The Acting Country Director of Plan International Ghana, Mr Asum-Kwarteng Ahensah, has urged women rights organisations and advocates to break from their silos and instead team up and rally around the most critical issues affecting girls and women.
He noted that it is only when women’s rights organisations and advocates come together that they would have a stronger voice to achieve their purpose.
He said the impact of COVID-19 has already derailed many gains achieved by women’s rights organisations and advocates and therefore coming together would give them the necessary impetus to re-organise themselves.
“COVID-19 has derailed us enough,” he said, saying “the sad realities of the disruptive impact of COVID-19 on gender equality must ginger all of us to act faster and better than before COVID-19 struck. We cannot afford to go slow now; or do the same things the same way!”
International Women’s Day
Mr. Ahensah was speaking at an event organised by the Alliance of Feminists CSOs in collaboration with Plan International Ghana to mark this year’s International Women’s Day.
The event, which was on the theme: “Women in Leadership - Achieving Equal Future in a COVID-19 World", brought together leaders and members of civil society organisations, International Organisations, feminists, politicians and leaders of state owned institutions and politically inclined young females, journalists and students.
The programme was also used to deliberate and propose strategies to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on women and children especially on girls in Ghana.
IWD is a day set aside globally to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. More importantly, the day is used to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness about women's equality, and lobby for accelerated gender parity among others.
Mr Ahensah said girls and women are now more vulnerable than ever due to COVID-19-induced sexual and gender-based violence, teenage pregnancies, unpaid care duties, risks of dropping out of school, unemployment and poverty among girls and women.
“We seem to have ‘new variants of barriers’ to women’s participation and leadership under COVID-19,” he noted, pointing out that “the pandemic is fast eroding the recent gains in gender equality and women’s empowerment which have been built painstakingly over the past two decades or so.”
He also called for increased participation of women in leadership positions in the country, saying that “women leadership represent powerful examples of how we can bring more effective, inclusive and fair policies to address the COVID-19 pandemic and also progress towards the Equal Future we all aspire to.”