When young Constance Ama Emefa Edjeani-Afenu joined the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) in 1978, she was full of ambition. Constance was only 18 years at the time.
She admits the training regime was “crude” but she persevered and in the end prevailed. She recounts being awarded the most resilient officer award in her graduating class.
“The welcome to the Military Academy was crude, but I prevailed having come to the realisation that I had already made a decision to join the service,” she is quoted by the state-owned Daily Graphic as saying.
Almost four decades after entering the army, she has made history. She has risen through the ranks to become the first female Brigadier-General of the Armed Forces.
Her appointment to the post was ratified in March 2017 when the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Major – General Obed Boamah Akwa, conferred the rank on her during a ceremony in Accra.
The CDS whiles congratulating her labeled her exploits as a beacon for females in the GAF. He stressed the hope that her rise will open doors for other women to come through.
After serving in different capacities in her home country, she was served as Ghana’s deputy military advisor to its permanent mission in New York since 2013. With her new position, she returns to take up post at the Ministry of Defence in the capital, Accra.
At a later event to honour her by a group in her native Volta Region located in the country’s east, she encouraged young girls to hold on to their dreams and to aspire to greater heights in their chosen professional fields.
The west African country is one of the continent’s most stable democracies since its return to multi-party democracy in 1992. Brigadier-General Edjeani-Afenu is the first female closest to the topmost position in the army – i.e. Major General.
She joins other top ranking females in the country. Among them, the Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, Secretary to Cabinet and Chief of Staff, positions held by two female first timers – Mrs Karikari and Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah respectively.
A number of ministerial positions (substantive and deputy) are also held by women. Ghana also has a respectable number of women in the legislature. President Akufo-Addo was recently awarded the African Union (A.U.) Gender champion for 2017 – an award he admits could have stemmed from his female appointments so far.