The Gender mainstreaming requires that efforts be made to broaden women’s equitable participation at all levels of decision-making. It is with this notion that, the Community Development Unit of the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development organized and trained women in the Municipality to enhance their capabilities in decision making.

                                                         PARTICIPANTS AT THE TRAINING PROGRAM                                                          

The focus of the orientation was on the discussion of training, role of women at home, equalities in current roles and gender interventions, and the participants were 58 in numbers and this comprises of 19 hairdressers/beauticians bfrom Kpone and Bethlehem, 18 women’s fellowship from Assemblies of God and Apostolic, 6 Garment makers and 15 staff Community Unit.

During the training, the discussing was that Gender has been socially constructed and defined to mean male/men and girl/women. And this subsequently has resulted into the classification of the responsibilities that society assigns to boys and girls, men and women in a given culture. It therefore suffices to have roles that are associated with the different gender.

Gender roles have also been socially constructed and differentiated and assigned to the sexes, where girls/women and boys/men are expected to conform and put into practice the roles and behaviors assigned to them. For instance; it is proper for women to cook at home and men cook in restaurants as chefs, women do the household chores and men do the household maintenance. Formally, girls stay at home and boys go school, women care for the children and men discipline the children. More so, it was common to have women as passengers on a commercial vehicle and men as the drivers on a commercial vehicle, women are the secretaries in the offices and men are the bosses in the offices. All these and many more abound as roles that were distinct for male and

                              Participants going through a session

female gender which has culminated into inequalities between both genders.

Under the discussing of equalities current roles, Decision-making gap has been widen and affected, for equal opportunities and development. It is almost always the case, that men are more commonly the heads of the household and the breadwinners of the family. This has often translated into men making the family’s financial and non-financial decisions. In agricultural societies where women often do most of the work, male family members often own the land and make the agricultural decisions. Because of women’s lower bargaining position in the household, their decision-making is often limited and can be confined to childrearing concerns and domestic tasks. Factors that worsen/compound women’s low bargaining positions include large age gaps between husband and wife, which intensify already existing gender inequalities, cultural factors that devalue women’s unpaid work, lower levels of education and economic dependence.

Role of women at home, Women have in some instances been able to find ways of negotiating control over resources and decision making. Women are frequently tasked with budgeting for the household either through resources provided by the husband or through petty trading and agricultural labor. In some cases, women are seen as household financial managers. In other cases, while women may not control the household income, they adopt various strategies to ensure they can access part of these resources. These may include hiding money and lying about expenditures, to ensure that they can pay for food and children’s schooling.

On Gender intervention, Interventions however have been made to explicitly strengthen women’s control over resources, and this has proved to be beneficial. One of such interventions is Gender Mainstreaming. It is a policy that considers the needs and interests of both men and women when making plans and policies, so that men women are treated equally. It is a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the policies and programs of an institution. Gender Mainstreaming ensures that, gender is considered at all times, both within agencies (institutionally) and programs (operationally). As these two are closely interlinked, gender mainstreaming must be implemented both institutionally and operationally to be successful. However, progress with gender mainstreaming remains inconsistent, and often suffers from insufficient commitment, insufficient resource allocation and insufficient understanding of gender issues by all stakeholders/institutions.




Credit: Social Welfare Department