Story by: Ebenezer Kofi Amponsah
Scores of women garthered at the MTN house in Accra to celebrate the World International Women’s Day
The day which was celebrated across the world was also marked in Ghana by the country’s Telecommunication’s giant, MTN with staff and some customers on monday March 9, on the theme “I am Generation Equality: Realizing women’s rights”.
International women’s day which is marked annually on March 8 is a global event that celebrates and support women’s rights, while calling for more gender equality.
Addressing the women, the former Chief justice, Her ladyship Justice Sophia Abena Akuffo first commended the management of MTN for recognising the role of women in the country’s development drive and implementing programmes and policies that are geared towards promoting equality at the the work place.
She emphasised that despite several calls by a large section of society to help bridge the inequality gap that exists between men and women there are still inadequate policies enacted in various Institutions to help reduce the gap.
She said ” we still have a long way to go, if you look at the proportionality in Ghana, for instance, in parliament, corporate life, in decision making at the work place, it tells you there are a lots to be done. Some countries have actually enacted proportions of women that are supposed to be in parliament. We cannot continue to speak about gender equality and have very few practices that are formally geared towards it. Any organisation that fails to strike a balance between males and females is bound to fail. No nation can develop without women”.
According to her, gender equality enhances diversity hence the need for organisations to empower women at the work place especially in decision making in order to improve the socio economic well being of women without any biases.
“Having women at the top impact the work, you strengthen the men where they are weak and strengthen the women where they are also weak. We need to boost each others strength. We work best at supporting each other. Equality is fairness, social cohesion, stability, morality and a moral public good in all areas of life. No matter the scientific advancement, the world needs women in order for us to be progressive”. she added
She therefore asked Institutions especially HR Executives to propose policies aimed at organisations to implemen creating a baseline at the corporate level to address any imbalances between male and female at the work place.
The HR Executive at MTN Ghana, Mrs Ama Benneh Amponsah for her part also said gender equality could improve if organisations put in place work place accomodation practices and policies that are deliberate in addressing the challenge.
“most people in the work places are struggling, when you have very stringent leave policies, maternity, when you don’t have very flexible work options that allows them to take care of their basic needs among others you get them sidelined”.
She therefore appealed to corporate Institutions to develop policies that ” allow women to show up at work, contribute at work, not to be discriminated against and have the same income opportunities and not as house wives taken up household chores while their husbands are at work.
Mrs Benneh Amponsah also called for a concerted effort from both organisations and government in an attempt to address gender imbalances especially in educational Institutions where majority of the youth chart their carreer path.
“It is important from an HR perspective to look at things from the lower level at the right time and get them into the main stream. People choose subjects programmes based on information they see around so eventually the pool of people, talent when they are due for employment tends to be males than females.
This she explained forms part of the “unconscious biases people hold including women which tends to show in their decision making”
She mentioned that, although MTN may not have achieved the optimum on work practices towards gender equality as an organisation, it has consciously put in place policies aimed at striking a balance amongst males and females working as National service persons, interns, Graduate entry jobs among others .
The first observance of Women’s Day on a national level took place in New York on February 28, 1909. It was marked later on March 8 in several countries across the world.