Nelson Richardson Mandela (seated middle), Executive Director, Renel Ghana Foundation, and the participants
Nelson Richardson Mandela (seated middle), Executive Director, Renel Ghana Foundation, and the participants

Take centre stage in girl child rights - Religious, traditional leaders urged

Panellists at a roundtable on championing girls’ rights have urged religious and traditional leaders to highlight the importance of investing in girls’ rights for societal progress.

They explained that though a lot of gains had been made in the last couple of years through education, the Ghanaian society was still deeply rooted in religious beliefs and cultural practices which run counter to empowering women and girls to achieve their full potential.

They, therefore, noted that given their influence, if religious and traditional leaders threw their weight behind girls, not only would they create more awareness, but they could also do away with those practices that sought to make girls second to boys.

The roundtable, which was held last Tuesday, was organised by Renel Ghana Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation with interest in empowering the youth, particularly women.

The panellists included a Communications Officer at SEND Ghana, Joana Addey; the Accra Youth Vice-President of the Ghana Blind Union (GBU), Sarah Kekeli Akunor; aspiring Assemblymember of the Adjei Kojo Electoral Area, Mahei Barikisu and Fashion Designer and CEO of Lhaw stitched it, Lorenda Quaye.

The discussion was in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl (IDG) which is observed annually on October 11.

This year’s commemoration was on the theme; "Invest in Girls' Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being.”

Supporting each other

The panellists also urged girls to support one another in working towards their dreams and also called on women in higher positions across various fields to assist programmes and initiatives that focus on the development of the girl child.

“If we are being honest, you’ll always find men supporting their fellow men in almost all situations but it’s not the same with women.

We need to change this narrative that women don’t support one another,” they said.

They also said the time had come for men to be included in the conversation so that they could appreciate women and girls better. 

Self believe

The Executive Director of the foundation, Nelson Richardson Mandela, said the time had come for women to start believing in themselves, their abilities and what they had to offer society.

He stressed that it was not always that society needed to count on the government to do everything and urged women to start impacting and making changes in their homes and communities before stepping on to the national stage. 

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