Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur, Wife of the former Vice President, has stated that there must be concerted efforts to do away with some traditions that infringe on the rights of women, especially during bereavement.
She said traditional rites where women were restricted in so many ways during the death of their husbands aggravated the pain of losing a dear one and also infringed on their rights.
Mrs Amissah-Arthur was delivering a lecture on the theme: “Journeying with Grieving People – A Reflection on Traditional Beliefs and Practices,” in Koforidua.
It formed part of a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) programme to cater for the vulnerable, organised by Mathew 25 House, an HIV and AIDS care centre.
She mentioned that ways of dressing, time of eating and bathing, restrictions on speaking among other rites “originally had good intensions and meant good, but in today’s world such practices have long outlived their usefulness and must be stopped.”
Mrs Amissah-Arthur, who has written a book, titled: “Strength in the Storm,” said she had researched into the traditional rites during bereavement and had come to the conclusion it had outlived its usefulness and that “in many instances men were let off the hook”.
She cited the perception of wearing black clothes during the loss of a loved one to signify mourning saying it was a wrong perception because mourning a loved one was a personal affair and people must be allowed to grieve their own way.
Mrs Amissah-Arthur indicated that women continued to suffer dehumanising treatment during the death of their husbands under the guise of tradition and charged the church to lead the crusade of changing some of those traditions to help create a conducive environment for women, especially in times of bereavement.
She charged women to be advocates of the change as it was their fellow women who subjected them to the dehumanising treatment during the loss of their husbands.
Most Reverend Joseph Afrifah-Agyekum, the Bishop of Koforidua Catholic Diocese, commended Mrs Amissah-Arthur for sharing her experience of loss through advocacy to change some of the archaic traditional rites for the benefit of women and society.
Monsignor Alex Bobby Benson, the Director of Matthew 25 House, said there was the need to change some of those practices and urged the congregation to spread the message.