The quote “behind every successful man, there is a woman” has seemingly become a cliché. Dr James Kwegyir Aggrey, Ghanaian intellectual couldn’t have been wrong when he said “if you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a nation”.
The debate on whether a woman can be just as effective as a man when place at the helm of affairs over the years has seen proofs in support and against the assertion.
Now the question is? Is it even possible for a woman to lead and achieve results? Let us consider Queen Amina of Zaria of Nigeria. Amina ascended the throne, following the death of her brother in the tenth year of his rule and is said to have matured into a fierce warrior who earned the respect of the Zazzau (Zaria) military.
Within three months of inheriting the throne, Queen Amina embarked on what was to be the first in an ongoing series of military engagements associated with her rule. She stood in command of an immense military band and personally led the horse regiment of Zazzau (Zaria) through an ongoing series of campaigns, waging war continually throughout the course of her sovereignty.
African chronicler, P. J. M. McEwan quoted the Kano Chronicles, which stated that Amina, “conquered all the towns as far as Kwararafa [to the north] and Nupe [in the south]” in her exploits in battle in Nigeria.
Egypt’s mysterious Neferen Nerfetiti whose name ‘Nefertiti’ means “a beautiful woman has come,” was the queen of Egypt and wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten during the 14th century B.C.
She was not only deemed charming but carried an aura of mysterious air around her. No wonder she bore many titles including Hereditary Princess; Great of Praises; Lady of Grace, Sweet of Love; Lady of The Two Lands ; Main King’s Wife, his beloved; Great King’s Wife, Lady of all Women; and Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt.
Deeply loved by the king, Nerfetiti stands out as one of the powerful women in history as she is said to have ruled side by side with the king.
She together with Pharaoh Akhenaten established the cult of Aten, the sun god, and promoted Egyptian artwork that was radically different from its predecessors.
They left the legacy of creating a whole new religion which changed the ways of religion within Egypt at what was arguably the wealthiest period of Ancient Egyptian history.
Some scholars believe Nefertiti ruled briefly as Neferneferuaten after her husband’s death and before the accession of Tutankhamun, although this identification is a matter of ongoing debate.
She was made famous by her bust, now in Berlin’s Neues Museum, shown to the right. Her bust is one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt.
To drive the message home, Queen mother of Ejisu Obaahemaa Yaa Asantewaa of the Ashanti Kingdom, Ghana, cannot to be left out of the history of valiant women of ancient times.
In 1900, she led the Ashanti rebellion known as the War of the Golden Stool, also known as the Yaa Asantewaa war, against British colonialism.
Her courage was strongly expressed during the tense moment in the Ashanti Kingdom when British governor-general of the Gold Coast (Ghana), Frederick Hodgson, demanded the Golden Stool, the symbol of the Asante nation.
A meeting was held at which Yaa Asantewaa was present. At the point when there seemed to be some sort of confusion over this matter, she had valiantly challenged them in these word, “Now, I see that some of you fear to go forward to fight for our King. If it was in the brave days of Osei Tutu, Okomfo Anokye, and Opoku Ware I, chiefs would not sit down to see their King to be taken away without firing a shot. No European could have dared speak to chiefs of Asante in the way the governor spoke to you this morning. Is it true that the bravery of Asante is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be! I must say this: if you, the men of Asante, will not go forward, then we will. We, the women, will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight! We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.” Such was the courage of a lone woman in such dreadful times in the history of Ghana.
In our time, embattled Dilma Vana Rousseff Brazil President may not fall in the category of the ‘happily ever after’ trend in this debate, she should be a strong woman to have earned her place in governance in the first place.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Ann Mayer may not have been able to turn the fortunes of Yahoo around entirely, but she earned a respectable place as CEO of a giant global e-mailing system company in the most competitive era.
Angela Dorothea Merkel Germany chancellor has been able to managed the influx of tens of thousands of travellers in migration crisis that has seen hundreds drown in attempts to seek asylum in Europe due to wars, insurgency, poverty etc across the globe.
That is why I will not be surprise if Hillary Clinton eventually brush off competition for her rival Bernie Sanders and go ahead to win the US presidential elections in November.
These are but a myriad instances that go to affirm that despite the dominance of men in this progressive wave and completive times in which we live, we should never underestimate the strength, courage and effectiveness of a determined woman. Men have always had their place in the front, but this generation of women are fast catching up. To my dear women “Yes we can” and we must lead when the opportunity comes.