Director of the Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS) at the College of Humanities, University of Ghana, Professor Abena D. Oduro, has thrown her weight behind the Progressive Organisation for Women’s Advancement (POWA) to help bridge the gap between men and women when it comes to the occupation leadership roles in the country.

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According to her, the society which we live in has constrained the range of choices available to women and girls, thus limiting their chances of freely airing their views and vision.

She contends that women and girls are mostly on the receiving end abuse and marginalization due to a lackadaisical attitude adopted by society, which seeks to portray females as peripheral figures.

Speaking at the maiden edition of the POWA Forum, Prof Oduro encouraged women to aspire to achieve, venture into politics and assume leadership positions.

“Women are less likely than men to own assets, and when they do own assets, the assets they own are of a lower value on average than men’s,” Prof Oduro remarked.

“Literacy rates among women are lower than among men, and girls spend fewer years in schools than boys. Girls are more likely than boys to be forced into marriage. Women are more likely to be on the receiving end of domestic violence and they are time-burdened because of their social reproduction responsibilities, which is most of the time undervalued and most of the timedivided.

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“Social norms and values constrain the range of choices available to women and girls, thus limiting their opportunities and sometimes their vision and views.”

She added that the CSPS’s collaboration with POWA is geared towards facilitating and improving the well-being of the marginalized in society.

According to her, “it is imperative that the perspectives of women from all walks of life are voiced and listened to”.

She further stated the main reason behind the CSPS’s collaboration with POWA, explaining that the Centre seeks to help the NGO grow and to be able to provide a platform for the voiceless in the country.

“We [at CSPS) expect the forum to indeed provide the space for differing voices and perspectives to be heard. We expect that the forum will be tolerant of diverse views and will be a space where the minority will be listened to,” Prof Danso said.

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“Themissionof POWAincludesempowermentof marginalizedgroups. This is another reason for the collaboration between the Centre for Social Policy Studies and POWA, to achieve an improvement in the well-being of the citizenry of this country.

“No groupshouldbeleftbehind. The CSPS looks forward to a collaboration with POWA that will contribute towards facilitating all other missions and the improvement in the well-being of the marginalized are disempowered.”

The first POWA Forum was held on Tuesday at the British Council in Accra. The programme saw a host of panelists of diversified backgrounds speak on women empowerment and inclusiveness in 21st century politics.

The likes of Rev. Dr Lawrence Tetteh, Nana Oye Lithur, Madam Christine Churcher, Dr Vladimir Antwi-Danso and Prof Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey, an Associate Professor - Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS) were all present at the forum to discuss the various topics on the floor.

POWA, which was founded in 2011 by Victoria Lakshmi Hamah, seeks to encourage women to take up leadership roles and to make national leaders accountable to their responsibility towards women.