The Association of Women in the Media (ASWIM) has appealed to the Government of Ghana to invest more in science and technology to improve women access to the digital world.
In a statement signed by it’s President, Mavis Kitcher, to mark the International Women’s Day, the Association said expansion in science and technology is the best way forward for the country.
“Ghana needs to leapfrog its economic development with huge investments in Science, Innovation and Digital Technology and the only way to maximise the national potential is to use equity interventions to balance the participation of women and girls…,” portions of a statement from the Association read.
The association further mentioned that government will do the female gender lots of good if it strives to ensure equity in acess to science and technology for both sexes especially at a time when statistics indicate that men are “21 percent more likely to be online than women, and in the tech industry, men outnumber women two to one. The ratio is even worse, being – five to one – in Artificial Intelligence.”
“Equity interventions, ASWIM believes, should be pursued over those of equal opportunities, to create fairness for girls and women in STEM school enrolment, capacity building programmes, incubation and start ups of businesses and access to financing in this space…,” it said.
Below is the full statement from ASWIM to mark 2023 IWD:
As we mark this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) today, the Association of Women in the Media (ASWIM) is happy to celebrate Ghanaian women for their immense contribution towards achieving an inclusive society in our nation’s quest to attain sustainable national development.
In the fields of Politics, Governance, Science and Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, Media, Medicine, Economics and more, women continue to brave the odds to make their contributions count for the building of a democratic and progressive society.
Nonetheless, the challenges women have to surmount in doing so are frustrating many and limiting the development of their potentials, thus making the nation poorer in varied fields.
Many continue to suffer violence, sexual abuse, gender pay gaps, career growths and restrictive reproductive rights, cultural obstacles and biases, financial exclusion, limited access to land and safe shelter, poor medical care and access to health information, among others, on daily basis.
Although women constitute more than 50 per cent of the population, their representation on policy making bodies is still below 40 per cent, thus denying the nation of the quality interventions and expertise it needs so much to balance its achievements.
Indeed, ASWIM is very concerned about the imminent retrogression in the gains made since gender activism started on March 8, 1857, when female textile workers marched in New York to protest unfair working conditions, if the flame is not rekindled with urgent actions.
It is instructive that the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres has warned in his op-ed to mark the Day that: “…the progress on women’s rights is vanishing before our eyes.”
In addressing the Day’s global theme, “DigitAll: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, he notes that gender-based stereotypes and historical bias exist in Science, Technology and Innovation and thus calls for urgent action to address them.
Globally, men are 21 percent more likely to be online than women, and in the tech industry, men outnumber women two to one. The ratio is even worse, being – five to one – in Artificial Intelligence.
Given the fact that advancement for every nation today is propelled by Science, Innovation and Digital Technology, ASWIM urges the Government to employ strategies based on equity to increase the participation of Ghanaian girls and women in this space to thrive.
Equity interventions, ASWIM believes, should be pursued over those of equal opportunities, to create fairness for girls and women in STEM school enrolment, capacity building programmes, incubation and start ups of businesses and access to financing in this space.
Additionally, ASWIM supports the call of the UN Secretary-General calls for action on online education, removal of systemic barriers and a proactive approach to increase women’s participation and leadership in science and technology to address the imbalance.
While “Equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities; while Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome”.
Ghana needs to leapfrog its economic development with huge investments in Science, Innovation and Digital Technology and the only way to maximise the national potential is to use equity interventions to balance the participation of women and girls.
It is in furtherance of the equity agenda that Ghana has since 2011, pursued the promulgation of the Affirmative Action Law.
The Law seeks to remove the historical low representation of women in all decision-making spaces, while promoting democracy and development through effective participation of all citizens. In addition, it seeks to promote women’s representation to a minimum of 40% in all policy making spaces.
ASWIM, is once again, urging the Government, Parliament and all stakeholders to rededicate to the urgent passing of the Affirmative Action Law, which has been pending more than a decade after it was initiated, to help make women’s contributions count even better for the building of a dynamic and balanced society in the interest of all.
On this momentous occasion, ASWIM affirms that it embraces Equity for the advancement of women and girls’; and wishes all Ghanaian women
“Ayekoo “ for their diverse contributions to sustaining our Motherland.
Mavis Kitcher (Mrs)