Chief expresses joy over gradual fading of menstrual taboos

Nana Ogyedom Ama Tsetsewa, the Tema Fantefohen, has expressed joy over the gradual fading of taboos and myths surrounding menstruation in Ghanaian traditions.

Nana Tsetsewa, who is also the Osumpahen of the Gomoa Assin Traditional Council, said in the past, people perceived women in their menses as unclean and prevented them from partaking in social activities such as cooking, going to work, entering a shrine, palace, or church, fetching water at the stream.

This, she said relegated them to reside behind the main house until the menstruation was over.

She said the reason menstruating women were prevented from attending public events was to prevent ridicule and embarrassment if they soiled themselves; they were prohibited from cooking and going to the stream as a preventive measure against contaminating the food and stream, respectively, with the menstrual blood.

She said this during the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day at the Chemu Senior High School, where the T
ema Metro Education Directorate sensitised over 1000 students and pupils in the Metropolis on menstruation.

Nana Tsetsewa added that women were fined for failing to adhere to the traditional rules, indicating that such acts hindered the development of women in the country.

She said the situation contributed to the polygamous marriages in those days with the aim that when one woman was menstruating, the other would cook and do other chores in the house, saying that when the two women were menstruating, the man would have to get another woman, either a relative or friend, to cook for him.

She said that because the forefathers did not explain the reasons behind their activities, it made it seem like a myth.

The chief commended the Tema Metro Education Directorate and other stakeholders for continuously educating the youth on menstrual hygiene, stating that ‘there’s no myth about it; it’s part of education, but as our traditions go, they don’t explain things, so some of them look like they are myths.’

The Os
umpahen added that the persistent norms, stigma, misconceptions, and taboos around menstruation led to the exclusion of women in the past and urged institutions helping to raise consciousness to intensify their campaign on the issue.

Source: Ghana News Agency