We are playing our part to break the bias

BY: Eugenia Adjie-Mensah
Mrs Vera Naana Appiah

The International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8. It is a day that honours the social, political and economic achievements of women all over the world.

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is: “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” and the campaign is represented by ‘#BreakTheBias’ hashtag and calls on people to work towards a world that is equitable, inclusive and free from bias and discrimination so that the playing field is levelled for women and girls to move forward.

In view of this, the Junior Graphic interviewed some women in the teaching field to find out how they are helping to break the biases in their schools in order to prevent girls from being discriminated against.

Mrs Vera Naana Appiah,
Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School,
West Hills, Accra.

To me, education is the key to breaking these biases that we are talking about. When girls are educated, they become empowered and are able to do anything that they set out to do.
This is why it is important to keep them in school since doing that will make them conscious of the choices available to them out there as well as give them the confidence they need to make informed decisions which concern their future.
Most girls go through a lot of emotional stress when they are in school. For instance, I headed a school in Kwashieman and most of the girls were house helps, so you can imagine the kind of supervision they had with regard to their academic work and general upkeep.
As a result, some of the female teachers took it upon themselves to help these girls with their home work after school and also give them extra tuition so that they will also be happy to be in school.
As teachers we have to get closer to these girls to know their problems and give them the necessary help they need to make their lives better.
Parents have to encourage and take keen interest in their girls who are not doing well academically and they will be surprised at the outcome.
Although the focus is on girls, the boys should not be left out because we are talking about equality so they should both move together. Let’s not focus on the girls and leave the boys out or in the near future we will be here again looking for ways to empower boys too.

Mrs Akua Abladey,
English teacher,
Divine Montessori School,
Sunyani, Bono Region.

Most of our girls need only motivation to make them break all the barriers to get ahead in life, so what I do when girls excel in my class is to give them more motivation and encouragement so they can do exceedingly well in the future.

I always push girls to participate in competitions and they do very well too. I am always happy when I see a girl and boy representing a school during debates and quizzes because it is good motivation for the girl.

Some parents give up on their girls who are not doing well academically so when you invite them to meet with teachers to find out possible ways the girls can excel, they don’t come.

Teachers are doing their best for the girls and we want parents to also show interest in their girl-child education so that they will grow and be able to fulfill their potential as well as break all barriers.

Mrs Janet Owusua
Awudome ‘1’ Basic School, Accra.

It is surprising that we still have biases against women and girls in our society and it is saddening to know that we are not giving girls the only thing that will help liberate them-- and that is education.

It is always important to reach out to girls to make them assertive so they can aspire to go higher no matter the obstacles they are bound to face along the way.

What we can do as teachers is to carefully observe our girls since some of them can’t cope with all the emotions they go through both at home and in school.

In my former school, the headmistress bought gari, sugar and groundnuts because she realised that most of the girls preferred selling water on the streets to going to school because they did not have anything to eat when they came to school.

This improved their attendance because they had something to eat when they came to school. During break time, there was a long queue in front of the headmistress’ office.

Sometimes we have to contribute to buy sanitary pads and uniforms for these girls in order to keep them in school.
We all have to come together to help girls and women to break the barriers, biases and stereotypes.