The Greater Accra Regional office of the Department of Gender with support from The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Canadian Government has organized a workshop to educate men and boys in the Accra Metropolis on Gender Equality and Sexual Reproductive Health Right (SRHR).
The training which was organised on Thursday at the Freeman Methodist Church in Gamashie was targeted to help address the challenges males face concerning gender and reproductive health among others.
The Acting Greater Accra Regional Director for Gender, Matilda Banfro in an address said, " Gender equality is a human right and developmental issue that include the guarantee of universal access to sexual and reproductive health and human rights for all. Gender equality is not just ‘a women issue’. Men and women must work together to end human rights violations and inequalities among men and women and girls and boys."
She stressed the need for such dialogues which were aimed at engaging leaders, members of the identifiable categories of men and boys to understand their role in achieving gender equality and national development.
The Acting Regional Gender Director further added that " Men have critical roles to play in bridging the gender inequality gap which includes issues on sexual reproductive health and rights. Yet too often, men are an untapped resource in such gender initiatives. To bridge this gap, there is a need to engage and sensitize men and boys to be change agents in ending gender inequalities and from sexual reproductive health and rights.”
“It is critical to understand men's role and responsibilities in working towards the gender-equitable world. Men must be reached and included so that interventions for women and girls are not derailed by male resistance”, she pointed out.
Juliana Abbeyquaye, a resource person, explained that Gender was a social construct and differs from society to society and changes over time. She went on to discuss the difference between Sex and Gender.
“Gender Equality is a form of social division relating to varying amount of power, resources and opportunities between men and women, where one group becomes more socially privileged than the other. These inequalities affect their status in all areas of life in society., whether public or private, in the family or the Labour market, in economic or private life, in power and decision making as well as in social gender relations”, she averred.
"We are telling them that gender is about roles and when it is gender, it can be changed so if there is some part of the roles that we are playing that will not help us, then we have to change it and that is why we are here to educate them," she said.
The Assemblyman for Bubui Electoral Area, David Abalo on behalf of the participants, expressed appreciation for the enlightenment on the need for gender equality and urged all men to change their mindset towards providing support to their wives.
"We have been enlightened. Formerly there were certain things we thought only females are supposed to do. Like washing utensils and cooking, today we have come to know that we are supposed to be helping them," he said.
The participants which were made up of a representation of both Christian and Muslim faith, youth groups, students, traditional leaders and assemblymen were drawn from communities such as Mamprobi, Chorkor, Jamestown, Korle Gonno and Kaneshie among others were also provided education on Sexual Reproductive Health and rights by a Health professional.