An advocate for Women in Leadership, Miss Margaret Mwintuur Derry has called on all women in leadership positions to intensify the campaign against Child marriage in the country.
According to her, the statistics about child marriage still looks gloomy despite efforts from Government, local and international agencies to end the practice, adding that, the fight against child marriage needs the support of all and sundry especially women themselves.
All over the world, 22 million girls are already married and it is estimated that up to another 280 million are at risk of becoming brides before they turn 18. The total number of women married in childhood is 700 million, and every year an additional 15 million girls under age 18 are married.
In Ghana, 1 in 4 women (27%) married before the age of 18 (MICS, 2011). Child Marriage has increased nationwide from 25.9% in 2006 to 27% in 2011. The Upper East region has the highest child marriage rate (39.2%), followed by Western region (36.7) and Upper West region (36.3%). Between 2006 and 2011, the following regions have seen considerable increase in prevalence: Easter Region (+ 6.6%), Central Region (+8.3%) and Western Region (+ 9.3%). This shows how child marriage is no longer only a “problem of the North of Ghana”
Miss Margret urged women and the society in general to oppose all forms of early marriages in order to ensure that the girl child is given the opportunity to stay in school to attain maturity required to ease growth and development of the country.
Miss Mwintuur Derry who was speaking to women caucus of the Ghana National Union of Technical Students at its annual Delegates conference held in Tamale, called on women in all educational front and leadership to intensify the education on various issues that affects women development.
She said, women who are in enviable leadership positions in various endeavors should not be seen only as role models but must be seen in working hard for others to emulate their examples.
The Women in Leadership advocate noted that, women constitute over 49% in the world’s population and over 50.2% of the Ghanaian population and as such they had to ensure a global balance by playing leadership roles which in the long run will create a fairer world.
“Fellow women we need to work together providing support for ourselves, our families and the society in general by discouraging early marriages and ensuring the girl child stays in school to attain the maturity that is required to push our country forward particularly at this time that government is supporting free Senior High School education” she advised.
She added however that though the percentage of women in the talent pipeline has gradually increased over the last 3 decades, there are still large gender gaps that needs to be bridged by the female generation.
Miss Margaret also encouraged ladies of the GNUTS to fill in the gaps in tech areas in order to improve the ratio women to men in that area.
“Even though the percentage of wen in the talent pipeline has steadily increased over the last 3 decades, there are still large gender gaps from entry-level right through to top-executive positions. In tech, women hold only 30% of the entry-level roles and approximately 7% of private tech company boards are made up of women. We need to persevere and make strides and not to compete but create a niche due to our uniqueness. I therefore encourage ladies of GNUTS to fill the gap in tech areas so as to improve the above statistic”
Miss Derry therefore made a call on GNUTS Women caucus to support the kick against child marriage in the society to enable young girls to mature academically so as to aid them contribute their quota to the development of the country.