INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY CELEBRATION 2023 AT SUNYANI IN BONO REGION
International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity and promoting gender equality. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality. Marked annually on March 8th, the IWD is one of the most important days of the year to celebrate women’s achievements, educate and raise awareness for women’s equality, call for positive change in advancing women, lobby for accelerated gender parity and fundraise for female-focused charities. Everyone everywhere can play a part in helping to forge gender equality from a wide range of IWD campaigns, events, rallies and lobbying.
The 2023 theme is focused on recognizing women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education. The observance will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. This event will also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence. A gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education can increase the awareness of women and girls regarding their rights and civic engagement.
PROCEEDING FOR THE DAY’S CELEBRATION
The Department of Gender in partnership with Action celebrated this year’s International Women’s Day in the Bono region under the theme “Digital innovation and technology for gender equality”: embrace equity the role of men in unpaid care work on the 8th March 2023 at the Bono RCC forecourt. The celebration was sponsored by ActionAid, Promasidor and Voltic Ghana.
Dignitaries present at the programme were the Hon. Regional Minister, Regional Coordinating Director, Regional Economic Planning rep, Reps of the Sunyani Paramount Queen mothers, heads of Departments at the RCC, others present were women groups and men’s groups. Media men and staff of the regional coordinating council. The program was chaired by the representative of the Sunyani Paramount Queen mother.
The Regional Coordinating Director in his welcome address expressed his joy for the celebration of the day. He reiterated that it was very important for men and women to co-exist peacefully in society so the issues of unpaid care work should be relooked at to help women fully involve themselves in technology.
The Regional Director of Gender in her statement of purpose congratulated women on their tremendous efforts in the society and nation. She gave a brief history of the celebration of the day which began with a group of women in the United States and the United Kingdom who rose and campaigned for the rights of women to vote in elections and this caught the attention of other women’s groups in Europe at the time. She explained that the government of Ghana has signed a lot of commitments at the international level but despite the many commitments signed by the government at the international level there are still a lot of issues women face .
She also highlighted the positive impact of technology, its negative effects and how women and girls could use technology to their benefits.
The Hon. Regional Minister in her keynote address congratulated women in the region and the world for their tremendous work to create positive impact to aid national development. She mentioned that Ghana has therefore made significant progress in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment over the years, and has implemented several policies and initiatives to promote gender equality. She explained that these policies and initiatives are designed to promote gender equality and empower women in Ghana, and they demonstrate the government’s commitment to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment.
She further stated that the president of the Republic of Ghana his excellency Nana Akufo Addo who also doubles as the AU chair on gender equality is so passionate about gender issues and therefore taking practical steps to ensure gender equality and the empowerment of women. He is doing so by first of all availing himself to chair the AU gender equality committee, appointing women to serve in this government.
She reiterated that Ghana has therefore made significant progress in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment over the years such as:
- Ghana’s National Gender Policy 2015: This policy aims to promote gender equality by mainstreaming gender in all aspects of national development, including education, health, governance, and employment.
- Affirmative Action guidelines: Ghana has implemented a quota system to increase the representation of women in political and decision-making positions. The Affirmative Action policy mandates that political parties reserve 30% of their nominations for women in both national and local elections.
- Domestic Violence Act 2007: The Domestic Violence Act criminalizes domestic violence and protects victims of domestic abuse.
- Free Senior High School Policy: This policy aims to ensure that girls have equal access to education by providing free education for all students up to the senior high school level.
- Maternity Leave Policy: Ghana’s maternity leave policy grants female employees 14 weeks of maternity leave with full pay to support women’s health and well-being and promote the bonding between mother and child.
- National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security: The National Action Plan aims to promote the role of women in conflict prevention, resolution, and post-conflict reconstruction, including increasing women’s participation in peace-building initiatives.
She ended her speech by encouraging women to do more for themselves despite the challenges they face.
SHORT PRESENTATION ON UNPAID CARE WORK
The Regional Director of Gender gave a short presentation on unpaid care work and she stated that unpaid care work is one of the most essential activities that see to the survival and development of society but the burden of this work is usually tilted towards women thereby making it difficult for them to have time to explore other ventures that could develop and support them financially.
She further explained that when women are freed from some of the responsibilities at home and in the community, they will be able to take on income-generating work, such as livestock-rearing or entrepreneurial activities which will bring them income to enhance their livelihood.
In conclusion, she stated that the sensitization on the recognition, redistribution and reduction of unpaid care is widespread in many rural communities. The outcome is increased people’s understanding on issues of unpaid care work and many men in the communities are supporting women by taking some roles at home to reduce their burden. School children are now taking up roles at schools and at home which were preserve for women and girls previously and therefore encouraging everyone present here today to join the campaign on unpaid care work.
OUTCOME OF THE COOKING CONTEST
At the end of the cooking competition, GPRTU emerged as the winner with their fufu and nkatekonto soup. Second was GJA with their Banku and Okro stew, Ghana Immigration service was ranked third with their rice and corned beef stew, SDA Church was ranked fourth position with their nuhuu and Ghana Education Service came out last with their jollof rice and beef.
The celebration afforded the Department of Gender the opportunity to engage men in a cooking competition. This was aimed at drumming home the message of unpaid care work and seeking the support of men in performing unpaid care work at home. Various men’s groups were selected to prepare their preferred dishes.