First lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo has urged women in the country to take a critical look at the barriers that impede the advancement of women, evaluate the progress that has been made and access what more can be done to achieve gender equality and women empowerment.
Speaking at an event to mark the celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day, Mrs. Akufo-Addo said it was in the interest of the country to ensure that both boys and girls develop to their full potential.
This, according to her will be possible through education.
“I know we have free education up to the Senior High School level, but free education is only meaningful to those who take advantage of it. Unfortunately, girls more than boys are unable to advance beyond SHS as a result of poverty, early marriages, teenage pregnancy, and other socio-cultural factors.
Some of the most developed countries Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Rwanda are countries that have managed to achieve gender parity. This has been possible because of education and ensuring girls, as well as boys, develop to their full potential. It is in Ghana’s interest to ensure both girls and boys develop to their full potential.
We must, therefore, take deliberate steps to do what others have done. We have the policies, we have the laws. We have the knowledge and we have the tools. It is time to act.”
She further called on policymakers to put in place strategies that will ensure the elimination of child marriages and increase retention of girls in school.
“I would not be who I am without education. Neither would I be who I am today, if I had been born in an environment where child marriage is the norm. So I am passionate about this project. Women must be seen. Women must be heard. We should get to that day when equality for women is assumed. To get to that day though, requires deliberate actions and steps. We have done enough talking. It's time to walk the talk.”
This year’s event which was also under the theme “Press for progress” witnessed a panelist’s discussion that focused on “Girls’ education and elimination of early marriages”.
Speaking during the discussion, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba called on traditional leaders to stop acting as judge and jury in child abuse cases.
According to her, it was important for such matters to be handled by the state or the appropriate authorities so justice can be better served.
The five-member panel consisted of Madam Rashidatu Iddrissah a Senior Programme Officer at Camfed Ghana, Nana Abena Gyamfua II - Paramount Queenmother of Assin Atandasu traditional Area, Mr. Nii Ojuolape a representative from the United Nations Population Fund and Mrs. Stephanie Mireku from the Ministry of Education.
The ceremony was graced by the second lady of the republic, Samira Bawumia, chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC) Charlotte Osei, former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, former second lady Hajia Aliu Mahama, and many other dignitaries.
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