Scarcity of Virgins Forces Adjustments to Dodowa’s Dipo Rites
Due to the scarcity of virgin girls, the mothers overseeing the Dipo (puberty rites) in Dodowa, located in the Shai Osudoku District of the Greater Accra Region, have been compelled to include non-virgins in the ceremony. The mothers have expressed their difficulty in finding adolescent girls who meet the criteria of virginity, prompting them to adapt the age-old tradition to accommodate non-virgins. However, girls who have undergone abortions, given birth, or experienced pregnancies are still excluded from participating in the rites. The increasing sexual activity among females has left the mothers with no choice but to allow non-virgins to take part. According to an article in the Mirror newspaper, this decision is expected to attract more adolescent girls to the rites, which traditionally marked the transition into womanhood for only virgin girls aged between 10 and 15. Awunye Ashiakie, the leader of the mothers overseeing the rites, has been involved in the Dipo ceremony for 60 years, having started assisting older women when she was 20. Despite preparing over 100 girls for the rites annually, the number remains small compared to the past, as explained by Ashiakie.