Accra Plan International Ghana in partnership with the Alliance of Feminist CSOs (AFCSOs), are advocating a collective empowerment mechanisms for young girls to take up leadership positions from the grassroots or lower levels to higher levels.
Mr Ahensah Asum-Kwarteng, the Head of Programmes and Influencing, Plan International Ghana, said report showed that women-led governments performed better in the COVID-19 global response and about 70 percent of global health workers at the fore front of the COVID-19 fight were women, yet they were often left out of decision making.
Increasing women’s participation at the rural, district, municipal and national levels of decision making, he said, was very valuable.
“We need to encourage girls to take leadership roles at schools, communities and district levels right from a tender age to transform mindsets and empower relations,” he said.
Mr Asum-Kwarteng announced the advocacy campaign at the celebration of the 2021 International Women’s Day (IWD) in Accra on the theme: “Women in leadership: Achieving Equal Future in COVID-19 World”.
He entreated women to break the silence of being given unequal opportunities at every sector and in policy making until they were heard.
Madam Alimatu Issahak, the Convener of the AFCSOs, said COVID-19 had exposed the vulnerability of many women and girls to the intensity and effects of inequality, adding that it had overwhelmed health systems across the world.
A survey conducted on the primary and secondary effects of COVID-19 on women and girls in Ghana showed that COVID-19 had affected their health and limited their access to different dimensions of their wellbeing such as child protection, education, and employment among others.
She said Ghanaian women continued to experience one form of violence or the other since the outbreak of COVID-19 especially during the lockdown periods.
Madam Issahak said women, irrespective of their challenges continued to strive hard to survive and therefore, ought to be celebrated.
Mrs Joyce Bawa Mogtari, a Lawyer, speaking on the impact of COVID-19 on women political participation and leadership, said 243 million girls globally, had suffered abuse and different forms of violence coupled with many other things that afflicted women as a result of COVID-19 period.
She encouraged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to educate the public to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and facilitate free testing.
She said women had to take up more leadership positions in many institutions including churches, mosques, financial entities, governance, and health, among others.
Mrs Sabia Kpekata, the Principal Programme Officer, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, asked women across the country and the globe to use the 2021 International Women’s Day celebration to rally support to empower and promote the rights of women globally.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic had brought to the fore the need to take appropriate actions to tackle issues affecting vulnerable women and girls.
Such issues included increased risks of sexual and gender based violence, unemployment, unequal distribution of care and domestic work, and unequal voice given to both genders.
To increase representation of women in decision making campaigns, she reiterated that equal opportunities of all forms be given to both genders irrespective and encouraged organisations to elect and appoint women into leadership positions.
Mrs Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, President, Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association, said women in the health sector had also had a fair share of the COVID-19 effects.
“Most of the nurses and midwives were subjected to stigmatisation because their families and communities couldn’t imagine re-socialising with them after they took care and managed COVID-19 patients,” she said.
Mrs Ofori-Ampofo encouraged the public to make good use of the vaccines the government had procured.
“If you have witnessed a COVID-19 patient before who is struggling to breathe not because he or she doesn’t have a nostril or opening in the mouth, then you will run for the vaccines and overlook the myths surrounding it,” she said.
Source: Ghana News Agency