IEA Premieres Documentary on Women as Economic Actors in Northern Ghana

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The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA Ghana) has premiered a documentary on the economic role of women in the three northern regions of Ghana. The 15-minute documentary, developed from a research carried out by the IEA will be aired on all major television and radio networks with the aim of drawing policy makers’ attention to the needs of the Ghanaian woman in contributing to the national economy.

The video highlights challenges women in the three northern regions face in their quest to be actively involved in all sectors of the economy. Challenges as land acquisition, restricted and or no access to credit or loan facilities from financial institutions, low levels of engagement in political activities, especially at the local level and the balancing of household responsibilities with that of their jobs restrict them from realising their true role as economic actors. A major restriction women faced was the requirement of some financial institutions for women to seek spousal approval or witnessing before approval of credit facilities.

Dr. Rose Mensah-Kutin of ABANTU for Development presented the details of the research conducted in the three northern regions. The research revealed that women in the northern regions of Ghana serve mainly as housewives, while those with formal employment work in the education and health sectors, with others working in offices.

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        Dr. Rose Mensah-Kutin presenting the details of the research

Through focus group discussions, one-on-one interviews and a survey, the research sought the views of 400 women, representing 80%, and 100 men, representing 20%, as respondents. Majority of women in the three regions (40.7%), according to the research, engaged in subsistence farming as a source of livelihood, while 34.5% were into trading with others engaging in cooked food selling (17.1%), manufacturing and commercial farming.

The research however found that regardless of the challenges women faced in their daily economic roles, female ownership of businesses in northern Ghana was very high, compared to that of men.

Post documentary viewing discussions from invited guests called for women-friendly and specific policies which will relax financial packages meant to boost the businesses of women and make women economically viable. The discussion also included calls for the involvement of women in key roles to improve their lives and play active roles in national development. There were calls to actively involve the respective district assemblies to effectively assist in identifying and assisting women economically.

Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana) was represented at the event by James Anquandah, Communications and Mobilisation Manager.