Accra, Sept. 22, GNA - Dr Charles Brempong-Yeboah, a Deputy Minister of Manpower Development and Employment (MMDE), on Thursday called for a change in attitudes and behaviours towards the involvement of women and girls in vocations, which were traditionally male dominated.
He said this would help to reduce the general poverty level, especially among women, with a resultant reduction in child labour. Dr Brempong-Yeboah speaking at a two-day gender training workshop for skill trainers and employers stated that the time was due to eliminate sex-based divisions that hindered economic development of women and the nation as a whole.
The more than 40 participants including members of the National Association of Garages, National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI), Child Labour Unit, Ghana National Commission on children and the Council of Indigenous Businesses are attending.
The workshop, organised by the MMDE is aimed at addressing the needs and expectations of vocational skill trainers and employers to enable them to appreciate the role of gender in the acquisition of vocational skills.
Dr Brempong-Yeboah said the informal sector, which was currently the major engine of growth for the economy, needed to be expanded to achieve total poverty reduction and further ensure that child labour was eliminated.
He said training and employment in vocations such as masonry, electronics, auto mechanic, carpentry and spraying had traditionally been classified as male dominated trades but women could also be successful in such areas if they were given the chance. He cited instances where the few girls and women who found themselves in those trades were either discouraged by their parents or were ostracised by their male counterparts during their training. "In addition, they face other obstacles such as not being accepted by the master artisans or refused employment by some employers based on their sex. When they are employed they are given administrative duties." He said all these hindrances discouraged the progression of women in these industries and hampered the socio-economic growth of the women resulting in abject poverty.
Dr Brempong-Yeboah urged parents and the society to have a change of vision on such vocations to help to curb poverty and eliminate child labour.
Mr Emmanuel Otoo, ILO/IPEC Country Programme Coordinator, Ghana, said the ILO would strengthen its partnership with the Government, Trades Union Congress and the Ghana Employers' Association as well as the informal sector to ensure the elimination of child labour. He said a 2001 survey by the ILO/IPEC reported that 2.47 million children, about 40 per cent of Ghanaian children aged between five years and 17 years, were economically active, with about 1.27 million being active in activities classified as child labour.
Mr Otoo said a high number of these children were without skills and, therefore, very unproductive.
"The ILO has started various nation-wide skill training programmes to help the youth in skill acquisition and there is the need for the society to accept them without any gender biases."