This week, we've been doing research for presentations we'll be doing sometime next week. Heidi and I are doing our presentation on Women in Ghanaian Music. After hearing our guest speaker John Collins speak about this topic, we realized we had many directions to choose from. Some genres, like Hip-Life, are very male-dominated and often quite misogynistic, where other genres like gospel can be very empowering for women. Although finding research was a bit tough, Heidi and I were both pleasantly surprised when we found a Gender Studies department at the University of Ghana. Even in Canada, many universities do not have Gender Studies, so this in itself told us that Ghana may be becoming increasingly progressive in terms of women's rights and equality.
Although we had trouble finding academic sources, I believe one of the best ways to learn about Women and Gender in a new society is through looking at day-to-day experiences with a critical lens. For instance, our group went to an amazing performance on Wednesday, where at the end, many of the girls in our group were stating how much they enjoyed the show, asking questions, etc. Then one of the performers asked, "In our culture, the men speak, we want to know what the man (Dennis, the one male on our trip) has to say!"
These experiences, along with our time at the Gender Studies department, showed us that just like in music, gender in society is always complex. Both Heidi and I can't wait to learn more about it!