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Business News of Thursday, 26 September 2019


Give women opportunities to assume higher positions – GEA President

Dan Acheampong, President of the Ghana Employers Dan Acheampong, President of the Ghana Employers

President of the Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA), Dan Acheampong, has called for a conscious effort by organisations to provide women with requisite skills and give them opportunities to assume higher responsibilities in their places of work.

He said although women form more than half of Ghana’s population (51 per cent), they are underrepresented in management, leadership and boardroom positions in most organisation in the country.

“It is important to note that in all facets of Ghana, women are underrepresented at the decision-making and leadership levels. For instance, women form more than half of Ghana’s population, but they are underrepresented in management, leadership and boardroom positions,” Mr Acheampong said.

Mr Acheampong, who is also the Chief Executive of Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO), was speaking in Accra at the launch of a leadership development programme for women dubbed ‘Female Future Programme (FFP)’.

The Female Future Programme is a training that focuses on network building, personal growth and facilitates greater responsibility among career women. It consists of 15 sessions over a nine-month period.

It is being championed by the GEA in collaboration with the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) and with funding from the Norwegian fund for developing countries, Norfund.

The programme originated from the Norway and has been replicated in other sister organisations in Africa namely – Federation of Uganda Employers (FUE) in 2010, Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) in 2012, Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) in 2015, and it is currently being piloted in Tunisia.

Mr Acheampong indicated that as part of preparation towards the implementation of the FFP, a baseline study was conducted by the GEA earlier this year which identified some interesting factors such as effective mentoring mechanisms, efficient social support systems, social networking and building of emotional intelligence to be crucial in elevating women to leadership positions.

“It also revealed that demotivating factors such as weak self-image, lack of assertiveness and determination, and mentoring lapses limit women representation at the apex of the corporate ladder,” Mr Acheampong added.

The GEA President also referred to similar study conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SSEA) in 2016 and the revelations of the latest Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS) report.

For instance, according to the IFC-SSEA study, which was to ascertain the gender dynamics and challenges confronting the elevation of women to boardrooms in private and public institutions in Ghana, the proportion of women to total board members is less than 26 per cent.

Additionally, only 6 per cent of organisations have females as board chairpersons and 49 per cent of women who rise to board level positions are made to occupy non-executive positions.

According to the latest GLSS report, most formal sector working women are found in services and sales jobs in their organisations whilst the managerial, professional and technical occupations that end to top positions are dominated by men.

Mr Acheampong lamented that these studies did not paint a good image about gender diversity in Ghana’s corporate environment.

“One can interpret this to mean that most enterprises are not making full utilisation of all the talents at their disposal. GEA as the mouthpiece of employers in the country believes that this narrative must be rewritten,” he added.