By Erica Apeatua Addo
Tarkwa (W/R), March 12, GNA – Mr Benjamin Kessie, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Tarkwa-Nsuaem, said the imbalance in the representation of women and other vulnerable groups at various levels of decision-making is affecting development.
For instance, he said, the Municipal Assembly, the highest decision-making body, has 43 members, out of which five were women and one person with disability (PWD).
“Currently in our municipality, women still face several challenges due to cultural, religious and societal stereotyping and this limits their involvement and activeness in decision-making processes” he said.
Mr Kessie said this in Tarkwa during the commemoration of the International Women’s Day (IWD) on the theme: “Digital, Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”.
It was organized by the Golden Tree Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation, in collaboration with the Municipal Assembly, and Inspires and Advocacy International, a group that supports women.
Aside women, vulnerable groups such as PWDs also went through suffering, he said, adding: “This group faces greater challenges due to members special and unique needs, limiting their ability to engage in social interactions to influence policy priorities”.
Mr Kessie said to curtail those difficulties, the Assembly was making efforts to improve budget for gender responsive and social programmes that economically empowered women and the vulnerable.
It had embarked on alternative livelihood and skills development programmes such as liquid soap, batik, tie and dye making, confectionery and vegetable farming to financially equip women and the vulnerable to take care of their families.
“The Assembly is implementing government’s Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme by providing cash and health insurance incentives to extremely poor households,” Mr Kessie said, and urged all to take advantage of such programmes when the opportunity arose.
He said the IWD behoved on Ghanaians to reflect on how far they had gone with achieving the Sustainable Development Goal- Five, in particular, and all the 17 Goals to advance gender equality.
Mrs Hamdiya Chireboah-Ansah, a Lecturer at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa, and the Artisanal Small-scale Mining Junior Coordinator for Women in Mining (WiM), encouraged women in the communities to take up leadership roles.
She advised parents whose young girls wanted to study engineering to encouraged them to do so to enable them to work in the mining sector.
“UMaT has a slot for these girls in our community,” she said.
The International Women’s Day is celebrated globally on March 8 to recognise the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.