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Break biases in workplaces: Panellists appeal to corporate institutions

BY: Pacome Emmanuel Damalie
Panellists and members of the Kwahu Professionals Network and some senior high school girls at the mentorship programme
Panellists and members of the Kwahu Professionals Network and some senior high school girls at the mentorship programme

Panellists at a mentorship programme for girls have appealed to authorities and corporate organisations to continue with the fight to break biases against women in the workplaces.

At a maiden Kwahu Professional Network (KPN), the panellists said though many strides had been made over the years been made by women groups, there was still more room for improvement to bring women on the same table with men.

They added that discrimination against women at workplaces continued to persist, especially at the management level, and must be deliberately looked at to help bring women to the table of men provided they are qualified.

The programme was organised at the Kwahu-Nkwatia Senior High School to commemorate International Women's Day on the theme

"Breaking the bias today, for a sustainable tomorrow". In attendance were over 800 senior high school girls from seven schools on the Kwahu Ridge.

A Lecturer at the Pharmacology Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Dr Mrs Cynthia Amaning Danquah, said it was proper to call out bias or discrimination when it happened.

She indicated that men must accommodate the ideas of women in boardrooms and not isolate the ideas of women and later present them as theirs.

“It is important we call out bias or discrimination when we see it, but it is also important that we hold programmes like these to encourage and empower our young girls to know that they need to work hard to bring themselves to the table and it shouldn't be that they were put there just because they are women. It should be by merit and they must work hard to get there,” she said.

She explained that occupation policies that discriminated against pregnant women and married women must be looked at and eliminated.

"Sometimes as a woman, you are qualified; you have all it takes but at the final decision you will hear things like ‘she is a woman’; ‘she may not be able to do it so let it go to the man.’ I know that in the banking sector, sometimes women are bonded not to get pregnant within the first five years of their career. Why should it be so because you're a woman? Sometimes women don't get a job because they go with the notion that she just got married; the next thing is that she will ask for maternity leave so let us not give her the job. Also in the boardroom and others, even though the women have good ideas, the men will listen and still pretend as if it is not the best idea and then they will later take these ideas and present it as theirs. So there are still some biases that we need to break," she explained.

Improvement

For her part, Lilian Antwiwaa Asante, a legal practitioner and human resource and labour expert, indicated that there was still more room for improvement to grant nursing mothers flexibilities in their work as well as a review of the maternity leave granted mothers.

"Maternity leave should be looked at. Officially, it is three months for mothers but various organisations should look at it and design appropriate measures to grant the mothers flexibilities and preferential treatment to help them do their work conductively. Every institution should put in place measures to help support women," he said.

She encouraged young women across the country to remain focused and determined to bring their seats at the table of men to be counted.

Mentorship

The Vice President of the Kwahu Professionals Network, Ms Hestalyna Ottu Sarfo, said the KPN Inspires programme for the girls in senior high schools on the Kwahu Ridge was held to motivate them and present to them some members of the network as mentors they should look up to.