For all the obvious and predictable talk about gender inequality — have you heard how they treat women in the developing world? — to me, today’s NPR story about Peggielene Bartels, the Ghanaian-American woman anointed king of her home village (first reported in the Washington Post Magazine’s “All the King’s Men” ), is really about indigenous religious practices trumping indigenous gender bias.
Although gender bias in Otuam — the Ghanaian village where “King Peggy” was born and now rules for most of the year from her condo in Silver Spring, Maryland — presumably does run deep, so too does a belief that the spirits of the ancestors must be consulted on a range of big decisions, including whom to promote to the chieftaincy. Turns out these forebears are a pretty progressive bunch! To learn more, listen to the NPR story.