ENDING CHILD MARRIAGE: A KEY TO WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

The Upper East Regional office of the Commission working in tandem with the Department of Gender organized a programme at Kolgo – Aguusi a suburb of Bolgatanga on the need to end Child Marriage in the Upper East Region .The programme was organized to commemorate the International Women Day on 9th of March, 2017.The theme for this year’s celebration was “Economic Empowerment of the Rural Woman: A Tool for Sustainable Development in the Changing World of Work.

Delivering his speech, a   Programmes Officer at the Regional Office Mr. Akolgo A. Samuel (SCEO) emphasized that ending Child Marriage in our communities will go a long way to ensure that all girls are well educated to acquire professional skills which will lead to better remuneration.

Expatiating further, he acknowledged women’s contribution to the growth and economic development of every community in Ghana, but lamented that their efforts are often less appreciated in the communities, at the district level and in national development. Mr. Akolgo cited the World Bank statistics to buttress his point. For example the World Bank statistics from 2010 illustrated that of the active female population of Ghana, 84% are considered to be engaged in vulnerable employment-meaning unpaid family work or account work (NGP, 2015). Elaborating further he said women also perform about 66% of the communities’ work, and produce 50% of the food, yet they earn only 10% of the income and own 1% of the property in our various homes.

Mr. Akolgo Samuel stressed that despite a lot of reforms and regulations including gender mainstreaming in all governing processes since the inception of Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the rural women’s plights is compounded by climate change, unsecure and unhealthy working environment, lack of credit facilities to enhance women’s economic empowerment.

He said women economic empowerment requires the creation of an environment for women where they can make decisions of their own for their personal benefits as well as for the society. Economic empowerment is building the capacity of women and men to participate in, contribute to and benefit from growth processes in ways which recognise the value of their contributions, respect their dignity and make it possible to negotiate a fairer distribution of the benefits of growth.

Mr. Akolgo Samuel implied that education provides women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence they need to seek out economic opportunities and a tool for empowering women. Removing school fees and providing financial incentives for girls to attend school have proven to be effective for increasing girls’ enrolment and completion rates.

He amplified that the key measures include building schools close to remote communities, ensuring that schools have quality teachers – both female and male – and adequate sanitary facilities, and that they are safe places for girls. He added that well-designed vocational training leads to better paid work.

He calls for the application of the PNDC Law 111, Intestate Succession Law and  change to cultural practices, norms and customs such as Child Marriage, teenage pregnancy etc. that impede women and children’ education, health and development

Mr. Akolgo Samuel made it clear that women need access to more and better jobs, business climate that supports them in starting and doing business, financial sectors that give them access to financial services tailored to their needs and greater livelihood security in terms of food and violence to be economically empowered.

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