Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, former Minister of Education has said it was not enough to increase the number of females and professionals in education without creating gender sensitive academic environment for them to thrive.
She believed that creating a gender sensitive academic environment represented a unique way of advancing the course of women through effective mentorship, coaching, sharing of experiences and support.
Prof Opoku Agyemang, a Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) was speaking on the topic “Gender Equality so Far” at a ceremony to mark this year’s International Women’s Day.
The event was organised by the Centre for Research, Advocacy and Documentation (CGRAD) on the theme “I am generation equality: Realizing women’s rights”.
“It is not enough to simply increase the number of females and professionals in education. We need to go beyond the numbers”, she declared.
“A gender sensitive environment is equally needed across all educational institutions and other institutions. When they are inside there and they need support where do they go?, Prof.Opoku Agyemang stated.
According to her, gender remained the most universally entrenched phenomenon due to the persistently low numbers of female in the educational system.
She therefore called for the expansion of institutional and infrastructural capacity for the provision of increased education for female students and professionals with attention to societal norms and policy directives and priorities to help minimise negative practices that were inimical to the progression of women and girls.
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang encouraged women to recognise and support the achievement and success of other women.
She further admonished educated and privileged women to be the voice for the voiceless and faceless women who have been left behind in the drive towards achieving women rights.
“The pitfall of this journey is not to focus on the privileged. Those of us who have voices, we have to use them in their interest. There are many policies that some of us who have voices make that sometimes don’t help the ordinary woman whose voice is not heard. Therefore the power that we have gained by coming this far should be plowed back”, she said.
“We must extend the power that allows us to protect our children to others so they can also protect their own children the same way. Because we cannot continue to fail, we fail ourselves when we fail to take action”, she added.
Prof Opoku Agyemang expressed disgust about the increasing numbers of child marriages and urged the authorities to consider the social profile of child marriage saying “if poverty is the reason, let us invest in ways that alleviate poverty and create hope in the future in sustainable ways”.
Later during a panelists discussions on “Gender equality in UCC: experiences, challenges and successes thus far” they unanimously called on women to be bold and voice out any form of sexual harassment that they faced.