A research by the Africa Skills Hub (ASH) has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the plight of women more than men.
According to the report, women found it difficult to access social services, restricted access to the market, cost spikes, income losses, and worsened the health and socioeconomic status of women during the pandemic.
While presenting a report on the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and Post-COVID-19 Innovation Forum, Madam Titilope F. Ajayi, the Lead Researcher,
said, “it has worsened women’s health mentally and physiologically.”
The Forum which was on the theme: “Addressing Gender-Based Violence through the rise of Innovations in post-Covid Ghana,” was also part of the learning sharing and advocacy approach on the Women’s Entrepreneurship and livelihoods Initiative (WELI) project being organized by Africa Skills Hub in partnership with Ghana United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The Forum brought together relevant stakeholders to hold SGBV dialogues and panel discussions to address issues on gender equality and the rise of opportunities for women post-covid 19.
The research was conducted as part of the WELI project across Ghana (in the Volta and Northern regions) being implemented by the ASH
On the COVID-19 impact on the SGBV, she said teen pregnancies went up considerably in 2020, calling for a prudent introduction of innovative ways to empower women economically to adequately respond to future shocks.
Alarming rise in violence
Madam Adjoa Yenyi, Programme Specialist, UNFPA Ghana said the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in lockdowns, social isolation measures and school closures, led to an alarming rise in violence against women and girls worldwide.
She said the statistics available at the Accra Regional Office of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit, as of August 2020, showed that 31.9 per cent of Ghanaian women had faced at least one form of domestic violence – physical, economic. psychological, social, or sexual.
According to her, domestic violence caused immediate devastating consequences to those affected; physical injuries, mental health problems and poor well-being, among others.
“But it also has long-term, far-reaching effects, including persistent inequalities between men and women, which limit women and girls’ abilities to fulfil their potential and contribute to the development of the communities and the nation as a whole,” she said.
She said, due to this, UNFPA was committed to working with partners to explore new strategies and innovative ways of achieving zero Gender-based violence and harmful practices.
The Programme Specialists She said UNFPA was supporting the Department of Gender to strengthen support to SGBV victims through the orange support System.
This is to enable the Department to establish a support centre, where victims and survivors through a mobile app (BoameApp) or a toll-free call Centre, 0800 111 222, and a volunteer platform, can get assistance to facilitate psychosocial, legal, medical, and physical support, among others.
She said UNFPA commended the tireless efforts of government and CSO partners such as the Africa Skills Hub in the drive to bring to zero SGBV, especially in a post-COVID-19 era.
She said by employing innovative approaches and ensuring that women and young girls had access to entrepreneurship and livelihood opportunities “we will see a marked improvement.”
Madam Anatu Ben-Lawal, CEO Social Innovation Africa, said COVID-19 and wealth creation for women was in itself not a strategy.
She said the country should critically look at female production hubs across the rural areas because if all the things were centralized in the big cities, it also caused migration and major vices.
Mr Daniel Antwi, the Executive Director of ASH, launched a report on “The Impact of COVID-19 on Gender Equality: Women’s Empowerment and the rise of new opportunities through business and innovations”
He said it was important to place women at the centre of innovations in the post-COVID era.
” It is prudent to involve all stakeholders towards the realization of a more recoverable economic status of women especially by encouraging their participation in policymaking.”