A debate has been held for two Senior High Schools in the Northern Region as part of activities to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD).
The motion for the debate was: “Ghana has done more to ensure equity in access to Information Technology (IT) and educational skills”.
It was held in Tamale, and the participating schools were Business SHS, and Kalpohin SHS.
It was organised by the Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency-Ghana (SWIDA-GH), an NGO, in partnership with Plan International Ghana, World Food Programme, African Women Development Fund, Global Fund for Women, and the Department of Gender.
Debaters from the Kalpohin SHS, who spoke for the motion, argued that Ghana’s stakeholders, through policies and programmes, had invested in efforts at making IT accessible and equitable adding statistics indicated that women’s participation in IT had improved as a result of empowerment projects.
Business SHS, on the other hand rebutted their opponents’ arguments saying lack of computers in many schools across the country showed there were gaps in efforts at making access to IT equitable.
They argued that the few women, who were technologically skilled, could not access jobs in the field as such jobs were tagged a man’s job.
Debaters from Kalpohin SHS were adjudged winners.
The IWD is marked on March 08, every year to amongst others recognise the socio-economic successes of women as well as highlight their challenges towards actions against gender inequality.
This year’s commemoration was on the theme: “DigitAll: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”.
Hajia Alimah Sagito-Saeed, Executive Director of SWIDA-GH, speaking at the event, said it provided participants with information on some of government’s structures and facilities they could access.
She said despite the volume of technology related ventures, few women were engaged in the field compared to men.
She called on government to make internet accessible, improve on inclusiveness and implement policies to close gender gaps in all sectors.
Mr Prosper Amuquandoh, President of the World Energy Council’s Future Energy, speaking as the special guest of honour at the event, said there was no change in the motivation for the themes of IWD celebration over the years, which was a call to dismantle mental barriers against women inclusiveness.
He said positive attitude and mindset would increase women’s access to technology adding that no course or job was designated to only men.
He encouraged young ladies to take up courses in Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) urging women in the informal sector to undergo literacy training on use of technology.
Dr Hanifa Mumuni Napari, Lecturer at the Tamale Technical University said the full potentials of STEM could not be explored without technological tools hence need to make them accessible to young girls.
She urged parents to introduce girls to IT programmes at tender ages, and urged the public to mobilise support for women entrepreneurs.
Madam Gyamila Abdul Wahabi, Head of Ghana Sub Office, World Food Programme, said IWD 2023 was a call for everyone to reflect on and invest in technology and innovation that increased women’s interest to participate in the digital world.
She stated that digital literacy among women improved economic empowerment saying advancement in digital technology offered immense opportunities to address challenges.
Meanwhile, the third edition of SWIDA-GH’s Female Leadership Mentorship Academy project has been launched as part of the commemoration of the IWD with the aim to mentor young girls to be assertive.