Kajsa Hallberg Adu - wrestling her way to the top
Lecturer and blogger Kajsa Hallberg Adu has carved out a place for herself in Ghana academia, and the country's growing blogging culture. She speaks to Stacey Knott about her work and women in education in Ghana as part of Pulse Women's Month.
She ended up in Ghana as a “love migrant” coming here with her Ghanaian boyfriend who she later married.
They initially said they would try live her for a year, but as Hallberg Adu says “Ghana has worked out great for me.”
“I came in 2007 just after the 50th anniversary since independence. The first year I was doing an internship and enjoying life in a warm country – I come from a cold place.”
She had been blogging and reading Ghanaian blogs, and decided she wanted to met the bloggers she had been following, away from the screens, in real life.
The group of bloggers met in 2008 for the first time, and over the years have worked to create an organisation to promote blogging and social media and give opportunities to learn from each other, and so, Blogging Ghana was born.
It's an organisation for social media enthusiasts, bloggers as well as organisations who are working in the social media space.
They meet twice a month, host talks and annual blogging awards.
When she's not blogging or following others blogs, Hallberg Adu is teaching at Ashesi University.
For the past six years she has been lecturing communication classes as well as political science at the liberal arts college.
It's given her the opportunity to see how girls and women fare in education in Ghana.
“For women in education in Ghana we all know that there is not the same opportunities.”
She notes as girls and women progress through education, their numbers dwindle.
“On the basic level you have about the same number of girls and boys, after we have put in a lot of effort in that, as you go higher you have fewer and fewer girls and women.”
Hallberg Adu says Ashesi takes gender equality seriously, ensuring the admissions are balanced.
“We think it creates a better environment, it mirrors life outside of academia and also the problems we are to solve affects men and women, so we need both of their experiences.”
In saying that, she adds that being a woman in academia can involve getting questioned by male students or colleagues “or them referring to you in ways that are not okay, or refer to your gender or body or something you don't feel comfortable with.”
But, about to complete her PhD, Hallberg Adu says these kind of comments do not worry her.
“I think as you have wrestled your way to this level... I am not so worried with it. I think I can speak back and find my space. What I worry about is students who do not have the same experience and have not been able to wrestle through.”
It's something she discusses with her students, recently the young men in her class said they were willing to share opportunities and power, but also wanted women to take over some of the responsibilities that they said rest solely on men, like being the provider of the house.
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