Absa Bank Ghana has made a strong commitment to make Ghanaian women economically and financially empowered in order to bridge the gender gap.
Despite improvements in the development of women, the United Nation’s recent stock taking report still highlights gaps to be closed in achieving full gender equality. It is evident that a great deal of progress has been made in areas such as labour rights, access to reproductive health, domestic violence protection support and women rising to lead multimillion organisations. Despite these strides, female talent is still the least employed in the world and underserved in the financial industry.
Marking this year’s International Women’s Day, Absa Bank Ghana held a women’s dialogue and dinner dubbed “Absa Women’s Night” event in Accra that brought together accomplished Ghanaian women leaders to discuss ways of uplifting women through capacity building skills development programmes, work place support systems and financial resourcing to help bridge the gap.
In her welcome remarks, Mrs Abena Osei-Poku, Managing Director of Absa Bank Ghana Limited, noted that through the success stories of some female pacesetters, the world has seen the transformative power of women; who seize every opportunity to change lives, communities and the world.
“There are still millions of ladies with untapped potential or just needing a nudge. That’s the reason why it isn’t enough to simply talk of equality and empowerment,” said Mrs Osei-Poku.
“At Absa we are an equal opportunities employer and believe in diversity and inclusion; we are ready to challenge the current situation and passionately work at it with our clients and other stakeholders to positively influence our world.
Speaking at the Absa Bank Women’s Night, the Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana Mrs. Elsie Addo Awadzi noted that lack of access to financial resources is a major hinderance to the growth of women in Ghana.
She indicated that women were not applying for more formal financial credit due to the lack of financial literacy and lack of collaterals in order to secure lending.
“We must ensure women are able to access the appropriate forms of financing in order to grow their business. Access to finance is one such key area that needs to be worked on as well as offering technical expertise to assist women in running their business,” Mrs Awadzi told the gathering.
According to the Second Deputy Governor, banks must harness the opportunities presented by today’s technology to make financing easily available to women with formal and informal businesses. “We must encourage women to run profitable, sustainable and inter-generational businesses.”
Mrs. Awadzi applauded Absa’s efforts in nurturing SME clients with customised banking products and capacity building programmes through its SME business clinics.
In a panel discussion made up of Patricia Obo-Nai - CEO of Vodafone Ghana, Ivy Apea Owusu - CEO of Cirrus Oil, Ellen Hagan - Founder of L’aine Services, Angela Dwamena-Aboagye - Executive Director of the Ark Foundation and Natalie Fort - Media Personality, all panelists were of the firm belief that closing the gender gap could increase the size of the country’s GDP hence the need for all to support women, because the woman who is economically empowered is better developed.
Pastor Celia Apeagyei-Collins, Founder of the Rehoboth Foundation encouraged women to be each other’s helper.
Absa Bank Ghana recently signed up to the Bank of Ghana Sustainable Banking Principles and Sector Guidance Notes. Principle Four of the Guidelines encourages the bank to initiate action to promote gender equality both with clients and within its business operations aligned to international best practices of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles.
The Bank will this year launch its new proposition for women, which seeks to boost the economic fortunes of Ghanaian women. The proposition will see the bank roll out tailor-made products and services as well as increase its financial and technical support for women entrepreneurs.
Mrs Abena Osei-Poku, Managing Director of Absa Bank Ghana speaking at the event