The government has been entreated to invest more in women’s health and education while providing opportunities for them to get decent work to contribute to the accelerated development of the country.
Speakers at a public forum to commemorate World Population Day (WPD) observed that challenges hindering gender equality still persisted and, therefore, urged all stakeholders to join hands in ensuring women were given the needed support to develop.
The speakers who included the Deputy Country Director of the UN Populations Fund (UNFPA), Dr Emily Namphambo, and the Executive Director of the National Population Council (NPC), Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah, said with about 50 per cent of the country’s population being women, it was imperative their voices were heard, adding that women and children still faced discrimination.
They were speaking at the forum as part of activities to celebrate the WPD in Accra yesterday.
The WPD is commemorated on July 11 annually and focuses attention on the urgency and importance of population issues, including their relations to the environment and human development.
This year’s celebration was on the theme: “Unleashing the power of gender equality to spur national development”.
The event which was organised by the UNFPA had key stakeholders as participants who discussed issues of gender equality and reproductive health.
They also highlighted the need to advance gender equality to help realise the dreams of all eight billion people on the face of the planet.
Dr Emily Namphambo acknowledged that although the country had witnessed some improvements in various sectors such as education and health care, there was still the need to reflect on the prevalence of numerous challenges that still hinder gender equality.
She said the celebration of the day also served as a reminder that the country could achieve a prosperous, peaceful and sustainable future by placing importance on women and their reproductive health.
Dr Namphambo said that gender equality should not only be seen as a social right, but a catalyst for socio-economic growth.
The Deputy Government Statistician, Faustina Frempong-Ainguah, said over 50 per cent of the country’s population were females and that it was imperative to harness their potential.
The Executive Director of the National Population Council (NPC), Dr Leticia Adelaide Appiah, said gender equality and equity in nutrition, education and reproductive health information and services were prerequisite to unlocking the socio-economic development of the country.
She said there was the need to match words with actions by intentionally bridging inequality gaps in all sectors, especially in reproductive health information and services.
“When our reproductive rights and choices are upheld, ensuring optimal growth from conception to adulthood, our population growth will be optimal, our youth will be healthy and equipped with 21st century skills, economic-related migration will decrease and our life expectancy will improve,” Dr Appiah added.
A Director at the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS), Prof. Bawah Ayaga, also urged the government to create policies based on individual choices and reproductive rights to foster resilience in the face of demographic changes.
He predicted that an estimated 7.4 million people would be added to the country’s population in the next nine years.