Frema Osei Opare, Ghana’s first female Chief of Staff, has revealed that bias against women in the workplace and how to tackle them continue to be a major challenge in the country.
According to her, biases also in the political space among others, remain a challenge, considering the hostile political atmosphere in Ghana. This, she explained, deters most females from participating in the area of politics.
Mrs Opare indicated that in view of the kind of “hostile political atmosphere” experienced, women are less likely to be able to influence government policies. Following this, she urged the younger generation to rise up, taking advantage of the “favourable education policies and other programmes” of the Akufo-Addo government to advance themselves for higher level jobs.
“Bias against women in the workplace and how to tackle it continues to be a major challenge. In Ghana, the majority of women are engaged in informal sector of the economy. As such, they have no steady income and no social security. Even though women and girls carry the majority of care and domestic burden in every part of the country, they are less likely to be employed in the formal sector; and where they are employed, they tend to earn lower wages”.Frema Osei Opare
Mrs Opare intimated that the UNESCO 2020 gender report on Ghana, revealed that the enrolment of girls in senior high school over the years have increased. The free senior high school policy, introduced by President Akufo-Addo, she expressed, have equally enhanced “equality in education opportunities” which relates to the SDG’s that seeks to promote gender equality and empowerment of women.
“However, there’s still great gender disparity in higher levels of education, for example, in subjects relating to science, technology, engineering, mathematics; which we now call STEM”.Frema Osei Opare
Bridging the gap in gender inequality
Speaking on this year’s theme on the celebration of international women’s day, dubbed: ‘Breaking the bias’, Mrs Opare expressed her profound gratitude to Her Excellency, the First Lady of the republic, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo. She noted that this year’s celebration is aimed at reflecting on breaking biases and inequalities that prevents women from achieving their full potentials.
The Chief of Staff indicated that research has shown that women have enormous impact on the wellbeing of their families and societies. That notwithstanding, Mrs Opare expressed that their potential is sometimes not realized because of “discriminatory social norms”, incentives and legal frameworks.
“Although the status of most women has improved in recent decades, gender biases persists in many parts of our country. It is worthy of note that attaining our rightful place as female gender, certainly does not happen automatically. A clarion call for all women to join hands through a renewed energy and to pursue equality together, is therefore, very timely. Successive governments in Ghana have mainstreamed various intervention towards gender equality. For instance, education is one of the most important aspect of human development. Eliminating gender disparity at all levels of education will help to increase the status and capabilities of women”.Frema Osei Opare
Commenting on the global digitalisation drive, Mrs Opare emphasized that as it is being pursued by the government, she hopes the equal gender representation in access to information will allow the quality use of information to advance the lives of individuals in the country.