Air Vice Marshal Mike Appiah-Agyekum, Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of Administration, Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), says the Forces has made significant improvement on opportunities available to women in the service.
He said the Forces had 18 per cent of female strength, stating that Ghana made the highest deployment of female personnel averaging 15 per cent for contingents and 27-30 per cent for military observers and staff officers.
“We remain the first Military in the world to have subjected ourselves to the Elsie Initiative through Measuring Opportunities for Women in Peace Operations assessment,” he said.
Air Vice Marshal Appiah-Agyekum said this on Tuesday at the three-day opening training workshop for Gender Advisors on the theme: ” Guaranteeing Equal Opportunities in the Ghana Armed Forces.”
The workshop aims to provide a platform for gender advisors to share ideas on gender issues to deepen their understanding of their roles.
Government in 1995, endorsed the Beijing Platform for Action which required member countries to take steps to ensure that gender perspectives were integrated into all institutions.
He said the United Security Council Resolution 1335 urged all to ensure women’s participation in decision making, peacekeeping and peace building.
Air Vice Marshal Appiah-Agyekum stated that gender matters emphasised non-discrimination against any sex, a fair call which the Military High Command believed in.
“Discussions on gender issues always seem to be female-biased because we are operating in a male-dominated environment coupled with our socio-cultural background,” he said.
He said female personnel should be made to work like their male counterparts without any undue advantages, stressing that any acts of discrimination must be positive one and deliberately targeted at achieving equity.
Dr Fiifi Edu-Afful, Research Fellow, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, said gender roles were socially constructed responsibilities and expectations of acceptable learned behaviour in a given community, which determined tasks which were perceived as masculine or feminine.
He said socio-cultural set up of the society had fuelled the issues of gender-based biases, and called for the consideration of issues of inequalities in the legal framework and gender based violence such as sexual harassment, emotional and verbal abuse of personnel in the service.