Second Lady advocates bold action to bridge policy gap for women’s empowerment


By Mohammed AWAL ([email protected])

Second Lady Samira Bawumia has urged for collective action to close the divide between policy creation and successful execution, particularly emphasising initiatives designed to empower women.

Mrs. Bawumia asserted that this strategic emphasis is vital for the country’s economic recovery and sustainable growth.

She said this at the 2024 International Women’s Day (IWD) event and the launch of the 2024 Ghana Women Entrepreneurship Summit (GWES 2024) in Accra and stressed the importance of translating well-meaning policies into concrete actions that benefit women at all levels of society.

“While progress has been made, substantial challenges persist. Barriers – such as limited access to finance, land ownership and formal employment – hinder women’s economic participation. Entrenched cultural norms and discriminatory practices necessitate continuous awareness campaigns and social change initiatives. Bridging the gap between policy formulation and effective implementation is crucial to ensuring tangible outcomes,” the Second Lady stated.

Mrs. Bawumia commended existing initiatives aimed at advancing gender equality and women’s economic participation; but stressed the necessity for a more comprehensive and coordinated approach. She urged stakeholders to collaborate closely, breaking down silos and ensuring that policies translate into real opportunities for women.

“Let’s acknowledge the significant progress Ghana has made in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. Legal frameworks and policies have been put in place, with the 1992 Constitution prohibiting discrimination and mandating fairer representation. The Domestic Violence Act provides legal protection, and the proposed Affirmative Action Bill demonstrates a commitment to increasing women in leadership roles. Additionally, gender mainstreaming efforts and the National Gender Policy outline strategies for tackling inequality,” she added.

The Second Lady called for the establishment of mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the implementation of women empowerment policies, ensuring that progress is measurable and sustainable. She emphasised the importance of data-driven decision-making to identify gaps and refine strategies for greater impact.

Bleak statistics illuminate urgent need for action

The World Economic Forum’s 2023 report highlights alarming trends in global gender equality, projecting that at the current rate, it will take 132 years to close the global gender gap. The report identifies major disparities in economic participation and opportunity, as well as political empowerment.

UN Women reports that globally, 740 million women are involved in the informal economy, while the International Labour Organization (ILO) states that women’s global labour force participation is lower than men’s, at 51.9 percent compared to 74.2 percent. Additionally, women occupy only 26.1 percent of parliamentary seats worldwide, indicating significant underrepresentation in political leadership.

“These statistics underscore the need for urgent and sustained action to bridge the gender gap across various sectors. From promoting equal access to education and economic opportunities to combating violence against women and fostering greater inclusivity in political participation, there is a long but crucial road ahead toward achieving true gender equality,” Mrs. Bawumia noted.

Crucial role of women highlighted by GEA CEO

In her statement, Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, CEO of the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), highlighted the vital role women play in shaping the country’s economy, particularly in the agricultural sector where they constitute a significant portion of the workforce. She acknowledged women’s substantial contributions to the nation’s economic landscape but also pointed out the numerous challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. These challenges include limited access to financial resources, land and markets, which are further complicated by cultural and social barriers.

Mrs. Yankey-Ayeh affirmed the GEA’s commitment to addressing these disparities by creating an inclusive environment conducive to the success of women. Through strategic partnerships and impactful initiatives, the agency will continue to offer comprehensive support, training and resources tailored to empower women in starting and expanding their businesses.

“Our commitment to inclusivity extends beyond gender, encompassing all individuals, including those who are marginalised and persons with disabilities (PWDs). We strive to create an environment where everyone is respected, supported and empowered to reach their full potential,” she stated.

WERise Network launched to empower women

The Second Lady launched the 2024 Ghana Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit (GWES) and inaugurated the Greater Accra WERise Network during the event, underscoring the shared commitment of GEA and WERise to empower women in all facets of society: social, economic and cultural.

“I am confident that WERise will fulfil its crucial mandate of creating an enabling environment where women can support and empower each other. I offer my support as you champion the course for women. In the same way, I invite those who have not yet registered to do so and become part of this vital network,” Mrs. Bawumia stated.

She urged all stakeholders – government, private sector, civil society and development partners – to join hands in “our collective efforts toward women’s empowerment in Ghana”. “Together, we can inspire inclusion and create a brighter, more prosperous future for all. Together WE RISE!”

The WERise Network is a partner in the GEA’s efforts, providing networking opportunities, connecting women entrepreneurs with business opportunities and organising the Ghana Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit (GWES).

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