The convention of women in our traditional or modern societies being subordinated to men dates back to time immemorial.It has been so since creation although it might not be viewed in the same lens by everyone.However,this does not imply that women are totally robbed of their powers as humans in society.It is simply nature that has conducted a segregation excercise to put men in a higher position to dominate over women.
The concept of patriarchy is one that has become the proverbial albatross that hangs around the necks of many philosophers in their quest to unravel the mystery behind the assymmeteric men-women power relationships.Patriarchy is an institutionaliized system wherein women are in all spheres of life subordinated to men.This system is inherent to the Ghanaian traditional cultural set up.
Inferring from the etymology of the word “patriarchy”, one would realize that men are naturally born to take dominion over women and they are in turn required to subordinate themselves to men.It is therefore believed that subordination is also inherent in women and thus this pattern cannot be changed. Contrastingly, the likes of Frederick Engels (1884) argued that women’s subordination to men is man-made which sprang from the development of private property and hence has the tenacity to change.
Also, in the family system, men play the highest role as heads of the family and steer all affairs of the family.In the Ghanaian traditional system,married women are obliged to take on the surnames of men (husbands) as a symbol of ownership.Thus the average Ghanaian woman loses her name right after marriage and this apportions a measure of dominance to men.Men/husbands reserve the right to give identity to their children.In the Akan naming system, it is the man and his family who present the names for their children. It is only in rare cases that men would allow their wives to propose names for their children.
The creation order of God naturally puts men above women.The Bible records in Genesis 2:21, “And the Lord God caused a sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh thereof. And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman.” The first woman was thus created from the rib of man and through this,he is bound to have lordship over the woman.
Notwithstanding the above submission, the Bible in Ephesians and colossians explicitly admonishes women in their married state as wives to submit themselves to their husbands.This has set the tone for the kind of hegemmonic relationship that should exist between men and women. Automatically, women are subordinated to men, and they consequently dominate over women.
Gender has naturally presented two distinct characters in the human race theatre; the masculine and the feminine.This natural division has in one way or the other defined the powers of each side and drawn boundaries around it. Gender plays a key role in men’s dominance and women’s subordination. It pre-determines the capabilities and responsibilities of men and women in the society.Thus biological differences is not only what distinquishes men from women but rather includes the social classification which sets women below men and establish the dominance-subordination pattern.