Madam Mathilda Banfro, the Greater Accra Regional Director, Department of Gender has stressed the need to take the development of women and the girl child seriously as it leads to the attainment of national developmental goals.
Madam Banfro said women played a crucial role in society, therefore, their wellbeing translates automatically to the wellbeing of the nation, hence, the need to guide them to play their role to society.
She made the call at a sensitization workshop to reorient and educate adolescent girls on their Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and to address the high incidence of teenage pregnancy in Ahwiam and empower girls on their sexual rights at Ahwiam, Ningo Prampram District.
Madam Banfro said adolescence was a time to develop knowledge and skills, learn to manage emotions and relationships, and acquire attributes and qualities that would be important for the enjoyment of the adolescent years.
She noted that, “women and girls face structural discrimination due to the patriarchal nature of most societies. Women are among the most marginalized, vulnerable, and hard to reach especially when they live in rural or remote settlements.”
She said a lot of adolescents suffer due to gender-based violence, unplanned pregnancy, its related complications, and other socio-cultural practices like child marriage and FGM.
“Many more suffer chronic ill-health and disability, and many more diseases in adulthood have their roots in adolescence,” she added.
Madam Banfro said adolescence was a turning point for girls and a time of transition when girls begin to question and form their own individual identities and expand their ideas of gender expression, and equipping them with knowledge would help them to make the right choices which would eventually affect the larger society.
In her presentation on SGBV, Madam Juliana Abbeyquaye, the Acting Eastern Regional Director of the Department of Gender said the root cause of gender-based violence was a power imbalance, gender inequalities, and disregard for human rights.
Madam Abbeyquaye said Ghana was a deep gender society where the norms that governed attitude, behaviors, practices, and expectations resulted in gender inequality which did not allow females the opportunity to develop themselves enough to become asserts to the state.
Madam Zubaida Damago, the Development Planning and Gender Desk Officer, Ningo Prampram District Assembly said such engagements with the girls were important because the knowledge they had acquired would not only help them but their communities and the nation as a whole.
Madam Damago said as women, they had a direct bearing on the upbringing of children, and knowledge about adolescence would be of much help in training their children who would end up benefiting society.
She encouraged the girls to value their lives and devote their time to developing themselves so they grew to become responsible citizens.
The Greater Accra Regional Directorate of the Department of Gender in collaboration with the NiPDA is organizing a series of awareness workshops to enlighten adolescents in the district as a means to empower the girls to ensure good life practices to become responsible citizens.
The series of workshops are organized with support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Canadian Government.