Hajia Alima Sagito-Saeed, Executive Director of Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency (SWIDA-GH), a women advocacy group, says empowering women economically is critical to helping them realise equal rights, curb issues of gender inequality and gender-based violence in society.
She said it was vital for policymakers and development planners to build their capacities and equip them with skills needed to improve on their income status and livelihoods.
She was speaking at an event dubbed: “Savannah Regional Women’s Forum”, which was organised by the Network for Women Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT-Ghana), with funding support from the African Women Development Fund (AWDF).
The forum, held in Damongo, was to introduce activities of the NETRIGHT-Ghana to participants, and also provide a platform for women leaders to share problems faced by women and girls in the region, and discuss strategies to help solve them.
It brought together 60 participants including; Queen mothers, women in local governance, women leaders of social and religious groups and Village Savings and Loans Associations among other women’s groups.
Participants highlighted teenage pregnancy, widowhood rites, gender-based violence, accusation, and lynching of old women as witches, low participation of women in decision-making, and lack of financial independence as some of the issues that affected women in the region.
Hajia Sagito-Saeed said, “when women are financially impoverished, they become more vulnerable and find it difficult to access their rights as compared to those who are financially independent in their communities”.
She, therefore, appealed to authorities to economically empower all women to help reduce poverty and improve on their economic lives in their communities.
The SWIDA-GH Executive Director encouraged women to take advantage of available opportunities in their communities to help build their confidence to participate in social, economic, cultural and political decision-making.
Mr Saeed Muhazu Jibreel, the West Gonja Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), advised women to rise above their current positions and marshal all competencies and confidence to take up decision-making positions in their communities.
Some of the participants called on stakeholders to deepen education on the importance of child protection and the need to sensitize and help women attain economic independence towards promoting women’s rights in society.