This year’s theme “Inspiring Change” is very strategic and the reason why I strongly believe that investing in women is fundamental to achieving progress in all areas of any nation’s progress. More than ever, we are seeing many women venture into businesses and take up leadership roles.
Today we add our voice to those around the world who are paving the way for others to follow as we celebrate International Women’s day. In the past, we have seen that when a woman prospers, her family and society equally prospers. Put a woman at the helm of affairs and you will see the positive change she brings to any organisation. Women are most concerned with the wellbeing of their families above everything else when they are financially safe or capable.
Every woman has a voice and that voice must be heard all around the world. We stand for peace, prosperity and unity. All we want is to have a healthy relationship with everyone and see our children live to their full potential. Women want to live in unison with men and be able to reason together without feeling inferior to our male counterparts. Whatever we do, it is ultimately to the benefit of men as well as our children and the societies in which we live.
Africa is a promising continent with great potential of setting the pace for others to emulate. We see more women in decision making or leadership roles and we are neither sidelined in the home nor the boardroom. More than ever we are taking up roles that were once upon a time designated to men only; we have first female presidents, first female speakers of parliaments, women pilots etc.
In Ghana currently, we are seeing more and more female entrepreneurs springing up every minute and setting a standard in their various fields of endeavours. There are more women leaders in the financial institutions now than there were five or ten years ago. Also in the once male dominated technological field which was a no-go area for females is now being taking over by women.
Ghana has seen a remarkable improvement in our health sectors regarding maternal and child health. Since the introduction of the National Health Insurance Scheme, established to provide equitable access and financial coverage for basic health care services to its citizens many women are now able to visit health facilities when they are pregnant (antenatal) and after birth (postnatal) and will not be charged for services provided. This means that more women are being saved and babies born alive and healthy. As a country, we have achieved a lot but there is still a lot more to accomplish.
Many women in Ghana are now taking up leadership roles in multinational companies and are challenging the status quo every day. These women are not only leading but they are inspiring the next generation of young females to follow suit. Microsoft recently appointed Ghanaian ICT expert, Otema Yirenkyi as its country manager for Ghana; making her the company’s first female country manager on the continent. In an interview with an online magazine about her new role at Microsoft, Otema said “I think it is an exciting time both in the country and for me and I hope it would help other women pursue careers in technology.”
As a country, we hope to gradually improve on women’s roles at all levels even to presidential levels and as women we continue to play an integral part in inspiring change for what we stand for and believe about equal rights. More and more girls are keen to raise their voice on social issues and are enrolling in tertiary education than before. This is mainly because of what they have learnt from other women like Otema.
Whether home or abroad, Ghanaian women are leaving their mark and this is inspiring the youth especially girls to step up to the challenge. An example of a role model is the CEO of Ghana UK Based Achievement Awards (GUBA); Dentaa Amoateng who has won many awards. She epitomises an ambassador for not only her country but to every Ghanaian woman. She founded GUBA which recognises the achievements of individuals and organisations positively contributing to the Ghanaian community both in the UK and Ghana. Last year she was adjudged the winner of the annual African women in Europe Award and was described as an icon and role model to all African women.
Regina Agyare, a Ghanaian social entrepreneur is passionate about using technology to cause a social change. Her social enterprise, Soronko Solutions uses basic mass technology to drive human potential. She also equips rural children in Ghana with critical thinking skills to solve everyday problems and to fight poverty. An avid coder, she founded the Tech Needs Girls Ghana; a movement to get girls to code and create technology. In her lean In story where she shares her career path and a desire to start her own company, she said ”it took me four years and a lot of sleepless nights to realise that when you have a dream and a desire, it is like an alarm clock goes off inside of you.
Turning the snooze button does not work, as the alarm will go off again. You just have to wake up. ” She is an inspiration to many girls who want to establish their own companies one day and also change lives.
It is no coincidence that a great son of Ghana said “If you educate a man you educate an individual but if you educate a woman you educate a whole nation”- Dr Kwegyir Aggrey. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we call for the inclusion for men and boys in the global conversation on women empowerment. After all, women were formed from the ribs of a man.
By Adwoa Gyimah, @adwoagyimah
Founder & Executive Director of The African Child and Mother
Its aim is to help needy mothers and children by providing them with access to healthcare, water, nutrition and sanitation, education and women empowerment. She is an advocate for children and women.
1. Dentaa is courtesy gubaawards.co.uk
2. Regina Agyare is via reachforchange.org
3. Otema Yirenkyi is courtesy itnewsafrica.com