The Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia, has stated that heads of public and private institutions must develop a code of ethics that protect women from being preyed upon by sexual predators in their organisations.
Mrs Bawumia, who observed that sexual harassment was affecting women empowerment in Ghana, called for disciplinary measures in institutions that would stop sexual harassment.
“I know what young women go through, especially when they are desperate for jobs.
There are young women who would have to go through that every day because their bosses insist they have to sleep with them before they give them jobs,” she said.
Speaking over the weekend in Accra at a career forum organised by Professionals for Change, a group within the New Patriotic Party, Mrs Bawumia urged heads of institutions to “go the extra step to make the workplace safe for our girls”.
Held on the theme: “Empowering Women for Future leadership”, the event brought together female students from tertiary institutions across the country.
“The message I’m putting out is that sexual harassment is an unspoken issue within institutions in Ghana. Every woman may know somebody or may have experienced sexual harassment at one point in her life.
Unfortunately, at the very top, the decision makers are predominantly men,” Mrs Bawumia stressed.
She stated that the decision to hire or promote women must be based on merit, adding that a woman who was qualified should be given the opportunity and that she did not have to give sexual favours to a man.
Investment in women
Mrs Bawumia indicated that investing in young women leadership would not only change the trajectory of their future but also that of communities and the country.
“It is important to note that women cannot exercise greater leadership or even develop leadership competencies without being empowered,” she said.
She advised the students to pursue personal development, which she said was crucial for empowering women for leadership roles.
“Personal development is a process that helps you become a better version of yourself,” she stressed, and called on them to build their human capital to facilitate their employability.
Mrs Bawumia further urged them to take active interest in the political space, as it offered them the opportunity to add to the voices of women to shape policy and also the future of the country.
The Chief Executive of MASLOC, Mr Stephen Amoah, in a remark, indicated that the fund was opened to empowering female-student entrepreneurs with good business plans.
“Once you convince us that your venture is profitable and sustainable, we will do whatever is possible to support you,” he said.
Other speakers at the event included the CEO of the Food and Drugs Authority, Ms Ama Frimpomaa and Mr Prince Ofosu Sefah, Deputy Director-General of the National Communications Authority.