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KPN mentorship: Corporate outfits must help break the bias

The panelists said though many strides have over the years been made by women groups there were still more room for improvement

Panelists at the Kwahu Professional Network (KPN) mentorship programme for girls to mark International Women’s Day appealed to authorities and corporate organisations to continue with the fight to break biases against women in the work places.

The panelists said though many strides have over the years been made by women groups there were still more room for improvement to bring women on the same table with men. They added that discrimination against women at work places continue to persist especially at the management level and must be deliberately looked at to help bring women bring their seats at the table of men provided their are qualified.

The programme was held at Kwahu-Nkwatia Senior High School to commemorate the International Women’s Day was on the theme “Breaking the bias today, for a sustainable tomorrow”.

In attendance were over 700 senior high school girls from seven schools on the Kwahu Ridge.

Cynthia Amaning Danquah, a lecturer at the Pharmacology Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), said it is proper to call out bias or discrimination when it happens. She indicated that men must accommodate the ideas of women in boardrooms and not isolate the ideas of women and later present them as theirs.

It is important we call out bias or discrimination when we see it, but it is also important that we hold programmes like these to encourage and empower our young girls to know that they need to work hard to bring themselves to the table and it shouldn’t be that they were put there just because they are women. It should be by merit and they must work hard to get there.

She explained that occupation policies that discriminate against pregnant women and married women must be looked at and eliminated.

“Sometimes as a woman, you are qualified; you have all it takes but at the final decision you would hear things like she is a woman; she may not be able to do it so let it go to the man,”

“I know that in the banking sector, sometimes women are bonded not to get pregnant within the first five years of their career. Why should it be so because you’re a woman? Sometimes women don’t get a job because they go with the notion that she just got married; the next thing is that she would ask for maternity leave so let us not give her the job”

“Also in the boardroom and others, even though the women have good ideas the men will listen and still pretend as if it’s not the best idea and then they will later take these ideas and present it as theirs. So there are still some biases that we need to break,” she explained.

On her part, Lilian Antwiwaa Asante, a legal practitioner and labour expert indicated that there is still more room for improvement to grant nursing mothers flexibilities in their work as well as a review of the maternity leave granted mothers.

“Maternity leave should be looked at. Officially, it’s three months for mothers but various organisations should look at it and design appropriate measures to grant the mothers flexibilities and preferential treatments to help them do their work conductively. Every institution should put in place measures in place to help support women,” he said.

She encouraged young women across the country to remain focused and determine to bring their seats at the table of men to be counted.

“What we are telling the young women of today is that, it is not about what someone thinks about you; it’s not about what society expects you to become. It’s about what you the individual wants to do and what you want to achieve. You don’t listen to naysayers and you must have confidence in yourself. You must find your strength and do what you can do,” she said.

The Vice President of the Kwahu Professionals Network Hestalyna Ottu Sarfo said the KPN Inspires programme for the girls in Senior High Schools on the Kwahu Ridge was to motivate them and present to them some of our members as mentors they should look up to.

“The maiden edition of KPN Inspires is to help our young girls in Senior High School especially on the Kwahu Ridge. The young girls on the Kwahu Ridge have little or no motivation. We have young ladies who are very good; yet we all know that in life you need people to pull you along. They’re not getting that support; so we have taken it upon ourselves that as a professionals group we would ensure that we pull our young ones together by ensuring that periodically we will come and talk to them and also provide mentorship for them,” she said.

John Attafuah

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