Gender and Sexuality in Africa

For the past few weeks I have read numerous Ghanaian newspaper articles with the following  headlines:

  • “ Ghana’s Western Regional Minister orders All gays to be arrested”. (source: Towleroad)
  • “Paul Evans Aidoo’s Ghana ‘gay spy’ call promotes hatred”. (Source: BBC)
  • “Ghana rights groups warn of anti gay hate campaign”.  (Source: Toronto Star)

Upon reading these headlines, I wonder what all the fuss is. Ghana is a country with over fifty percent of its population living on less than a dollar a day. Our Roads, infrastructure, health and education systems are in disarray. Cholera, malaria and many other preventable diseases continue to afflict and kill our people.  These are the real issues in our country.

Why are our media houses, government officials, government institutions, and churches placing such a great deal of time, energy and resources on a matter that affects less than 1 percent of our entire population?  Sexuality and sexual preference is a personal issue, it would be extremely difficult to enforce any laws, which criminalise gay and lesbian acts. It would also be a waste of resources.

My hope is that these social institutions would tackle the real concerns faced in this country with the same enthusiasm and passion as they do when addressing the gay and lesbian issue in Ghana. Issue such as the plight of women and girls. We need to ensure that all young girls are empowered through quality education, and programs which teach them entrepreneurial and life skills. We should all strive to create an environment where young girls are not sexually exploited and do not feel the need to compromise their values and morals to obtain material possession which men provide for them.

The role of Ghanaian women in society is slowly evolving. Egyptian poet Hafez Ibrahim said: “When you educate a woman, you create a nation”. Many men in our father’s generation are of the opinion that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant. It is encouraging to talk to young men who understand the value, power and purpose a woman possesses not only in the home environment but also as worthy participator in business, government and the church environment.

My wish is to live in a society where my achievements are not limited to whom I marry or the number of children I bare, a society where one is not judged based on their sexual preference, gender, ethnicity or social standing. It should be rather by their integrity, excellence and positive contribution to their communities. Let it be in our lifetime…

Kate Tutu

Social Entrepreneur,Business Consultant, Editor of Feint & Margin, a young woman who's passionate about Africa's people and development.

4 thoughts on “Gender and Sexuality in Africa

  • July 29, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Hi Kate

    Great article. With all the pressing issues that African governments face, one would think sexuality would be of least priority. The Anti-Homosexuality bill in Uganda got so much attention, not only by media houses but worse of by MPs. 


    • July 31, 2011 at 10:28 am

      Thank you Konke. It is quite disturbing to see the amount of attention our politicians are placing on this issue.

  • December 9, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Hey Kate. love it. its true how govts focus on whats not helping development. we need a new kind of thinking across the world.

    • December 9, 2011 at 10:27 am

      Musayani, thank you, agree with you on all fronts. Think its time citizens start to shape the national Agenda, left soley to politicians we’ll be debating issues of less importance and sensational.


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