Graphic Business News

True gender equality is when both men and women have a voice

By: Bernard Kuhorfah

Equality of the sexes, is to have equal access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender in terms of decision making and economic participants, values different behavior and aspiration in irrespective of one’s gender.

Gender inequality is seen around us always in our homes, schools, workplace and even among peers. Unequal responsibility for professional growth to care for the vulnerable children and families they serve.

Gender inequality affects women and girls in terms of education which translate into lack of access to skills and limited opportunities in the labor market. Women’s and girl’s empowerment is important to expand economic growth and promote social development.

Women empowerment in the labor force would add percentage points to most national growth rates.

Fundamental human right

Regardless of where one lives, gender equality is a fundamental human right. Advancing gender equality is critical to all areas of a healthy society, from reducing poverty to promoting the health, education, protection and well-being of boys and girls. Investing in education programs for the girl child will help reduce the canker of early marriages.

A girl can stay in school, and help empower her fellow female classmates to do the same and fight for their right to access sexual and reproductive health services. If you are a woman, you can address unconscious biases and implicit associations that form an unintended and often an invisible barrier to equal opportunity.

If you are a man or a boy, you can work alongside women and boys to achieve gender equality and embrace healthy, respectful relationships. You can fund education campaigns to curb cultural practices like female gender mutilation and change harmful laws that limits the rights of women and girls and prevents them from achieving their full potential.

Women underrepresented

Women are underrepresented in power and decision –making roles. They receive unequal pay for equal work and they continue to be targets of physical and sexual abuse.

They also face legal and other barriers that affects their opportunities at work. Research shows that investing in women and girls can lead to increase in productivity, organizational effectiveness and higher consumer satisfaction.

Breaking the glass ceiling

Breaking the glass ceiling principle is an invisible barrier that prevents some people from rising to higher ranks. These glass ceiling principle prevents the women from reaching the highest ranks in their place of work. In order to break the ‘glass ceiling’ that these barriers form, organizations need to do more to eliminate the obstacles that prevents women from advancing and to foster work environments that allow them to work to achieve their goals.

Some women are sometimes faced with restricted access, limited opportunities and lower compensation which prevents them from gaining promotions or leadership opportunities.

A ritual servitude practice in Ghana, where usually young virgin girls are taken to the shrine to atone for the payment for alleged misdeeds of a family member. Where these young girls become the wives of the gods and even bring forth children for the fetish priest. She would have to be replaced by another virgin girl from the family. This form of ritual servitude is still practiced. “Tro” means a “gods” and “Kosi”- “Slave”. These young girls become the property of the gods, and under no circumstances should the young girl run away or even look at another man where the penalty for the young girl is death.

Also the practice of widowhood rites in Ghana. Where the accused spouse is confined to show proof of her innocence for not killing her deceased husband.

Widowhood rites are performed because of some absurd reasons which includes to put an official end to the marriage and to test the innocence of the living spouse as to whether she killed her better half or not?

It’s not true that women are the only victims; and that men are always the villain in the story. Its bias to always say men are the antagonist whilst the men suffer in secret silence and in pain due to shame.

If a man forces a woman to have sex, its rape, but if a woman force herself on a man for sex its regarded as a cock-and –bull story. What we all consider is the rape from men against women. But there are more sides to this story.

Lots of men are abused by women than you can imagine, but they choose to remain silent due to public shame and mockery.

Muscular and strong

The big question is, who will believe such a story. Men are considered to be muscular and strong but in some cases some women are more than Hercules and Mayweather, turning their husband into punching bags. But these men prefer to remain silent due to stigmatization and ridicules. There is this perceived notion that men in the family are the perpetrators, whiles women and children are the victims.

Therefore, any man who reports abuse case to the police and other institutions is seen as a coward who is unable to take care of his family. These male victims bear the effect of abuse with anguish and bearing the psychological and emotional effects of violence in silence. Which can have a negative effect on their health. Justice deals with men victims fairly; whereas the women are crowned with good fortune. In some cases, these men are asked to leave their homes for the women and children whenever there is a misunderstanding between them. In some instances too, they are to pay an alimony and also lose custody of their children.

Gender equality not always about women

Gender equality is not always about the women. Gender equality is achieved when women and men, girls and boys, have equal rights, life prospects and opportunities, and the power to shape their own lives and contribute to society.

When it comes to discussion about gender equality, it isn’t uncommon for someone in the room to say, “What about the men?” Achieving gender equality has been a challenge because of the underlying belief that giving women more rights and freedom somehow takes right away from men. The reality, however, is that gender equality is good for everyone.  

Gender equality should not just be a fundamental human right, but a necessary tool to create a sustainable development for both men and women. Day in day out these young girls experience physical sex abuse or violence from relatives. They are threatened to remain silent or dance to the tune of their own music.

Every year, countless girls are married out before their 18th birthday to men who are older to be their fathers. We sometimes hear some parents say a girl should get married early and make a family because life short. Child marriage is considered a violation of human rights and a harmful traditional practice affecting more girls than boys, leading to numerous negative health and developmental consequences and limiting the economic and individual empowerment of the girls. Child marriage in Ghana is as a result of gender inequality, poverty, social norms, cultural and traditional practices and also as a result of teenage pregnancy.

Children need rights not rites; protecting the well-being and the dignity of a child is an essential duty of every parents or guardians. Efforts to curb child marriage should be geared towards the retention of girls in school, empowering the girls economically, enrolling them in vocational training institutions and also enforcing laws on child marriage in Ghana. These young girls live with a partner as if married before the age of 18years which creates a form of violence against these girls as it increases their vulnerability to sexual, physical and psychological violence due to the unbalanced power dynamics within marriage.

The major religion in Ghana (Christianity and Islam) encourage early marriage because premarital sex and early child bearing are considered “immoral”.

Gender equity must be enjoyed by both men and women to ensure fairness. Gender equality requires equal enjoyment by women and men of socially –valued goods, opportunities, resources and rewards. Gender equality is linked to sustainable development and is vital to the realization of human rights for all. The overall objective of gender equality is enjoying the same rights, and opportunities. Equality exist when both men and women are able to enjoy the same rights and privileges.