Rebecca Akufo-Addo,
Rebecca Akufo-Addo,

The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has urged all women to help save the environment from filth and avoid using plastics that continued to litter the environment and use reusable shopping bags instead.

She said the use of reusable shopping bags would help to drastically cut down the amount of plastics, which harm the environment.

“As we support each other and make a living for ourselves, let us be mindful of our environment,” she said at an event she hosted in Accra for about 400 women across the country to climax the International Women’s Day.

It was on the theme: “Balance for Better”.

The First Lady used the occasion to recognise and celebrate the contribution of a number of amazing Ghanaian women in the areas of Education, Health, Social Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, Advocacy and Inclusion, Arts and Culture, Innovation and Outstanding Leadership.

Mrs Akufo-Addo said she grew up in an era of plantain leaves, ceramic cups and glass bottles, but in recent times, “I look around my home and realised how much plastics have become part of our lives”.

“But these plastics harm our environment and one of the simplest things we can do as women to support our environment is to use reusable shopping bags.”

While commending women for the various roles they were playing to support society, she also called for the need to build support networks for women, establish mentoring initiatives, enroll high-potential women in leadership development initiatives and align sponsors with them.

She said multiple studies showed that trillions of dollars could be added to global growth by advancing gender equality or balance.

Mrs Akufo-Addo said there was the need to ensure an equal environment for balance for both genders, adding; “You have to put equal weights on both sides of the scale, to achieve balance and equilibrium. You need both legs on the ground to have balance”.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2015 indicates that women continue to make significant strides in political representation and globally, the world is seeing more female heads of state and parliamentarians.

In Africa, the number of parliamentary seats held by women also continues to increase but with the exception of a few countries, most countries in Africa, including Ghana, could do better, Mrs Akufo-Addo said.

She said for education, the world continue to see more women around pursuing higher education, with some of the countries having more women in higher education.

“But business and the economy have been more resistant to change. There are still relatively few women in leadership roles,” she said.

Other researches show a link between financial performance and female leadership at the corporate level and companies with female leadership tend to do better in many respects.

“It is clear that gender balance in business can’t be purely a diversity issue. It’s an economic issue and addressing it can benefit business and economic performance, thereby impacting all stakeholders,” Mrs Akufo-Addo said.

“Companies with female leadership tend to do better in many respects and it is clear that gender balance in business cannot be purely a diversity issue.”

The First Lady said female entrepreneurs must be empowered with training and resources and given social support so they could perform better.

“The women pioneers, shakers and movers in our corporate and business space must share principles and best practices on what works,” she said.

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