The maiden edition of this years National Women’s Dialogue was held in today in Accra, under the theme Gender Equity, Women Economic Empowerment and Access to Justice; Requisite for Driving SME’s Growth in Ghana.
The POS Foundation with its funding partners GIZ a German company organised these years event as a special initiative, targeted at women to dialogue on challenges, share best practises in business as well as suitable approaches for resolving legal issues in Ghana.
It was a call for policy direction and legislative reforms to raise expert views, opinions and papers to shape national discourse and policies towards gender equity, women economic empowerment, basically women in the small and medium scale enterprise ( SMEs) and further enhancing womens access to justice while strengthening legal experts in Ghana for collective sustainable development. Thus, Ghanaian women will be educated on available legal options for seeking redress.
Women form a larger part of the population as they contribute about seventy percent (70%) of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and account for ninety two percent (92%) of businesses in Ghana.
Statistics in the 2014 World Bank report indicates that women in Ghana are more disadvantaged in terms of economic, social and political opportunities in spite of constituting about fifty two percent 52% of the population and almost fifty percent (50%) of active labour force.
Women are therefore less likely to pursue civil cases due to ignorance, poverty and fear of stigmatization.
These years dialogue brought together distinguished women entrepreneurs from various sectors of the economy.
The Chairperson for the occasion Professor Akosua Darkwah, a lecturer at University of Ghana stressed on the need for women to embrace innovation in their businesses.
Madam Elsie Awadzi, the second Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Ghana, in her presentation on prospects of women in business: the hard facts of gender inequality, access to capital and financial management towards women’s independence stipulated that women all over the world are seen as agents of socio economic development, whether they be care givers in their homes , offices, market place or running their businesses.
She opined that, women need to harness their full potential to contribute to economic gains of the country or any environment they find themselves. “Women work hard but remuneration is often low and hopes that the gap as compared to men can be closed”.
She therefore called on various financial agencies or institutions to make accessing of loans easier for women to help expand and grow their businesses.
Furthermore, it was necessary for Bank of Ghana to undertake the financial cleanup as it has strengthened the capacity of the local banks and made them robust and safe for all to access loans and deposit monies knowing that the banks can be trusted to help grow their businesses.
Madam Sheila Azuntaba, CEO of Innovative Microfinance Ltd also spoke on the topic opportunities and Challenges of women in SME’s: solutions and interventions towards women economic empowerment for sustainable growth.
The former Miss Ghana queen tasked women to take risk in their businesses and not let fear keep them behind in competing with their fellow men who tend to take bigger business risk.
The executive director and team leader at Georgette Barns Ltd, mrs. Georgette Barnes made a presentation on the topic prospects and Challenges of the 21st century woman in a male dominated industry.
She reiterated that women especially girls should take up courses in Science, Technology, engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to compete in male dominated jobs.
Madam Ruth Kwabea Amankwah a legal advisor at GIZ also added up by stating that lack of funding of legal aid scheme limits the ability of the scheme, making it difficult for women to access legal assistance.
High cost of private legal services, had left the vulnerable especially women who are victims of domestic violence or rape to not report them at all.A representative from the German Embassy Miss. Nicola Hondasi in her presentation called for advocacy and economic empowerment of women,in other to achieve gender equality globally.
Mr. Jonathan Osei Owusu, executive director, of POS Foundation in his statement said, “it has become necessary for women all over the world to know their basic rights and seek for legal assistance anytime.
He rounded the programme up by tasking women entrepreneurs to attend the series of dialogue that would be held in Kumasi and Tamale in partnership with GIZ to mobilize and educate women and propel them to higher economic height.