Gender Ministry Reacts To Sanitary Pads Debate
Nana Oye Lithur
The Ministry Of Gender, Childrenand social Protection (MoGCSP) has responded to issues raised by members of the general public and parliamentarians over the free distribution of sanitary pads to adolescent girls in senior high schools (SHSs).
According to the ministry, the distribution of the pads has contributed positively to the development of many countries.
Ten thousand four hundred SHS students, especially girls, over a threeyear
period, would receive scholarships targeted at students from low-income families as part of the scholarship component of the Secondary Education Improvement Project approved by Parliament on 3rd July, 2014.
Nana Oye Lithur, in a press release, explained that the initiative to distribute sanitary pads in the scholarship scheme is to ensure that the girls to remain in school and complete their secondary education successfully.
‘The category of students, who will benefit from the scholarship package, are self-financing students, disabled students, orphan students, students living with HIV/AIDS, students from LEAP households, among others,’ she said.
Explaining further, Mrs. Lithur said, ‘Research conducted by a team of researchers, funded by the Green Templeton College of the University of Oxford and supported by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship in 2008/9 in Ghana showed that the provision of free disposable pads, and education about menstruation improved school attendance among girls and potentially improved retention,’ she said.
‘Absenteeism dropped from 21 percent of school days missed to 9 percent.’
She further indicated that studies in Ghana and East Africa have shown that girls prefer to use disposable pads during menstruation and that is why the
Government of Ghana has included sanitary pads in the scholarship package for needy girls.
Mrs. Lithur said the innovation in Ghana must be supported by all, adding that ‘East Africa is leading the way in providing vulnerable girls with sanitary pads and we must follow and adapt this best practice.’
She said Ghana has made significant progress over the last two decades in promoting gender equality in terms of access to primary and secondary education.
‘Menstruation should not be a barrier to an adolescent’s girl’s educational rights in Ghana. This is what the Government of Ghana is seeking to address by ensuring needy girls are provided with sanitary pads so they stay in school,’ she said.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri
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