The issue of gender imbalance in Ghana when it comes to enrollment of both sexes into vocational and technical schools has been a problem.
Although there has been some advocacy for females to pursue technical courses, little if any, has been done to encourage males to take up vocational courses.
The number of females in technical schools in Ghana is not encouraging and same can be said for the number of males in vocational schools.
In our second cycle institutions, the few courageous males who take up Home Economics are usually discouraged because they are teased by their mates in school. This is because the Home Economics course is seen generally as a female’s domain and as such males venturing into the field are discouraged by either friends or family.
In the typical Ghanaian society, a man is raised to be a technical person; to fix things in the house and to create things. The woman is taught to be homely and to submit to the technical man, thus vocational and technical courses offered by the second cycle institutions are either male dominated for technical courses or female dominated for vocational courses.
Males who have interest in learning skills such as catering, hairdressing or sewing are labeled as homosexuals and women who are interested in carpentry, electronics among others are seen as bossy women who will refuse to submit to their men in future.
In India, gone are the days where Home Science was seen as a woman’s course. The Government College in Mohali now receives more male applicants willing to study Home Science than female applicants. Even though the course was started with the females in mind, the males followed their passion and began enquiries into the course. In 2010, a class of 160 had an over 60% male population.
According to research by the World Bank, in Ghana, over 25% of female students applying to the second cycle institutions opt for Home Science as their first choice whiles less than 2% of males do.
It is high time people are educated to realise and accept that one’s profession should not be defined based on his or her gender. Every person irrespective of their sex should be encouraged to excel in any area they choose.
Individuals, who are forced to bend to society against their will, often follow paths that lead to their failure. I believe everyone should be given the chance to follow their passion as passions often bring about the best in the individual.
I therefore call on all stakeholders including parents to encourage more males to pursue Home Science courses and females, more challenges in the technical world.
This article is part of our gender related series of features. It was written by Rashidatu Ibrahim, Ramatu Sulemana, Deborah Wiafe Agyei, Ruby Ani-Agyei and Grace Awai Kape, all students of the Ghana Institute of Journalism.