The Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Women, Mrs Paulina Abayage says poverty reduction efforts in the country would be hampered and the cycle of poverty would be passed from one generation to the next if women were disempowered and marginalized.
"To maximise the impact of gender equality on poverty reduction and sustainable development, women must be involved in decision-making in the household, the workplace and in the political sphere", the Director said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Bolgatanga.
She was speaking on the contribution of women to national development during the past 50 years of Ghana's independence.
Mrs Abayage stated that over the years, women had contributed their quota as primary caregivers in the family, shaping especially the lives of children.
She observed that more women in the Region were bringing more income into their families now than their male counterparts and that policy makers were increasingly coming to terms with the important role women in the rural communities especially, played in addressing the poverty situation in their families.
Mrs Abayage said at both the regional and national levels women had come together to challenge discriminatory attitudes against them and that this had significantly led to the decline of negative practices including forced marriages, female genital mutilation and widowhood rites.
"Despite the ingrained gender inequality in traditional Ghanaian society, the status of women in the country has improved in the last three decades. The awareness about discriminatory practices including physical and sexual violence, and female illiteracy has led to widespread demands for change."
Mrs Abayage pointed out that through the promotion of legal and social reforms such as the passing of the Domestic Violence Bill and the gains made against negative cultural practices, women as well as other advocates of gender equality had taken the vital step towards the reshaping of Ghana's social and political landscape.
"Enrolment figures for girls in primary schools have soared, the educational gap between boys and girls has narrowed and although in minimal proportions, women's political representation is on the increase," she said.
She declared that compared to the situation 50 years ago, women and children in the Region today had access to opportunities that were previously restricted or even non-existent.