Educate girls to decide who she spends her life with – First Lady

The First Lady has charged parents to give their girl child the best of education to enable them to have a better life and take decisions regarding their lives in the future.

Rebecca Akufo-Addo said, education is a catalyst for the development of the individual and the nation and the longer a girl stays in school, the longer she delays early marriage and childbirth.

Calling for an end to child marriage, she said, “even though UNICEF studies indicate a global declining trend in child marriages, we are still far from complete eradication.”

“Why? Because education makes girls heard. Education allows girls to be seen. It gives them a voice to shape their future. It gives that child the voice to say ‘No I should determine who I spend my life with’.”

Speaking at an event to mark International Women’s Day in Accra, she said some of the most developed countries have managed to achieve gender parity.

“This has been possible because of education and ensuring girls, as well as boys, develop to their full potential. It is in Ghana’s interest to ensure both girls and boys develop to their full potential.

“We must, therefore, take deliberate steps to do what others have done. We have the policies, we have the laws. We have the knowledge and we have the tools. It is time to act,” she said.

Mrs Akufo-Addo said it is a day on which, women take a critical look at the barriers that impede their progress, the strides made so far and what more needs to be done.

The First Lady said in keeping with last year’s theme “Be bold for change” which pledged to take bold initiatives to ensure gender parity, The Rebecca Foundation, has started a Women’s Empowerment programme called Telema.

“So far we have equipped 200 women in the Eastern and Northern Regions with skills to improve their businesses and their family income.

“Again, we know access to quality healthcare for women, supports gender parity. In response to this, the Rebecca Foundation has built a new and modern Mother and Baby Unit and a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit for Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and refurbished a facility for Abam Krom in the Central Region.”

Mrs Akufo-Addo who said she wants her grandchildren to live in a “Ghana where we have gender parity” also spoke about how the Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation constructed a CHPs compound at Nanshegu in the Northern Region.

She also mentioned the start of the ‘Reducing malaria and malnutrition in Priority Populations’ to improve nutrition outcomes for pregnant women and children.

Other women who have gone out of their way to make good their pledge to support gender parity, were lauded for their spirited efforts at helping other women.

These included women teachers, legal practitioners, authors among others.

The First Lady disclosed how the 2018 International Women’s Day theme, ‘Press for Progress’ “speaks to something deep within me.”

“For me, it means that we move in spite of the obstacles. That we push forward in spite of the resistance. It means we do not allow anything to stop us.