Wednesday 8th March marked International Women’s Day. Women across the world came together to celebrate and rally for equal treatment and representation.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was “DigitALL: Innovations and Technology for Gender Equality”. The theme highlighted on growing digital gender gap that is impacting everything from job opportunities for women and their safety online.
In this regard, the St Francis College of Education (FRANCO) and The Fred N. Binka School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Science (UHAS), teamed up to mark the day glamorously. Other institutions such as the Nursing and Midwifery Training School (NMTS) and the Volta Regional Hospital – Ghana Health Service and the Bank of Ghana also supported the celebration.
In an interview on Heritage FM in the early hours of 8th March, Dr Adwoa Kwegyiriba, Principal of St Francis College of Education encouraged women to take advantage of the era of digitalisation to improve their status and progress in their careers. She also cautioned young ladies to use social media appropriately and not to expose their precious bodies as valuable women through the use of technology. In addition, she admonished women not to be arrogant at home but instead, discuss their schedules with their husbands for needed support.
To mark the day, women from the two institutions had a float on the principal streets of Hohoe that preceded a symposium held at the Franco Auditorium. Present at the event were members from various institutions, namely, FRANCO, The Fred N Binka School of Public Health – UHAS, Nursing and Midwifery Training School, Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service, officials from the Bank of Ghana, Market Women, Queen Mothers and women from the Islamic Community.
Panelists shared their views on “Leveraging Technology to Improve Women’s Access to Education and Career Advancement; the Impact of Mobile Money as an Example of Technology for Everyday People”.
Madam Faustina Dofui Desenu, a Tutor at Nursing and Midwifery Training School, Hohoe, indicated that children must be introduced to technology and its rightful usage right from home and parents must have the responsibility to monitor them. According to her, although the use of technology in teaching and learning has been beneficial, internet accessibility remains a challenge.
Dr Joy Der, Lecturer, UHAS, echoed the need for support and encouragement for women to strive in their various fields. “Women must leverage on simple technologies such as Google calendars, and WhatsApp, to make work easier and simpler”, she added.
Madam Iddrisu Mujanatu, a trader indicated the benefits she had derived from digital platforms such as mobile money, WhatsApp, and the like. She added that she displayed her products on WhatsApp status and that won her a lot of customers and on the other hand, saved her a lot of time, energy, and cost.
Mama Dzitri II, Vice President of the Hohoe Municipal Council of Queen Mothers, on her part underscored the fact that digital platforms have enhanced the patronage of their goods and services. She urged the various network service providers to intensify education on the activities of fraudsters to ensure safety, especially for women.
Touching on the downside of the digital platform, Dr. Forgive Awo Norvivor, Lecturer at the School of Public Health – UHAS, indicated that the inability of the customers to physically interact with the seller and also the delay in the delivery of goods when ordered were of great concern.
The Gender Champion of St Francis College of Education admonished students to rather use technology appropriately. She was of the view that many unfruitful hours spent on the mobile phone should be avoided. She, therefore, cautioned students to beware of their eyes in spending too many hours on their cell phones and also be cautious of their posture when attending to their phones.
Dr. Mary Ama Ampomah, lecturer, and counselor at the School of Public Health – UHAS and co-ordinator of the joint collaboration was grateful for the massive attendance and support by the various collaborators and sponsors.
The event was chaired by Ms. Janet Valaria Datsa Agbotse, the Hohoe Municipal Director of Education. She applauded men who have been supportive in the course of women.
The UN has underscored the low patronage of women in technological advancement. According to the UN, 259 million fewer women have access to the internet than men, and women are largely underrepresented in Science Technology engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions. Dr. Adwoa Kwegyiriba, in her attempt to arrest the problem of low female participation in STEM professions, has formed the Ladies in STEM movement in the College to encourage more females to embrace STEM-related courses.
(PRO, ST FRANCIS COLLEGE OF EDUCATION)