Under-representation of women in leadership affront to rights — ActionAid

Women representation in leadership, particularly in the political space, in Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions is woefully inadequate. 

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For instance, out of the 29 Members of Parliament (MPs) from the regions, only two, representing 6.9 per cent, are women. Worse still, only one out of 29 appointed chief executives of municipal and district assemblies in the three regions is a woman, while one of the three appointed regional ministers is female.

In all, there are only four women currently occupying political leadership positions out of the 61 positions in the regions. They are the MP for the Tano North, Freda Prempeh; MP for the Techiman North, Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare; Bono Regional Minister, Justina Owusu-Banahene, and Tain District Chief Executive (DCE), Dr Lucy Acheampong.

The low participation of females in the three regions has come as a worrying phenomenon, with some figures calling for institutionalisation of measures to reverse the trend.

Change

In line with that, ActionAid Ghana has organised a two-day training workshop on leadership skills and assertiveness for 42 girls in eight selected senior high schools (SHSs) in Bono and Ahafo regions.

The objective for the training is to prepare and whip up their interest in assuming leadership positions in private and public spheres for holistic development.

The training is expected to expose them to ideas that would challenge them to work harder to reach their highest potential.

Topics to be treated are Leadership skills; Career development; Assertiveness and management of peer pressure; Violence against girls; self-esteem; confidence building; Adolescent reproductive health, among others.

The beneficiary schools are Sunyani and Odumaseman SHSs in the Bono Region and Ola Girls, Serwan Kesse, Samuel Oto Presbyterian, Acherensua, Mim and Sankore SHSs in the Ahafo regions.

Affront

At the opening ceremony of the maiden leadership training in Sunyani last Tuesday, the Regional Programme Manager of ActionAid Ghana, Kwame Afram Denkyira, said the low representation of women in leadership, especially the political space, was an affront to the rights of women.

He said the only four women representation in three key political positions such as MP, MDCE and regional ministerial slots were below expectation. Mr Denkyira said ActionAid rolled out the initiative to promote girls child education and the political rights of women and girls in the regions.

He called for equal sharing of responsibilities between males and females at home to enable girls to be in school and enhance women's participation in governance and decision-making processes.

Mr Denkyira encouraged school authorities to create enabling and conducive opportunities for girls to assume School Prefect positions and not only prefect for girls. He urged females to see themselves as equal partners to their male counterparts and make themselves available for any leadership position.

Nurturing

Mr Denkyira said ActionAid was using a human rights-based approach to develop and invest in nurturing leadership qualities in girls. He said the training was part of ActionAid’s target to achieve social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication by working with the people living in poverty and deprived communities.

Mr Denkyira said progress had been made towards achieving gender equality in education across the globe.

Stereotypes

The Ahafo Regional Girls’ Education Officer, Scholastica Ama Dakurah, said education was a crucial tool to break barriers such as stereotypes and inspired girls to realise their potential.

She said as an individual, they possessed boundless potential and a unique voice that deserved to be heard. Mrs Dakurah reaffirmed the GES’s commitment to empower girls to reach their aspirations.

She said the training would equip them with tools, skills, and knowledge needed to navigate challenges and seize opportunities.

Writer's email: [email protected]

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