A panel of leading diplomats and experts on gender advocacy, have lauded Ghana for ensuring gender parity in governance.
They made the observations during a panel discussion organized by the Institute of International Affairs, Ghana (GhIIA.org) to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day and mark the eight years of female leadership at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
The Diplomats lauded the eight years of continuity of female leadership and described the achievements as a critical milestone in the nation’s quest for gender equality.
The panelists, hailed the record of women’s leadership in Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as an evidence of an upward trend of sensitivity to gender balance in Ghana’s public administration and governance.
This was in a statement from the Institute and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
The event themed, “Celebrating Women in Leadership – 8 years of Female leadership at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration” was a virtual event with over 200 participants.
It aimed, to among other things, celebrate the achievements of Ghanaian women in the fields of diplomacy and international Relations ; provide a role modelling platform for women seeking paths for growth in Ghana and Africa’s International Relations ecosystem; and raise awareness for women empowerment in Ghana and Africa.
“Ghana is making gradual progress in efforts at gender empowerment, gender equality and gender equity, and it is beautiful to see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, becoming a torchbearer in that journey”, the panel chorused”, it said.
They acknowledged that Ghana still had more grounds to make in the quest for gender empowerment, but stressed the need to celebrate recent successes.
“We’re not quite there yet at the promise land of gender equality in public administration. We cannot rest on our oars. But the emerging progress should be celebrated to give more inspiration and impetus to the agenda of gender empowerment”, they reiterated.
Contributing to the discussions, Dr Afua Boatemaa Yakohene, a Research Fellow, applauded the continuity of women leadership at the Ministry of Foreign affairs and expressed the hope that, such a feat would be replicated across other key ministries.
“The time has come for women to take their rightful place in the public administration of Ghana, and the achievements of women in this ministry is a glowing tribute to what women can contribute”, she observed.
Sharing some insights from a research paper from the ghiia.org, Mr Cherk Klutse, Head of Programmes and Outreach at the GhIIA, said there was the need to maintain advocacy for gender parity, as key institutions like ECOWAS, were yet to have female leadership.
He further noted that, of the 64 countries with actual missions in the country, only 10.9 per cent had female apex leadership, which created the need for an increased advocacy both at national and international levels, especially in the context of new paradigms and approaches to global affairs for the participation and role of women in foreign affairs and international security.
The panel included Dr Afua Boatemaa Yakohene, a Research Fellow and focus person for training at the Legon Centre of International Affairs and Diplomacy, University of Ghana; Nii Ayikoi Otoo, former High Commissioner of Ghana to Canada, and Ambassador William Azumah Awinador-Kanyirige, a retired career diplomat.
Others included, Mr Cherk Klutse, Head of Programmes and Outreach at the GhIIA and Ms Christabel Dadzie, founder and chair of Ahaspora Young Professionals.
The diplomats, Nii Ayikoi Otoo and William Azumah Awinador-Kanyirige, reflected on their experiences working under Madam Botchway and Madam Hannah Tetteh respectively, as they extoled the high standards of women leadership.
Such strong track records of female leadership, they observed, was an incontestable proof, that women were definitely key to the talent pool of the global affairs practitioners and could do the job of female leadership at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana.