The United States (U.S.) Embassy in Ghana, in partnership with Mobile Web Ghana, a technology hub, on Tuesday, hosted an interactive workshop on the theme: “Understanding the Rights of Women and Girls”.
The workshop is part of the activities to commemorate the U. S. Government’s observation of the 16-Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV), which is a global event spanning from November 25 to December 10, 2018.
The event convened more than 50 stakeholders from civil society organisations, law enforcement agencies and diplomatic missions, to discuss ways in which gender-based violence posed pervasive barriers to women’s empowerment and economic growth.
Mr Christopher J. Lamora, the Charge d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy, who opened the workshop, spoke about the harmful consequences of gender-based violence, saying, it served as a primitive barrier to women’s empowerment and economic growth.
He indicated that whether domestic or intimate partner violence, street harassment and violence in public spaces, or sexual harassment in the work place, they all had direct negative impact on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
He further noted that settings that permitted such violence or harassment did not only discourage women from work, but also result in emotional or other physical trauma that rendered women less likely to go to work, hence reducing productivity levels of the economy.
Mr Lamora highlighted on the important role that women played in the socio-economic development pace globally, and stressed that when women are “safe at work”, and realising their full potentials, it would generate positive dividend for society as a whole.
He said there was currently growing global consensus on women’s economic empowerment as a force multiplier for good governance, economic growth, and poverty eradication.
“We all know that gender-based violence is a global challenge that crosses boarders and cultures. Preventing and responding to violence against women and girls requires all of us to take action,” calling on governments, individuals, the private sector and civil society, to take immediate action through strengthened advocacy.
This was to help deepen the public’s understanding of the rights of women and girls in order to promote gender equality and advance the status of women and girls globally.
Mr Lamora said with this in mind, the U. S. Embassy was supporting economic empowerment of women through channels including the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programmes, and also for law enforcement responses in cases of gender-based violence.
He said through the West Africa Regional Training Centre, the U. S has provided training to Ghanaian Police Officers on responding to domestic violence and other sexual and gender-based violence, leadership training for women in law enforcement, as well as learning platforms for both women and young girls.
“Yet educating young girls is only effective if we also make boys and men to embrace gender equality and reject traditions and norms that oppress girls and women. Empowered women need the support and advocacy of men for real change to occur,” he said.
Ms Florence Toffa, the Chief Executive Officer of Mobile Web Ghana, said her outfit had since 2010 been supporting this course by providing space for technology entrepreneurs.
She said Mobile Web Ghana has been providing training in web design, mobile application development as well as mobile technology for the youth and women in mobile entrepreneurships.