Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Emma Sintim-Only female driver in Parliament

Emma Sintim-Only female driver in Parliament
The Mirror, Saturday, March 14, 2009 (Mirror News) Page 34
Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah

“What a man can do, a woman can do better.” This saying has been the cardinal principle of genders activists, who have for some time snot, been pushing issues about women to the fore and putting in programmes to ensure females rub shoulders with their male counterparts. Now, women are seen doing work which was hitherto considered as the domain of men due to the increasing awareness and encouragement by the government and the civil society about how far women can go in life, only if they could shelve the ancient mentality that the woman’s place is only in the kitchen.

When I first saw 48-year old Emma Sintim hanging around the Member of Parliament (MP) for New Juaben South, Ms Beatrice Bernice Boateng, I though she may be one of those people who trooped to Parliament daily to seek assistance from their MPs.

Little did I know that Madam Sintim was the driver of that female MP. I became curious since all the drivers I had seen MPs over the years were men. How can a female MP be driven by a female driver? That is the question that was asked by a friend I was chatting with. Without waiting for an answer, he exclaimed, “This is real empowerment of women. Soon women will overtake us by the storm.”

Madam Sintim told The Mirror that she learnt driving in 1990 from her late husband and now she is reaping the benefits of her efforts.

The driver, who said she was the Market Queen of the Koforidua Dwaben Serwaa Market, said she had known the MP for the past two years. “I started driving her during the campaign period and I was happy upon winning the election, she decided that I should continue to be her driver.”
Being the only female driver among over 200 drivers chauffeuring the country’s legislators Ms Sintim feels proud to be part of the few Ghanaian women who have taken jobs considered to be men’s preserve.

She is a proud mother of two girls, one of whom has completed the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and is currently working at the Presbyterian Press in Accra. The other one is currently pursuing higher academic laurels in engineering in China.

She expressed her gratitude to Ms Boateng for giving her the opportunity to have a feel of how Parliament is operated and called on supporters of the various political parties not to consider their political opponents as enemies because she realized that Members of Parliament (MPs) were friends rather than enemies. “What I have seen in Parliament surprises me since the relationship among the various parties is cordial and are always seen eating and chatting together after they have finished performing the day’s parliamentary duties,” she noted.

On why she chose a female to be her driver, Madam Boateng said since the Beijing Declaration of affirmative action, women had been employing a number of tactics to practicalise women and gender issues. She explained that in terms of job opportunities, women were less privileged to secure jobs, saying that it was, therefore, an opportunity to reduce unemployment among women in the country. Madam Boateng noted that women were very careful in every field of endeavour they found themselves in, adding that, that explained why women were not normally involved in accidents.

“My gesture is also a ways of saying thank you to women in New Juaben South Constituency, who overwhelmingly endorsed my candidature in addition to encouraging women to strive to achieve higher laurels in all fields of endeavour, “ she said.

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