The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has organised a young women’s forum in Ho to encourage more women to join in the fight agianst corruption, and to also empower them to understand the link between gender equality and anti-corruption.
Under the theme “Empowering young women to sustain the fight against corruption in Ghana”, the GII forum identified corruption practices affecting women within tertiary institutions.
Addressing young women at the forum, Programmes Manager for Ghana Integrity Initiative, Mrs. Mary Awelana noted that the programme is to sensitize women about the undesirability of corruption and the need for gender sensitive approaches to address the issues.
She said corruption hinders progress, therefore the introduction of Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) is to serve as an institution and a bridge between the public to provide an avenue for people to report on corruption.
She explained that women are directly affected in issues of corruption, and so women must understand the impact corruption has on the country and join in the fight against it.
“The Ghana Integrity Initiative is shining the light on the youth particularly women, to engage young women to understand the impact of corruption and engage in the fight against corruption, and to transform and lead the fight against corruption in and out of campus”…she said.
She stated that the Criminal Offences Act 1960, clearly states that both the receiver and giver are equally in line.
“So if we are giving and we get into trouble for giving, we need to empower ourselves very well to be able to say no, resist corruption when we see it in our faces”…she added.
She said there has been a research by Transparency International on gender impact of corruption. She said facts suggest that when you engage women, certain behaviours tend to come from them, and so are less likely to be engaged in corrupt behaviour as men would ordinarily want to.
She said the tendency for women to be corrupt is high but the risk of the averse nature of women is what prevents them from engaging in certain behaviours.
She stated that a study by the UNDP showed that women are less likely to involve in risky behaviour in the community in which they live at large, since women are risk averse, “it means that engaging more women in the fight against corruption is very important, critical, crucial if we must make a difference”.
She added that women and their dependants were disproportionately affected with regards to corrupt behaviors.
“Women are directly affected when it comes to issues of corruption because when spouses are sacked from their job, they come home and the women suffer, they do not get chop money again, hence they have to go out looking for money and most of the time, they go in for services”…. she added.
She urged women not to take lightly issues of corruption, by taking individual steps to report it.
“We need to empower ourselves very well to be able to say no to resist and report corruption”…she advised.
She urged that the SDG which says no one should be left behind and which has included anti-corruption in Goal 16, and 16.5, which asks us whether we pay or take bribes for assessing services to a certain personel, should be taken seriously.
“Thus, we would be making significant gains in achieving the Beijing declaration and also the Sustainable Development Goal of ending poverty, corruption by 2030″…she said.
She charged the media to be the change agent and a development partner that channels out information onto the public in ensuring that “we make significant gains on achieving the Beijing declaration”.
The Regional Manager of CHRAJ, Mr. Carlos-Mensah said people, especially women, must be bold to report corruption since the whistleblower Act has been enforced to protect them.
He said the whistleblower is not an informant but rather an avenue that would empower citizens to report and to set a database on corrupt complaints to be used for advocacy.
By Agnes Melissa Yovo, HO