Madam Freda Prempeh, Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, has called for the creation of a conducive atmosphere that would enable women to participate in decision-making at all levels.
Creating an enabling environment for gender equality and the empowerment of women requires a comprehensive multi-sector approach with emphasis on education, employment, economic empowerment, health as well as increased participation and representation in decision making at all levels, she said.
In a speech read on her behalf, Madam Prempeh said some of the challenges women aspirants encounter include the patriarchal nature of elections, lack of education, resources and cultural hindrances, which has created timidity, low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
She made the call on Friday at the maiden International Women’s Leadership Summit organised by the Expat Professional and Business Women’s Network International (EPBWN) under the theme: “Empowered women-empowered communities”.
She said though some women are competent, they do not get the support of their spouses or families adding that there is the need for a change in this regard.
Women, Madam Prempeh said, should not be left out in the decision-making process that bothered on their lives and the Ministry has undertaken a lot of activities to that effect since 2017 to revise and pass a law to promote affirmative action and also to address cultural, social and economic imbalances.
She said Government has also launched the “He-for-she campaign”, to get two million male ambassadors to pledge their commitment towards gender equality and women empowerment.
Though women’s empowerment would not happen overnight, it requires persistence, commitment and change in the way women think in order to realise the desired effect, she said.
Madam Prempeh said there should also be a deliberate effort to integrate gender perspectives in all national programmes especially women-focused gender programmes, adding that government is committed to work with the private entities to promote women’s empowerment in leadership positions.
Democracy is about numbers and equity and the participation of women in democracy is basic to governance in democracy, she said.
Globally, the involvement of women in civil liberties, building communities and providing protection at various situations is widely acknowledged, she said.
Thus, the Ministry would draw on their experience, knowledge and creativity of the network to develop innovative gender-balanced strategies that would enhance gender equality and women development across the country.
Madam Prempeh said one of the main problems facing Ghana’s decentralization process is the participation of women in politics and the important roles they play in the socio-economic development process, which has not been adequately recognized.
She said over the years, women, the majority in the society, have played little or no leadership roles in issues pertaining to development and decision-making in developing countries including Ghana.
“This, I believe is due to sentimental attachment to the feminine gender and socio-cultural practices, where women play second sides to men with the men taking decisions for women,” Madam Prempeh said.
She said the Ministry has designed training and advocacy programmes to encourage them to come out to be voted for during the upcoming district and parliamentary elections.
We hope that 50 percent of the 30 percent appointees would be given to women and this would be passed into law, she said.
Madam Prempeh said there is a need for women to have access to information and resources to take proper decisions and acquire the requisite skills and knowledge to aspire for higher roles in society.
“My Ministry is prepared to partner with EPBWN and Empowering Strategies for health and development and other stakeholders working to promote the welfare and interest of women to achieve the gender parity that we are all working towards.”
We would partner you to build the capacity and self-confidence of young females to take-up leadership positions at all levels to serve as role models and agents of change in the communities and nation, Madam Prempeh added.
Princess Nwakego Ibrahim-Pam, President and Founder of EPBWN, said the network is made up of professional business women that promote the enhancement and advancement of women through monitoring, training, networking and job placement.
Madam Mavis Kitcher, President of the Association of Women in Media (ASWIM), advised women not to see themselves as caregivers but strive to contribute to their society.