Ghana has made a case at the United Nations that there is an inextricable link between economic empowerment of women and gender equality, therefore the continued gender disparity is a denial of a fundamental human right and affects social economic development.
Consequently, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms. Otiko Afisah Djaba has said, her country believes that the economic empowerment of women has a direct correlation with the development of the country.
The Minister stated this in her statement at the High Level Interactive Dialogue at the on-going 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.
Speaking on “Building Alliances to Promote Women’s Economic Empowerment In the Changing World of Work”, she pointed out that the global disparities in the economic well-being of women as against men are clearly fueled by various gender norms and values that do not promote women as skilled enough, strong enough and as smart as their male colleagues.
“This is wrong. This is deceptive and this is an injustice to humankind. I believe that any such value or norm which promotes the devaluing of women in the work force does not have a place in today’s world and must be done away with”, she argued.
Admitting that Ghana also faces gender disparities at various levels of her workforce which go against women, particularly, in the formal sector and also in the decision making positions, where they remain underrepresented, she said there is much economic gain to be made from recognizing the value of women’s work and enhancing their participation in national development through deliberate and well-targeted policies.
Quoting from the Ghana Living Standards Survey (2014), she said that 29.9 per cent of males are engaged in wage employment as against 11.7 per cent for females.
Such disparities, she said also existed in other key areas such as politics, where currently 37 out of 275 Members of Parliament are women.
To address this disparity, the Government of Ghana has taken steps to ensure a strong legal and policy environment that supports women’s inclusion and welfare”. Ms. Djaba noted.
She added that an Affirmative Action Bill, currently under consideration in Parliament, when passed will enable the country to correct the imbalances seen in many decision-making positions in the country.
The Minister called for a clear commitment to work with Civil Society Organizations, development partners and donors to advance the economic empowerment of women in the changing world of work.
“African Governments, in particular, must show commitment by undertaking gender budgeting and allocate resources to areas where gender disparities need to be addressed. Enough talk, the time is now to walk the talk” she stated.