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Opinions of Friday, 25 March 2016

Columnist: Avornyo, Bright Selasie Yao

Gender equality leads to development

Charity, they say, begins at home. So it is with gender equality. Gender equality – giving equal opportunities to both sexes – is best achieved when parents do not give undue advantage to the boy child over the girl child. If parents can empower the girl child to stand for herself and defend her honour in the face of persecutions, Ghana will become a safe haven for gender equality.

The practice of elevating the boy child higher than the girl child at homes by assigning more chores to girls than boys hinders the realisation of gender equality. In effect, the boy child grows seeing himself a master over an apprentice, the girl child. Society then becomes insecure and underdeveloped when there is a disparity in gender.

Those were some expressed thoughts at a stakeholder’s forum in Accra on achieving gender parity. The forum, which was organised by Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), a local NGO based in Accra, was under the theme: ‘Beyond International Women’s Day – Practical Steps for Achieving the United Nation’s 2016 IWD’s Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up with Gender Equality.’
Mr Emmanuel Nuworzah, programs manager at HFFG, said that gender equality should be seen as a means to development which can best be achieved when men see women as partners.

He lamented about the sickening practice of marrying girls under age especially when they have not even completed JHS. This awful practice according to Mr Nuworzah, increases maternal mortality cases when ironically in an attempt to give another life, a life is sadly taken instead in most cases.

He therefore called on parents to do more to help their children especially the girl child so that they may not have to engage in what he described as transactional sex as a means of surviving.

On her part, Doctor Linda Vanotoo, the Greater Accra Regional Director of Health Services, called on women to upgrade themselves technologically so as to compete with men for high profile jobs in the country.

The renowned doctor acknowledged that even though most high profile jobs are advertised for both sexes, most women shy away from competing with men for the top job. This she said hinders gender equality.
Doctor Vanotoo cautioned women to exercise enviable leadership qualities such as being firm where there need be and refrain from being soft when hard decisions have to be taken.

She noted that even though there is the need for gender equality, the appointment of women into high profile jobs should be based on merit in light with the organisation’s vision and mission.

Akorfa Edjeani, a renowned Ghanaian actress, bemoaned the practice of letting perpetrators of teenage pregnancy go scot-free all in the vain self-imposed culture of ‘give it to God.’ She noted that culprits must be dealt with according to the law.

According to the actress, God is the supreme judge, however, God in His divine wisdom has given man jurisdiction in certain matters, so it is not everything man should worry God with.

She is therefore encouraging the vulnerable in the society to feel free to report cases of abuse to the appropriate authorities and insist that action be taken immediately. She has also called on successful women to come to the aide of the vulnerable girls and serve as their confidants in matters of sexual abuses.

She entreated parents to organise sex education for their children so the child is not left ignorant about reproductive health.

The writer is Bright Selasie Yao Avornyo. His email address is allknowing00@yahoo.com.