She also expressed great joy to note that a cumulative number of women in Ghana and the world are venturing into and excelling in hitherto male-dominated industries, describing the phenomenon as “inspiring.”
The First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo has observed that gender inequality is a major constraint to economic growth hence every effort is required to support Ghanaian women in their respective places of work, and urged that gender stereotypes, outmoded cultural practices and religious restrictions that hinder the development and empowerment of women should be done away with.
The First Lady said this in a speech read on her behalf by the Minister for Aviation, Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah as the Guest of Honour at the maiden conference of Women in Logistics and Transport-Ghana (WiLAT-Ghana).
The conference which was held under the theme, “Women in Logistics and Transport: An Essential Brick in Nation Building,” was used to honour Ghanaian women role models who have contributed significantly in their various professions to the socio-economic development of the nation.
Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo thus took the opportunity to salute Ghanaian women who are forging ahead with diligence and determination in sectors such as aviation, engineering, mining, oil and gas, construction and transportation.
She said: “I salute all women who are contributing immensely in diverse ways to national development in diverse ways.”
She encouraged other professional women associations to emulate WiLAT and develop policies and programmes geared towards the development of women in order to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls as set under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 5.
The First Lady also gave the assurance that the President, Nana Akufo-Addo who is the recipient of the 2017 AU Gender Award and co-chair of Eminent Advocates for SDGs, is fully committed to the attainment of the SDG Goal 5.
Chairperson for WiLAT-Ghana, Dr. Doreen Owusu-Fianko on her part enumerated that women are not to be seen as competing with other gender partners but rather to be recognized as team players and with support from their male counterparts so as to be able to give their quota for the development of the nation.
She indicated that in order to achieve the objectives of WiLAT which key among them is to develop a high-level strategic network of female members both active and retired, from logistics, transport and supply chain sectors at the national, continental and global levels and promote their career and gender advancement and empowerment, WiLAT’s activities are centered on five strategic thrust of growth.
“These are; Mentorship, Leadership, Empowerment, Entrepreneurship and Corporate Social Responsibility,” she indicated.
Dr. Doreen Owusu-Fianko also pointed out that there are immense opportunities for women in the logistics and transport sector, stressing that women are the best logisticians as the home or family they manage is a basic logistic entity.
“The logistic art or discipline is imbibed in women right from our upbringing as the girl child, as the management of the home or family is usually the preserve of women,” she said, averring that women are involved in logistic decisions at all levels of their lives and therefore require support to enable them contribute their quota to development.
Although she pointed out the many opportunities that exist for women in these sectors, Dr. Doreen Owusu-Fianko also laid before the conference some challenging factors that hinder the growth of women in logistic and transport industry.
According to her, unprofessionalism in the industry and inadequate sustainable programs for capacity building for women groups in the industry serve as a barrier to the development of women capacity in this sector.
“But we take consolation from the fact that there are a number of specific interventions to ensure the sustainable development of women in logistics and transport such as some international Protocols and UN Conventions, National policy framework, legislations, programs, projects and community development plans that will facilitate women advocacy programs to enhance female gender-related development in developing countries,” she added.
The President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT-Ghana), the Parent body of WiLAT-Ghana, Mr. Ebo Hammond commended WiLAT for organizing the conference and appreciated the fact that more women are penetrating at a faster pace through the male-dominated industry.
He pledged CILT’s continuous support for WiLAT and its activities so as to enhance their growth and development.