President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo – Addo on Tuesday underscored the critical importance of women to development, saying that increasing their participation in decision-making engenders faster socio-economic gains.
He said there must be greater promotion of gender equality to increase women’s participation in the political and socioeconomics of nations.
Thus, world leaders must extend a blanket protection to all women and also ensure that their rights become the bedrock for equality and social justice.
“We do ourselves and future generations a great disservice if we leave women out of the agenda for development,” the President said at the launch of the Gender and Development Initiative for Africa (GADIA) conference in Accra.
GADIA is a flagship programme under the President’s AU Gender and Development Championship initiative, structured around the pillars of developing women’s economic empowerment through the private sector and increasing their political participation.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, earlier in the year, was appointed as the African Union leader for Gender and Development and also as the African Union’s Gender and Development Champion for his work in promoting gender parity and the socio-economic development of women and girls in Africa.
President Akufo-Addo told the conference that as a gender champion, he was obliged to mobilise political support to help transform Africa into an exemplary continent with “sound policies and solid programmes to successfully change the fortunes of women in the society”.
He was emphatic that leadership ought to put the continent ahead in the promotion of gender equality, saying that this must be done by working fully with women leaders to develop solutions to achieving this aim.
The President said studies had shown that investing in women and educating the girl child was the most effective measure any developing nation could influence economic productivity and improve standard of living of its people.
“Thus having African women as leaders in business and politics as is the theme of this event is a must if we are to shed off the evils of poverty, ignorance and disease and put our continent on the path of progress and prosperity.”
The President was of the view that though there has been deliberate polices to bridge the gender inequality gap, there was need to increase women’s participation in decision making processes at all levels.
“A higher number of women in decision making capacities go well for the rapid development of our continent,” he noted, adding that Ghana had made significant progress in bridging that gap through far reaching policies and initiatives.
President Akufo-Addo was not happy that women were under represented in top positions and that more women were not taking advantage of the interventions aimed at bridging gender equality.
“My government believes that the creation of a business friendly and a peoples friendly economy in Africa through private sector empowerment , we should create prosperity and jobs for all Ghanaians and Africans including our women who account for nearly 52 percent of Ghana’s population is our surest bet for success,” emphasised.
President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was the special guest at the conference, commended President Akufo-Addo for his exemplary role in promoting gender equality on the continent.
She was grateful for the support given her as the first woman President of Liberia in reconstructing the economy of that country after years of civil unrest.
“With the support of women and the leaders of Africa we have been able to keep that peace, we have been able to reconstruct, we have been able to regain our credibility and credit worthiness in the international community, we have been able to demonstrate that indeed a woman can lead,” she noted.