian Proverb, “A woman, a dog, a hickory tree, the more you beat them, they better be” European Proverb. “A woman belongs to her father when she is born, To her husband when she is married and to her son when she is widowed”. Laws of Manu 300 A. D(India).Sadly these are few of the proverbs describing who and the role a woman should play or be in society.
Ghana as a country has its own proverbs and sayings which reflects our deeply entrenched attitudes and positions about the roles of women. Tradition is passed on from generation to generation through socialization and its deeply rooted. Moreover, the vast majority of custodians of our traditions thus chiefs and elders are men, making the aged women suffer the most.
They are mostly alleged witches based on what they say or do together with their male counterparts. Due to their small representation in leadership positions, their voices are not often heard but the plight of the aged is long over due and something should be done urgently about it.Infact in this our cruel, grab society where the aged women are beaten up because of dreams and suspicions on the ticket of witchcraft, there is the need for stiffer punishment for culprits of this act.
History has been made and will repeat itself one day somewhere among families and friends. Who knows the next alleged witch/wizard? Nobody can tell. It can be your mother/father, your sister/brother and probably yourself.
By Laar, Daniel Dammir(EFEG)