Rural women in some parts of the northern region gathered in Tamale under the auspices of the Savannah Women Integrated Development Agency (SWIDA) Ghana, a Women empowerment nongovernmental organization to share their personal experiences and the socio-economic challenges confronting local women as the world celebrated International Women’s Day, Monday, 8 March, 2021.

SWIDA-Ghana in collaboration with the Northern Region Department of Gender and other Civil Society Organizations held the forum to discuss the significant impact of women in the family and societies across the globe.

The annual event is observed on 8 March every year to celebrate the achievements and challenges of women in line with the United Nations conventions.

Executive Director of SWIDA-Ghana, Hajia Alima Sagito Sa-eed in an interview with Journalists highlighted on the theme for this year celebration, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 World”.

She said the theme has put women at the center of the economic recovery process in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic crisis.

“I think it has just summed up everything we’ve been doing as far as COVID-19 is concern – advocating so much for women’s rights, women inclusion, filling gender gaps, politically, socially and economically, and COVID-19 came and probably drew everything back. So it’s like we building back again and we are placing women at the center of it, very important” she explained.

According to Hajia Alima Sagito, rural women now have self-confidence to contribute significantly in discussions anytime her organization visit the communities. She disclosed there are instance where the men urge the women to participate in the discussions.

“So they bring diversified ideas to discussions and so therefore we have made some progress in terms of men accepting that development is collective responsibility for both men and women” she added.

The SWIDA-Ghana Executive Director said there are also discussions with some of the traditional authorities to reconsider some cultural practices that undermine women economic empowerment and particularly mentioned access to land.

She argued land is a very important commodity for every economic activity and women therefore must be given equally opportunity to access land for their socio-economic benefits.

Impact of COVID-1

Mrs. Sa-eed called on the government of Ghana to consider women in the implementation of every policy decision geared towards the COVID-19 recovery programme in the country. She said women are pivotal to societal change and when they have sound economic status, the society improves.   

Meanwhile, the Ag Director of the Department of Gender in the northern region for her part urged the public to challenge issues that affect women in life. She believes women have played very critical roles in the outbreak of COVID-19 and therefore, “We are looking at how women can position themselves in leadership positions to be able to address some of these problems we encounter as women.”

Madam Bushira Alhassan however agreed that Ghana is steadily making some improvement in the struggle for gender parity in the country and mentioned women are now involved in some leadership positions compared to the past.

“Even though we don’t have the women there yet but at least we’ve made some efforts, we can now count of women who have taken a number of leadership positions. We have issues of sexual and gender based violence, thankfully, we now have the domestic violence law which is helping address some of these issues; so we still have the issues, we’ve achieve as much as we should’ve achieved but then we’ve some efforts” she explained.

The Ag Director of the Department of Gender said she is optimistic that Ghana would pass the age long Affirmative Action Bill before the celebration of the anniversary in a year’s time.

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