International Women’s Day celebration at KNUST: Stand up to be counted …First Lady admonishes women

The First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has called on women to stand up to be counted.

“It is time for you to negotiate your way to equality and the removal of biases.I have no doubt about your ability and hunger to do so,” she said

Mrs Akufo-Addo(middle), Mrs Samira Bawumia(fourth from right)Akosua Frema Osei-Opare (fourth from left) with participants after the programme in Kumasi

Mrs Akufo-Addo was speaking at this year’s International Women’s Day celebration at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

The day was aimed at reflecting on breaking the biases and inequalities that prevent women from achieving their full potentials.

She observed with concern that though the nation’s constitution guaranteed gender equality, “women still face inequality directly and indirectly through stereotypes and social practices.”

According to the First Lady, though some progress had been made talking about education, gender inequalities still remain with women’s representation in politics still lagging behind.

“Women are still paid less than men for the same work. These and other biases still exist with negative impact on families, communities and our nation,” she pointed out.

She said the movement for gender equality and biases had been a long standing struggle with many sacrificing prominence, time, resources and even limb and life “to get us to where we are today,” yet lot more needed to be done.

Conflict, she said, affected women and children the most and questioned why women were largely absent from the peace table.

Mrs Akufo-Addo mentioned that studies showed 35 per cent greater chance of peace agreement lasting 15 years when women participated and asked, “So if women are integral to peace, why do we largely exclude them from peace negotiations?”

She asked women to imagine the world they wanted to see and create that for themselves and the generation after them.

“Leave your foot prints in the sands of time.When the time comes hand over the baton. Your experiences, defeats, triumphs will inspire another generation.We will get there if only we work together,” she explained.

The Chief of Staff, AkosuaFremaOsei-Opare, on her part, indicated that research had shown women have enormous impact on the well being of families and societies, “but their potential is sometimes not realised because of discriminatory social norms, incentives and legal frameworks.”

Therefore, she called on women to join hands together through a renewed energy to pursue equality.

She urged the younger generation to rise up to take advantage of the favourable education policies of the government to advance themselves to higher level jobs, stressing that the global digitalisation drive being pursued by the government “allows for equal gender representation in terms of access to information and equal participation of women.”

FROM KINGSLEY E.HOPE, KUMASI

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