Veep joins celebration of International Women’s Day
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, on Wednesday joined women at Ayawaso Central, a suburb of Accra, to mark this year’s International Women’s Day.
Marked annually on March 8, the event was on the theme: ‘Digit All: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.’
Delivering his address, the Vice- President called on Ghanaian women to develop interest in leadership positions and help propel the development of the country.
Dr Bawumia said the previous wrong perception that women could not perform efficiently like men had been erased by the hardworking efforts of Ghanaian women in leadership roles.
He reiterated the need for women to be health conscious and take health screening seriously in dealing with diseases like breast and cervical cancer.
“Breast and cervical cancer is the number one disease that killed women worldwide. There was a need for breast and cervical cancer awareness to be created across the country.
“This is the reason why I am here at Ayawaso Central to support and help our women to increase awareness about breast and cervical cancer,” Dr Bawumia said.
The President and Founder of Breast Care International, Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai, urged women to take advantage of free health screening opportunities for early detection of diseases, to undergo necessary treatment.
She urged women to take advantage of the world’s digital trends to pair with men in a digitised working environment.
“Women can work from home and take care of children when they are digital literate so women are encouraged to use their phones for more profitable ventures,” she added.
Relatedly, the Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Francisca Oteng-Mensah, has urged Ghanaians to be fully involved in protecting women and girls in digital spaces to deter cyber bullies and encourage more women in Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
This would ensure that women and girls were free from online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence by creating a safe space for women in the digital and technological fields.
She made the call at the launch of the annual celebration of the International Women’s Day in Accra yesterday.
She underscored the need to invest in digital development in Ghana and reinforce the cyber laws of the country to protect women and girls as they were often the victims of cyberbullying.
“There is the need to design and implement policies to act on the critical factors that undermine digital development, including mainstreaming gender in achieving universal access to digital services and advancing women’s participation and leadership in public and private spaces where decisions are made in digital matters,” the deputy minister explained.
On the Ministry’s efforts to promote gender equality and address issues affecting women, she revealed that the MoGCSP had taken steps to review and update the National Gender Policy to create equal opportunities for all.
Mrs Oteng-Mensah said all hands were needed on deck to fight the gender bias.
She explained that factors including socio-cultural issues inhibited the participation of girls and women in society.
She said it was for that reason the government was establishing national frameworks that removed such barriers and ensured that stakeholders allowed the participation of all.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country representative, Dr Wilfred Ochan expressed worry over the underrepresentation of women in the field of STEM saying that “most technological inventions do not incorporate the views and perspectives of women and girls in their design and creation leading women and girls to find the use of some of these devices unfriendly.”
The launch was preceded by a health walk through some principal streets of Accra where participants bore placards such as “equal opportunities for women: a better Ghana for all; women’s education is Ghana’s development; women are change-makers and embracing equity is the right thing to do.”
In a similar message, the Chief Director of the Ministry of the Interior, Mrs Adelaide Annor-Kumi also urged all and sundry to recognise the inclusion of women in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) fields.
Speaking in Accra on Wednesday when the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) marked the International Women’s Day (IWD), Mrs Annor-Kumi emphasised that ICT had come to stay as it was the pivot around which development revolved, adding that ICT had made work easier and urged all stakeholders to initiate programmes and policies that allowed women to partake in such fields.
Mr Kwame Asuah Takyi, Comptroller-General, GIS in a speech read on his behalf stressed the need to do all that was possible to bring women to the technological front.
He said that was because men dominated when it came to technology and that narrative had to change as a matter of urgency.
“Gender is a vital element in development. As such, to make the most of the digital revolution, it is important that both men and women are brought on board,” he added.
The Head of Region, West Africa, International Centre from Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Majisola Sodeinde, commended the GIS for helping to advance technology and innovation to make gender equality a reality within the service.
She said the theme was very timely and significant “as we provide support to GIS to enhance its institutional and operational capacity in cyber security and information exchange systems.”
Ms Sodeinde said involving female officers in ICT fields could help achieve a higher rate of productivity and innovation to lessen professional shortage, adding, “We look forward to seeing more female officers shattering the glass ceiling and attaining higher laurels in ICT.”
Also, the Executive Director of Ghana Climate Innovation Center, Mrs Ruka Sanusi, in another event, further called for a level playing ground for women in the tech space, as the ratio of men to women in the industry remain unsatisfactory.
According to her, a woman holds just 20 per cent of tech jobs and only 15 per cent of software developers are women, globally.
Moreover, the percentage of women in tech literature positions was even lower at just 11 per cent.
She expressed concern about the domination of men in the digital space saying “all the technology driven innovation and products which were in use were developed by men.”
Vice President Bawumia (middle) with participants in the International Women’s Day celebration
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR, JESSEL LARTEY THERSON-COFIE, CECILIA LAGBA, YUNUSAH ESSANDOH & SONNY SEYRAM QUARTEY