Ghana on Friday joined the international community to mark the Pan African Women’s Day, which recognises the foremothers for their fight towards the Liberation of the African Continent.
It is on the theme: “Unity in Diversity – Fight against Racism and COVID 19 towards Women Empowerment”.
Ms Cynthia Mamle Morrision, the Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, in a message to mark the Day in Accra, acknowledged that Ghana had made many strides in women empowerment and gender equality.
She expressed concern that the effects of COVID-19 had disproportionately affected women and girls and put Ghana at a risk of eroding gains already made.
She said a large number of women worked in the informal sectors; hospitality, service and retail industries, which had been the hardest hit by the restrictions due to COVID-19, leading to loss of income and its adverse effects on the wellbeing of families.
Ms Morrision said the care giving role played by women in the society also meant that during the partial lockdown they were saddled with more unpaid care work.
“This together with the gender digital divide make working from home challenging for women in the formal sector. The closure of schools also has a differential impact on women who take up additional care work of home-schooling the children,” she said.
The Gender Minister said persons who had recovered from COVID-19 may be stigmatised, however, a lot of sensitisation was on-going to disabuse the minds of the public against it.
“As we celebrate Pan African Women’s Day I wish to join calls for all African Union Member States to unite, support each other and share experiences on best practices in dealing with the pandemic,” she said.
“We are promoting equal care giving responsibilities of all parents, as well as flexible working arrangements. The economic stimulus packages being provided by government are gender sensitive.”
The Government, through the Ministry of Gender, continued to ensure timely cash transfers to various poor and vulnerable people under its Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme, she said.
Ms Morrision said a Social Protection Single Window Citizens Service was operational, adding; “Under this initiative, a single window call centre (Help Line of Hope) has been created to receive complaints through a toll-free number 0800 800 800/ 0800 900 900 and SMS on a short code 8020, for referral and resolution of complaints.”
She called on all women on the Continent to unite and galvanise resources to advocate for gender equality and women empowerment as a means of achieving equitable and sustainable development.
“Women should be seen as supporting one another and mentoring the young ones for continuity of the gender agenda. No more must women lead in the stigmatisation, discrimination, maltreatment, trafficking and marginalisation of fellow women and girls. United we stand, divided we fall,” she said.
July 31 was dedicated for commemorating the Day after the Pan African Women Organisation (PAWO) Congress in Dakar in 1974 to recognise women’s efforts in the struggle for the emancipation and liberation of Africa from colonial rule. 2020 marks the 58th Anniversary of PAWO.
It was founded in 1962 in Tanzania, a year before the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, now the African Union (AU), where the women decided to unite to know each other better, share experiences and combine efforts for their own emancipation and that of the of Continent.