He said market infrastructure which would provide an important outlet for farm produce to improve the incomes of peasant farmers, could also shelter majority of women engaged in commercial activities ranging from cross-border to petty trading in daily or periodic markets, but are compelled to ply their businesses along the pavements of major roads and highways, which posed danger to their health and safety.

In a speech read for him at a two-day capacity building seminar held in Sunyani in the Brong-Ahafo Region, Alhaji Dauda affirmed women’s involvement in the fee- fixing resolution processes which was paramount in identifying issues relating to market infrastructure and non-tax revenues to overcome their challenges.

The seminar was the second in the series organized by the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry for market queens and executive members of traders associations to build their capacities in financial literacy and the use of technological tools to enhance their operations. The first was held in Kumasi in September, 2016.

“Empowering market women for economic prosperity” was the theme and it aimed at identifying issues and challenges facing market women to create a platform for periodic engagement between them and local government as a sustained means of addressing issues.

It was necessitated by findings of a recent research conducted in some markets in the country which said 91 per cent of market women had never participated in any form of training while 99 per cent had also not received any form of direct economic empowerment initiatives from either government or civil society organizations.

The research, commissioned by the Ghana government in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), was conducted in the Agbogbloshie and the Salaga markets in the Greater Accra Region and the Techiman market in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection observed that the challenges confronting market women had put them below the poverty line and stressed that women required bold and sustainable action to advance their opportunities for empowerment to start and manage viable businesses.

She advised them to acquire educational and business development skills to enable them to participate in decision-making fora and processes to minimize their levels of poverty to improve the lives of their families.

Nana Lithur said the Affirmative Action Bill approved by Cabinet was to promote women’s active participation in public life by providing more equitable system of representation in electoral and governance structures of the country.

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