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Opinions of Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Columnist: Palgrave Boakye-Danquah

Growing opportunities for women to play up in leadership

Palgrave Boakye-Danquah, Executive Director at the Kandifo Institute Palgrave Boakye-Danquah, Executive Director at the Kandifo Institute

President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday April 21, 2021 brought out the list of his deputy-ministers in his second term of office. Twenty-six percent of the people that were chosen by the president to serve as deputy-ministers are women, and this is a significant rise from his first term when there was just 16% of appointees being women.

This shows a major step forward for gender equality and women empowerment in the country, and has given women an opportunity to be engaged in national decision-making.

According to research, women work 10 percent harder than men in today’s offices. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. Women and girls represent half of the world’s population, and therefore represent half of its potential. It has been shown that empowering women spurs productivity and economic growth.

Women are powerful agents of change, and far-reaching benefits of diversity and gender parity in leadership and decision-making are increasingly recognised in all spheres of the society. In recent times, women are being given equal opportunities in access to employment, to positions of leadership and decision-making at all levels, globally.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report, Gender Parity is fundamental to the success of economies and societies. Gone are the days when women leaders were a minority or there were no women leaders at all.

In Africa, many traditional women leaders have contributed in bringing their societies to where they are in our present day. Remarkable among such women in Ghana are Nana Yaa Asantewa of Ejusu – who led the Ashanti Kingdom to war against the British in 1900; and also Nana Hima Dekyi XIII (1964-2002) Omanhene of Upper Dixcove in the Ahanta West district, who for 38 years of her reign never saw or experienced any chieftaincy dispute in her traditional area. However, in most traditional societies of Africa, women are expected to play complementary or subordinate roles to their male counterparts in leadership. They only become substantive leaders when there are no men.

Kandifo Institute is very pleased with having more women occupying deputy-ministerial positions.

Having an initiative dubbed ‘Let Her Lead’, Kandifo Institute seeks to move the conversation of Women Empowerment and Feminism toward the adequate acquisition of skills which provide an opportunity for women to serve in Leadership. 10 out of the 39 deputy nominees who were announced on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 for the 24 portfolios happen to be women.

We believe that these female deputy-ministers will deliver as is expected of them; and will show that, indeed, women can take up leadership roles and deliver perfectly. These women have paved the way for more future appointments of women taking up government positions.

Suggested policies

Government should support young people, especially girls, with scholarships to study areas like political science, governance and international affairs.

Government and political parties should take up gender quotas as a dependable measure with potential prowess to address the political marginalisation of young women.

Government and Non-Governmental Organisations, as well as political parties, should invest immensely in young women by training, nurturing and encouraging them to take up leadership roles as well as political roles.

More young women should be empowered. Empowering young women to participate substantively in politics will not only bridge the existing gender disparity in politics, but also be significant to achieving gender parity or equality.

Government, the private sector and NGOs should invest in systems and programmes which promote and cultivate diverse leadership, and also provide ongoing systems to further women’s personal and professional development.