Side by Side Interviews Ayishetu Abdul-Kadiri

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Our Side by Side intern, Aliah Ali interviews Side by Side Ghana member Ayishetu Abdul-Kadiri, who is a member of the Federation of Muslim Women’s Association Ghana (FOMWAG)

  1. What in your experience, has been some of the positive progress in women’s rights in Ghana?

One of the positive changes was done through our work in empowering women through education and SRHR awareness. Through promoting primary education, we managed to educate girls and women about their rights. Getting girls to primary education was key to challenging the practice of child marriage. Our women’s empowerment program also engages women in economic activities to promote independence of women even in their marital homes.

Another progress we have seen is the willingness of male religious leaders to speak up on the issue of rights for women and girls. On the 25th of January 2020, FOMWAG conducted a gender sensitization seminar for Imams. In the seminar, FOMWAG raised crucial questions on gender equality such as girls’ education, women’s economic empowerment and how addressing these issues is important for tackling poverty.

The attendees at the seminar referred back to the Quran and hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad) to highlight often overlooked verses and quotes that promote the well being of women and girls. The seminar was particularly powerful as the Imams at the seminar acknowledged that they had not done enough to preach about gender equality. This realisation also highlighted the potential of Imams as leaders to speak from their pulpit to preach about women and girls’ rights.

As a follow up to the seminar, members of FOMWAG attended Friday prayers where the Imams preached about the need to promote education, entrepreneurial training and economic independence for women.

  1. Why are faith leaders important in achieving gender justice and what can they do in the progress towards gender justice?

Faith leaders have for the longest time been led predominantly by men, and without realising it, have neglected to promote gender equality. Therefore, it is time for religious leaders to promote gender equality and highlight the message that we are all equal before the Creator and because of that we need to be fair and just. Faith leaders need to teach both men and women to be gender aware to influence power relations at the domestic level which will translate into the societal level.

  1. What can we look forward to in 2020 from the movement in Ghana?

As it is election year in Ghana, FOMWAG plans to address the problems of political violence and vigilantism in before, during and after elections.

Thank you so much to Ayishetu Abdul-Kadiri for giving her time to be interviewed and all the work that she does for gender justice. If you would like to be featured on our website, please email:

Posted by: Side by Side | Thursday, March 5th, 2020
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