Women in Logistics and Transport (WiLAT) Ghana Day Conference held in Accra, brought together women professionals in transport and logistics to learn from and share experiences with one another.
WiLAT is an international professional group of women under the auspices of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) with 19 chapters globally.
It is the umbrella organisation that develops a high-level strategic network of female members — both active and retired - from the logistics, transportation and supply chain sector, including air, rail, road, water, pipeline and cables, telecommunications and space to promote their career.
Dubbed, "Women in Logistics and Transport: An Essential Brick in Nation Building”, the maiden edition of the conference was also to afford members and the public the opportunity to appreciate the role of professional women within the transport and logistics industry who had served as role models in nation building to the young ones.
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In an address read on her behalf by the Minister of Aviation, Ms Cecilia Dapaah, the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, called on other professional women's associations to emulate WiLAT and develop policies and programmes geared towards the development of women and girls to achieve gender equality and empowerment.
"The strategy of WiLAT to encourage successful women to mentor younger women is not only commendable but also worthy of our support," she said.
She identified gender inequality as a major constraint to economic growth, saying it had become necessary for all women to do away with gender stereotypes, outmoded cultural practices and religious restrictions that hindered the development and empowerment of women.
"I wish to assure you that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, recipient of the 2017 AU Gender Champion Award and Co-Chair of Eminent Advocates for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is fully committed to the attainment of goal number five, which relates to gender equality, that enables women and girls everywhere to have equal rights and opportunity, and be able to live free of violence and discrimination," she stated.
In a speech read on her behalf, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba, said the Ghana National Household Registry (GNHR), under her ministry, had completed the registration of extreme poor households in the Upper East Region after successfully completing a similar exercise in the Upper West Region in 2017 for all social intervention programmes in Ghana.
According to her, the ministry planned to go nationwide to generate a register for the extreme poor and non-poor, stressing, "I want to use this platform to urge all Ghanaian women to go for gold, chase their dreams and become whatsoever they want to be.”
The WiLAT Africa Regional Coordinator and Ghana Chairperson, Dr Doreen Owusu-Fianko, identified gender stereotypes, strong cultural bias, religious restrictions, sexual harassment, unprofessionalism in the industry and inadequate sustainable programmes for capacity building for women groups in the industry as factors that hindered women’s development and called for measures to address them.
"In Ghana, we intend to donate bicycles to female nurses working in rural areas and, therefore, seek the support of all," she added.
The Chairperson for the occasion, Mrs Kate Quartey-Papafio, indicated that since WiLAT's inception in 2013, remarkable strides had been made in projecting the status of women within the logistics and transport sector, and charged women in the sector to fully maximise their potential in order to upgrade their status in the male-dominated sector.
At the ceremony, the WiLAT Global Convenor and Leader of the Nigerian delegation, Hajia Aisha Ali Ibrahim, presented a scarf and a book to the Minister of Aviation.