Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Woman of the Week - Peggielene Bartels (King Peggy)

I was watching the "Colbert Report" the other day, and the special guest was Peggielene Bartels. She is King of a village in Ghana. KING! I love it! In the interview, Colbert asked her why she wasn't the Queen. Bartels explained that there is also a Queen in the village, but she wanted to be in charge so she wouldn't have to argue with anyone about making changes. She said, "It is better I have the big part." Her Kingdom consists of a village of 7,000 people. She splits her time between Washington D.C. and Ghana. She spends 24 days a year in Ghana. She was born in Ghana, but she is now an American citizen.

In an interview with NPR, she shared what she said to tribal elders to get them to take her seriously: "Treat me like a man, because — I'm a man. I'm a man. Don't look at me as a woman ... If you really understand me as a man, then we can go onward. But if you think I'm a woman, we're not going to work." Hopefully there will come a time when a man doesn't have to treat a woman "like a man" in order to take her seriously.

In the same interview with NPR, Bartels talked about the example she was setting for women in her village: "The women are trying to understand me [and that] as a woman you can do a lot. You don't have to sit down and think that you have to wait for a man to succeed in life. If I am a woman and I am doing this, they can also do it." I think it's fantastic that a woman is King of an African village. It seems that women are making progress all over the world.

If you want to find out more about King Peggy, you can check out her book "King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village."

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