The Deputy Minister of Transport, Mrs Joyce Bawa- Mogtari, has said that Northern women are disadvantaged in participating equally in the governance process because of the cultural systems of the people of the Northern part of the country.
According to her, it is true Gonjaland women are underrepresented in leading positions, such as elected office, the civil service, the private sector or academia despite their proven abilities as leaders and agents of change, and their right to participate equally in democratic governance but challenged women in Gonjaland to take up the challenge.
She bemoaned the situation in which there is lack of opportunities for women and low level of education among Gonjaland women saying ‘the quickest way of combating poverty in Gonjaland Women is through education’.
The Deputy Minister made these statements when she spoke on the topic,’ The right to participate equally in democratic governance- steps to overcoming the obstacles’ at the inauguration of the Women’s Wing of the Gonjaland Youth Association on Saturday 21st June, 2014 at Tamale.
Dr Afisah Zakariah, Director of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry of Health who chaired the programme under the theme; ‘Empowering Gonjaland Women as Key Change Agents’ said men should have it mind that women are not in competition with them but are partners with them in the socio-economic development of our communities. She commended the Gonjaland Youth Association for their foresight in organising a breast screening exercise during the last congress.
Mrs Hajia Zaharatu Muniru Limuna, wife of the Northern Regional Minister encouraged the Gonjaland Youth Association to take advantage of development programmes of government to empower Gonjaland Women. According to her the Association needs to carry a lot of advocacy work to support women in deprived communities. She appealed to the Women to be each other’s keepers and also counsel and learn from each other.
The President of the Gonjaland Youth Association Mr Alhassan Dramani urged the people of Gonjaland to try their best possible to eschew pettiness and pessimism and work relentlessly towards the liberation of our women from poverty as well as the development of Gonjaland as a whole.
According to him since taking over the mantle of leadership, he and his executives have strongly supported the women’s wing to embark on its projects and programs and are prepared to do more. ‘We are ever ready to empower our women because they are the key to the socio economic development of Gonjaland’ he said.
The Women’s Commissioner Ramatu Braimah in her opening remarks said Women in Gonjaland continue to be largely marginalized often as a result of discriminatory laws, practices, attitudes and gender stereotypes, low levels of education, lack of access to health care and
the disproportionate effect of poverty on women She encouraged the empowerment of women because ‘empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element promoting development and achieving the end of hunger and poverty’.
She said Gonjaland women are not given their due recognition democratic governance though Women are more than men. ‘For instance out of seven (7) Districts in Gonjaland, we have no woman as a District Chief Executive and out of eight (8) Parliamentary constituencies we have no woman as a Member of Parliament in Gonjaland’ she explained.
She said she is happy Gonjaland women are now seen leaving their mark in various professional fields which were considered to be chiefly male dominated, a testimony of positive change in the mindsets of the people at large.
A number of other speakers took turns to address the women. Madam Fati Bodua Seidu the Country Co-ordinator , SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation Procurement Governance for Home Grown School Feeding Programs who spoke on the topic ‘Women’s Rights – A Turning Point For Development in Gonjaland’ said women are victims of discriminatory traditional practices leading to lack of education and confidence. She called on the young ones to take up role models among those privileged to be in positions and entreated those in positions not to be complacent of their positions.
Hajia Abiba Saaka an Educationist and Girl Child Education co-ordinator for Savelegu District who spoke on ‘You educate a boy; you educate a boy; you educate a girl; you educate a generation Why is the Girl-child Education important’ explained that a basic method of ensuring the girl child’s education is not truncated is monitoring. She urged members of the Gonjaland Youth Association to think together and advocate for the education of the girl-child.
Lynda Rukiatu Issahaku (Ruky) the Northern Region representative for Ghana’s Most Beautiful contest 2014 and Zina Asiedu, Ghana’s representative for Miss Heritage World 2014 both addressed the women. Ruky said her contest is about the votes and urged all to vote massively for her through texting when the Ghana Most Beautiful contest begin in next month.
Some Women from Gonjaland who graced the occasion included Kansawurche Hajia Azara Bukari a Queen mother from the Bole Traditional Area, Mrs Sheila Naah-Boamah -Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Students Loan Trust Fund and Madam Habiba Abudulai Abosore, Headmistress of Tuna Senior High School and 2nd Vice-Chairperson of the Gonjaland Youth Association.
Others were Madam Lawuratu Musah Saaka-Ministry of Health, Accra, Madam Rhodaline Mbimadong, Ministry of Health, Tamale and Madam Rabiatu Kassim- Ministry of Local Government, Accra.
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