Dr Akosua Darkwa, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Sociology, University of Ghana, Legon, who made the observation on Wednesday stated that the findings revealed that commercial production of the country’s oil and gas had depressing repercussion on the ability of women in particular, to access healthcare, accommodation, employment and to live a successful marriage life in the region.
She was speaking at the ongoing 63rd Annual New Year School organized by the Institute of Continuing and Distance Education (ICDE) of the University of Ghana (UG), Legon in Accra.
Speaking on the topic: “The Oil Industry and Gender,” Dr Darkwa observed that housing crisis in Takoradi had implications for single mothers who could hardly afford the high cost of rent extorted by landlords who had, without warning, increased their rent to cash in on expatriates working in the oil sector.
She said the oil sector had resulted in the transformation in sexual relations and the behaviour of some women in the oil city.
Dr Darkwa, who is also a Steering Committee member of the Network for Women’s Rights added that a new type of sexual behaviour she described as “December-May relationships” had emerged, whereby a young Ghanaian girl married an older expatriate for the sake of his wealth.
She stressed that the woman bore the negative brunt of such indiscreet marriage relationship when the man eventually left the country at the end of his contract or failed to bequeath financial resources to their offspring at his demise.
Dr Darkwa noted that sailing restrictions had repercussions on fisher folks who also had to compete with international fleets for their economic survival.
Professor John Gyapong, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, called for equity in educating the boy and girl child for posterity.
Prof Kojo Senah, an anthropologist and lecturer at the Department of Sociology at the University of Ghana, expressed regret that the state had failed, over the years, to use the country’s wealth to equitably provide good and accessible roads, reliable transport system, affordable housing and healthcare and other infrastructure for the citizenry.
Speaking on the topic: “Oil Discovery and Economic and Socio-Cultural Issues,” he warned that human desperados would emerge if the government failed to utilize the oil and gas revenues to reduce poverty and create jobs.
He emphasized that the citizenry could not afford to wait for another of the country’s natural resources to be mined with little developmental impacts to show.
Prof Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Dean of the Faculty of Social Studies at the University, called for the development of spatial plans in the Western Region and the establishment of a dedicated oil port in Takoradi solely for oil-related activities.
He called on oil companies to invest more in permanent structures especially in Sekondi-Takoradi.
Prof Daniel Mireku-Gyimah, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, recommended that fisher folks operating in the Western Region be provided with sea vessels, as a form of compensation so they could fish farther in the sea waters.