Gender activist suggests special units for girls’ retention in schools

By Dennis
Peprah, GNA

Wenchi (B/R), Feb. 06, GNA – The Ghana
Education Service (GES) must set up a special Unit that will advance,
facilitate and improve on girls retention rate in schools,  Dr. Tina
Abrefa-Gyan, a renowned gender activist has suggested.

The Unit would also ensure that school
environment meet and address the “bio-psychological” needs – menstruation of
the girl-child to sustain their interest in schools.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency
(GNA) on Thursday at Wenchi in the Bono Region, Dr. Abrefa-Gyan, an Assistant
Professor at Norfolk State University in the United States of America said the
unit must be set up at regional and district levels.

They would provide guidance and counselling as
well as create awareness on socio-cultural practices which impeded the holistic
development of girls and women.

Dr. Abrefa-Gyan emphasised the need for
government to invest hugely in girl-child education so as to build leadership
capabilities of women and break the gender inequality space in the country.

By so doing, she said the nation would be able
to arrest the driving force of child and forced marriages and restore the hopes
of potential victims.

Dr. Abrefa-Gyan, an ardent activist on gender
and social issues mentioned poverty, differential gender roles, low educational
attainments and outmoded traditional practices as the key factors refueling
child and forced marriages in the country.

“Traditional practices fuel child marriages in
a sense that most women, especially those coming from lower socio-economic
backgrounds, are traditionally seen as economically burdensome and homemakers”.

She stated giving them (girl-children) up for
marriage early helps to ease the family of the responsibility of taking care of
their needs and to naturally usher them into their traditional role of
homemaking, she said.

But, the gender activist queried the early
marriage tended to be detrimental to the psychological and general well-being
of the girl-children and consequently their socio-economic progress.

Dr. Abrefa-Gyan reiterated the need for a
special unit to ensure girls’ retention in schools because it was only through
education that they would have trained minds and be informed enough to make
right choices and take appropriate decisions to help them in life.    

She emphasised that until laws, conventions
and protocols on child rights and protection were enforced, it would be
extremely difficult for the country to improve on girl-child education and stem
child marriages and other related practices that impede the development of
girls and women.