Tettey is a 40 year-old father of three who lives in Eastern Ghana. His life was changed when he participated in a gender and diversity sensitization training through World Vision.
His wife, Mamle, 25, said, “The Gender and Diversity program has really influenced my husband and changed the way things are done in my community.”
The program taught community members how certain cultural norms – like women being the ones to do all the household chores- can be harmful to the health of mothers and children.
“Helping my wife with household chores reduces the time she spends in doing the chores and it gives her time to rest,” Tettey said.
He added that his wife is not as tired as before and this enables them to spend more time together as a couple. They also have time to help their children with their homework.
Tettey, Mamle and their three children, Janet (four), Patience (three) and Gabriel, (18 months). Photo: Jason Amoo
Mamle explained that after participating in the second of three Gender and Diversity training sessions in their community, her husband began to help out with household chores and taking care of their children.
She added, “Now whenever I am busy cooking in the morning, my husband will always help to prepare the kids for school.” In the photo at the top, that's just what Tettey is doing.
According to the couple, men in their community do not traditionally help their wives with household chores like cooking or bathing children, because these are considered “women’s duties”. It is considered counter-cultural for a man to do household chores or carry a baby on his back.
Here in Canada, about 76% of men now participate in household chores, up from 51% in the 1980s. Still, Stats Can reports that Canadian women still do more than twice as much child care as Canadian men.
Mamle and Tettey have had to fight against this gender discrimination to better their family.
Mamle said that, “Men in the community always tease Tettey when they see him helping in household chores or carrying his youngest child on his back. Some even try to talk him out of it, but he always explains to them that he is determined not to be influenced because he knows it is the right thing to do.”
A Chief’s Example
Improving gender equality for women and girls, men and boys, has benefitted not only Mamle and Tettey, but their whole community.
The area chief, or Dademantse, named Quist, is helping to spearhead change in his community through the concepts he learned in training.
A World Vision-led gender sensitivity training in rural Ghana. Photo: Jason Amoo
Prior to the training, he and his elders spent most evenings settling disputes among couples, many of these involving intimate-partner violence, but since the training, there are hardly any disputes that require his involvement.
“The Gender and Diversity activity has brought peace to many homes because when a man helps his wife, she is satisfied and this reduces quarrels in a lot of homes. The woman is also able to rest, which is good for her health,” Quist said.
Quist models the messages he has learned in the training by sharing household chores, such as washing dishes and doing laundry, together with his wife Gladys. When a couple is arguing, the Dademantse now suggests that they come to see how he helps his wife around their household and on the farm, and learn from him.
Tettey carries his son on his back. Photo: Jason Amoo
By Joanna Baidoo, edited by Loria Kulathungam and Megan Radford