Engaging women in governance key—First Lady
First lady of the Republic of Ghana, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has called for the inclusion of more women in the governance process.
“It is only when we have a critical mass of women in governance that real changes happen in the lives of all women,” she said at the 32nd edition of Zonta International’s District 18 (African Chapter) conference in Accra last week.
She further stated that government is committed to ensuring that the Affirmative Action Bill is passed to give women more voice in governing the country.
Commenting on the theme: ‘Empowering women through education on safe motherhood and advocating against teenage pregnancy and early marriage of girls’, Mrs. Akufo-Addo said there is a need for girls to be educated on sex and be helped to focus on their education, rather than be pushed into early child marriage.
“In Ghana, there is a policy that allows teenage parents to be admitted back to school after they deliver. However, we should provide our girls with the critical information and resources to make informed decisions about sex. We should tell our girls that having education is paramount to their future well-being,” she added.
Mrs. Akufo-Addo congratulated Zonta International and Zonta-Ghana for their contribution to women empowerment and the scholarships they awarded to some brilliant but needy school girls to go back to school.
The Governor of Zonta International District 18, Ms Anne-Marie French Cudjoe, said: “Zonta envisions a world in which women’s rights are recognised as human rights and where every woman is able to achieve her full potential.”
“In such a world, women have equal access to resources and are well represented in decision-making positions on equal basis with men, and no women live in fear of violence,” she added.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the African Women's Development Fund, Ms Theo Sowah, reiterated the importance of gender equity; lamenting how African women are portrayed to the world carrying babies at their backs and loads on their heads which renders her incapable of self-development.
“Until we tell and portray to the world the change African women had experienced long ago, no one will do it for us and we will continue to be portrayed as wretched and incapable,” she said.
Zonta International is a leading global organization of professionals who work together to empower women through service and advocacy. In attendance at the biennial conference were Zontians from other African countries including Ghana, Nigeria and Togo.