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Ghana scores high in study of gender in labour markets

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A  World Bank study titled Gender Disparities in Africa’s Labour Market,has shown that Ghana is among countries in Africa with a high percentage of women participating in the labour market. Ghana is rated as one of the countries having recorded 80% and above participation of women in the labour force.

Furthermore, Ghana is cited by the study as having the highest ratio of average female-to-male weekly labour income of 79 percent. The lowest ratio is 23 percent in Burkina Faso.

The study which has been published in a book, said that gender disparities were still a concern in Africa’s labour market.

Ewa Filipiak, project manager at Agence Française de Développement, and co-editor of the book is quoted as saying that “…women’s access to jobs is essential to the fight against poverty and reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), not just because of the direct contribution gainfully employed women make to the household, but also because it has been shown that well-paid jobs empower them to redirect spending on essential needs, notably in favor of children’s health and education.”

The study analysis household survey data collected in the early 2000 households in 18 countries across Africa, looking into gender dimensions in employment, unemployment, pay gap, as well as the role of educational attainment.

The countries studies are Burkina Faso, Burundi, Côte d Ivoire, Cameroon, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Zambia.

In pursuant of the MDGs with regards to promoting gender parity Ghana has instituted scholarship schemes for needy girls , the provision of food rations for females  and the rehabilitation of senior secondary school facilities including the construction of female dormitories to encourage female participation at that level.

The state also provides stationery, uniforms and protective clothing to needy pupils especially girls to improve gender parity at the basic school level. Among other things gender-friendly toilet facilities have been constructed in schools and take-home ration for girls in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions of the country have been instituted.

But the country however, has suffered a setback in the promotion of women’s participation in decision-making

According to the 2008 MDG report for Ghana , the progress towards increasing the number of women in public life suffered a setback with the reduction of the number of women elected into Parliament during the 2008 elections. The number of women MPs fell from 25 to 20 reducing the proportion to below 10%. This puts Ghana under the international average of 13%. Specific affirmative action programmes are required to reverse this trend.  Furthermore, looking at the proportion of women in administrative and political leadership a declining trend is observed, the report added.

Meanwhile, to ensure gender equality, an annual investment spending of $9.6 million was allocated in the GPRS II, whereas under the Millennium Project an annual investment spending of about $51 million was estimated over the period 2005-2015.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi & Dode Seidu

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