Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has told a high-level Africa Caribbean summit in Barbados how the Akufo-Addo government has been implementing policies to address the issues of gender inequality in Ghana.
Addressing gender inequality from an African perspective was one of the topics discussed during an interactive session of the summit, and responding to a question on how African governments are dealing with it, Dr Bawumia took his audience through a number of policies and interventions, which he said were aimed at bridging the gap between males and females in many aspects of life.
Bawumia focused on education, health and using technology to achieve gender parity in financial inclusion.
“In Ghana close to about 52% of the population is female and so that is the majority population.
“Historically the issue has been exclusion, and if you are going to get the type of development that is required, you definitely need inclusion and therefore you need to create gender equality,” Bawumia said.
He added: “The vehicles we are using in Ghana for example, in creating gender equality is in the area of education. One of the things that we saw was the high levels of drop outs in females when you get to the secondary level.
“And usually when you get to the cost of secondary education, many parents are unwilling or unable to bear the cost of that education and usually the females tended to suffer in the choice matrix of which of your children should go to school.
“So, when we came into office in 2017, we instituted a policy of free senior secondary education for all. We have done that since 2017 and it has just been remarkable. You’ve had hundreds of thousands of children who otherwise would not have had senior high school education now enrolled.”
“What is now important in this context is that now you have more girl enrollees than boys. So, whereas you had inequality or gender inequality in the school mix before, we now have virtual parity between boys and girls in secondary school enrollment and that is more important in trying to create more gender parity in the society,” Bawumia said.
“Recently one of our girls’ schools won a world robotic competition, beating countries like Germany, South Korea, the United States and we think that part of this is just the opportunity to learn because some of those girls, without the free senior high school opportunity, would not have had all of that.
“Another area of getting inclusion is the financial inclusion. When you look at the data, you tended to see that most of the people who did not have access to bank accounts were females. So, what we have done is, because most of them have mobile phones, is to introduce mobile money interoperability which makes the mobile money account interoperable with a bank account so with that interoperability most people now, about 90% of the population now have access to bank accounts.
“And you have the whole area of maternal mortality and how you will bring down cases, especially in the rural areas by making sure that mothers who are giving birth have access to critical blood supplies during birth. Ghana, following Rwanda, has introduced drones to deliver medical supplies, vaccines to remote areas and today Ghana has the world’s largest medical drone delivery.”
He continued: “Most people don’t know that but that is where we are. We have about six drone centres and each day, you have about 100 flights from each of the centres and each flight is saving a life and that is what you’ll see in Ghana.
“This tells us that Africa and the Caribbean can be in the lead when it comes to the technologies because we don’t have legacy systems and therefore we can leapfrog in many areas and this is one area I think we can all work on. I think that the more we use technology to build an inclusive society, the more gender parity we create and that is how we should proceed.”