Women Revolutionizing Africa
The Women revolutionizing Africa.
The Global Women Economic and Social Empowerment Summit 2018
SPEECH DELIVERED BY HON. CECILIA ABENA DAPAAH, MINISTER FOR AVIATION ON BEHALF OF THE FIRST LADY OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA, H.E. MRS. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO AS THE SPECIAL GUEST OF HONOUR AT THE GLOBAL WOMEN ECONOMIC & SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT SUMMIT (GWSES) 2018 ON WEDNESDAY, 4TH JULY, 2018 AT THE LABADI BEACH HOTEL, ACCRA, GHANA
Your Excellency Mrs. Patricia Beneby Minnis, The First Lady of the Bahamas
Your Excellency Mrs Fatima Jabbe Maada-Bio, First Lady of Sierra Leone
Honourable Ministers of State
Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corps
Organizers, patrons, sponsors and participants of GWESES 2018
Distinguished Invited Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am delighted to be part of this gathering of distinguished and accomplished women to discuss the economic and social empowerment of women.
In most countries, at least 50% of the population is female and yet, constitute the most unemployed or underemployed and poorest segment of society. This means, women are an untapped resource, especially in many developing countries, where the problems of gender inequality are more predominant. The result of this negative phenomenon, for a country like Ghana, is lost potential.
We all know that the economic empowerment of women is essential for the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals. It is for this reason that summits such as today’s as well as actions to improve the economic and social status of women must become a critical agenda for us all. Women have the potential to change their own economic status and that of the communities and countries they live in. When women fully participate in both economic and social development, it leads to healthier families, better educated children, improved family incomes and a better society. Indeed, women add value to life.
The World Bank clearly states that, the achievement of gender equality and the UN Sustainable Development Goals will not be possible without women’s economic empowerment.
The reality is that there are enormous benefits when women become both economically and socially empowered. Accordingtoa 2010 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report, investments in gender equality yield the highest returns of all development investments. Women usually invest a higher proportion of their earnings in their families and communities than men. Some studies show that the likelihood of a child’s survival increased by 20% when the mother controlled household income.
When we empower women, we allow increased participation of women in economic decision-making, thereby increasing women’s access to economic resources and opportunities including jobs, financial services, property, skills development and market information.
Again, for some women, entrepreneurship provides the best way to be economically empowered. It gives themflexibility and convenience especially when raising families. The use of technology resources for business development and growth is an added bonus for women entrepreneurs. And I hope this forms part of your conference discussions.
I know achieving women’s economic empowerment is not a quick fix. It will take sound policies and long-term commitment from all stakeholders in development.We need to start by integrating gender-specific perspectives at the design stage of policies and programmes. Women should have more equitable access to assets, land, water, technology, innovation, credit, banking and financial services.Employment opportunities need to be enhanced for women who face barriers.
The work you do at the Global Women Economic & Social Empowerment Summit is very important. We have women in various businesses; some are hugely successful and others are struggling. I trust that you recognize and strategically address the diverse needs of the women you work with.
Although mentorship has always been part of our tradition as Ghanaians and Africans, it is ironic that others think mentorship is a new concept. Indeed, older women have always mentored younger women in social behaviour, entrepreneurship etc. Perhaps, the only difference is the approach. We are in a global world dealing with new technologies and more complex social and economic relations. I am therefore happy that you have a deliberate mentorship programme to raise the next generation of women leaders and entrepreneurs.
Greater gender equality boosts economic growth and leads to better development outcomes. Gender equality is one of the 17 global UN Sustainable Development Goals, which provide a roadmap for ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
Finally, I wish to urge you to continue inspiring women to set up and grow their businesses or social enterprises. They should strive for leadership positions in order to effect changes in our socio-economic structure.Women and girls should know that help is available. Women and girls should use their voices to influence and advocate for empowerment to be at the centre of our economic development policy and strategy.
A nation is only as strong as the sum total of the strength of all citizens. That is the only way to a progressive equitable society.
I wish you fruitful deliberations. Thank you.