Gender Mainstreaming Directorate Celebrates 2021 International Women’s Day

The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW) in partnership with the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) and the Graduate Students’ Association of Ghana (GRASAG), UEW branch has organised a summit to mark the International Women’s Day celebration.

The programme, which took place at the Jophus Anamuah-Mensah Conference Centre, was held under the theme “Choose to Challenge Women Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 World”. International Women’s Day is observed annually on 8th March. It is set aside to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about women’s equality and lobby for accelerated gender parity.

The Director of Quality Assurance, UEW, Prof. Emmanuel Obed Acquah, delivering the welcome address on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Prof. Anthony Afful-Broni, expressed elation on seeing a platform of that magnitude created for women, especially the frontline workers during this pandemic.

Mrs. Mabel Judith Micah (left) and Prof. Emmanuel Obed Acquah (right)

“The Management of the school feels that it is an opportunity to acknowledge the economic, political and socio-cultural achievement of women in the University as well. The celebration also created an opportunity to reflect on the progress made by women over the years. The majority of frontline workers in the health sector who are women have played their role to control and manage the escalation of cases of coronavirus infections. Women have worked assiduously putting their lives at risk to ensure that humanity is rebirthed to life,” Prof. Acquah noted.

The Director of Ghana Education Service, Effutu Municipal, Mrs. Mabel Judith Micah, who was a special guest, appealed to all stakeholders to join the District Education Directorate to support their efforts to provide equal access to both the boy and girl child to ensure a conducive environment for learning to remove all forms of abuse and discrimination against the girl child.

Addressing the audience on the topic “Choosing to Challenge Women to Assume the Leadership Space: The Five Traits of Need”, the Ag. Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Andy Ofori-Birikorang, indicated that women who wanted to be gender activists or advocates needed to cultivate some traits from the environment, “if you don’t do that, you will never progress and women will continue to be marginalized”.

“As a woman, if you really want to transform the society, you need to cultivate these five traits, and that is, women need conscientisation and empowerment; women should become positive deviants or subversionists; women should undertake gender ‘Da’wa or Evangelism’ and should assert their position as the Natural Leader,” he said.

From left,  Prof. Andy Ofori-Birikorang, Prof. (Mrs.) Ruby Hanson and Ms. Dinah Adiko

Prof. Ofori-Birikorang encouraged women to out-rightly reject any form of marginalisation, gather confidence and feel comfortable in public debate, never allow their voices to be muted and also support other women to defy social norms and patriarchal constructions.

Prof. (Mrs.) Ruby Hanson, the Dean of Faculty of Science Education, spoke on the topic “Women in Leadership: Overcoming Biases and Stereotypes. She advised the audience not to categorise and judge individuals or groups based on race, gender, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities and age. She averred, “as women, we need to be active bystanders (in the case of others) and involve ourselves subtly and also take a moment to feel defensive as needed, but answer positively.”

Gender Expert, Ms. Dinah Adiko of Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL), enlightened the audience to call-out sexual harassment in the lecture rooms and halls of residence. She urged participants particularly to avoid unnecessary nicknames such as sweetie, baby, girlfriend and also unwanted touching, pinching, massaging, dancing, hugging or brushing up against a person’s body because they are all forms of sexual harassment.

“Any member of the University community who believes that he or she has been a victim of sexual harassment in violation of this policy is entitled to pursue the matter and utilise the procedures prescribed under this policy for redress and that the complainant shall not be reprimanded, retaliated or discriminated against in any way for initiating an inquiry or complaint in good faith,” she indicated.

Present to support the event were the Dean, Faculty of Foreign Languages Education and Communication, Dr. Christian Hammond; Director, Office for Institutional Advancement (OIA), Dr. Mavis Amo Mensah; GRASAG-National President, Ms. Heartwill Tamakloe; Director, Health Services, UEW, Dr. Beth Offei-Awuku; and Ag. Director, Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, Ms. Eva Annan.