Gender equality and equity have a great impact on Ghana’s Political and Economic transformation, peace and security, Dr. K. Y. Amoako, Founder and President of the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) says..
He said the ‘Ghana Compact’ project initiated by ACET with support from policy institutes to set a vision for the nation, outline collectively agreed solutions for the country’s biggest challenges, and identify targets for tracking progress towards the agreed vision, would not be fruitful without the equal representation of women at important and high level decision making sessions.
He made the submission at a technical consultation meeting organised by ACET with support from NETRIGHT Ghana to solicit ideas through the COMPACT process to stimulate a change in national decision making processes and propel national growth.
Dr Amoako said it was unfortunate that the majority of those in extreme poverty in Africa were women.
“Meanwhile, a research in Kenya proved that women in agriculture when given one per cent more resources enhance productivity by 25 per cent,” he said.
He noted that there was, therefore, a moral imperative to take women out of poverty, saying when women were given equal and better education, the economy would become more productive.
A thorough assessment of Africa in Gender equality, Dr Amoako said showed that Ghana lagged behind in the area women in leadership positions and making gender sensitive budgets to improve the state of the marginalised in societies.
He expressed optimism that political actors considered issues about gender equality and call to pass the Affirmative Action Bill in their manifestos as the nation headed towards another election year.
Professor Akosua Darkwah, Convener, NETRIGHT Steering Committee, asked women to endeavour to be present at important decision making tables and ensure that their voices were heard.
“What we want is not to go and stand on international platforms and say we have passed this Bill or have that Act, what we need is translating that into reality for change on the ground for our women.
“In Ghana if you want to die quickly, try giving birth. I almost had a personal experience of maternal mortality. That is why after delivery, one tells you, wo tiri nkwa (you are lucky to survive labour,” she said.
Prof. Darkwah bemoaned the practice in schools where the School’s Prefect position was usually reserved for males and the Girls’ Prefect position for females.
“That means the male is capable of managing the entire gender affairs while the female is fit to worry about girls’ issues only,” she added.
“To say women are always supposed to be the permanent secretary at all meetings and the man is to be the Chairperson and that it is always the woman who is to give the vote of thanks is another problem,” she said.
Dr Otiko Afisah Djaba, the Executive Director, Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation, called on all women to revolutionise gender inequality and allay their fears to have a positive change.
“A call to action is to be very educated and understand your rights. For as long as women are not taking their right positions beside men, Ghana will remain where it is,” she added.
Dr Djaba, also a former Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, condemned the lack of political will to fight gender inequality and pass the Affirmative Action Bill and called on all women to be bold and defend what was rightfully theirs.
Dr Rose Mensah-Kustin, Director of Abantu for Africa, entreated men to support women with care giving functions at home as well as house-hold chores especially at the time that they were also burdened with other duties out of home.
Mrs Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, a Gender and Disability Advocate, said evidence showed that out of every five women, one had a disability, and they were rarely given seats at decision making tables.
Not only are women with disability side-lined at homes and in institutions, but also lack access to training, capital, and space to operate, she said.
“We need to be at the human right arena. If women with disability are left out, they are drawn 25 per cent backwards but when added, they contribute 20 per cent towards growth,” she said.