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What do you say about gender balance?


 The International Women’s Day campaign this year theme of “#BalanceforBetter” is a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world.  International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
It is also focusing on innovative ways in which the world can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s right.


Such days exist because everyone agrees women should be celebrated. This day also exists because the world recognizes that, in spite of women being the majority of humans, there are far too many aspects of life in which women are under-represented and discriminated against. Meanwhile, women make everything better. Everything – homes, families, churches, armies, sports, agriculture, education, healthcare, peace, business. Especially businesses! Men have every right to take pride in how far the world has come with them at the helm, but just watch and see how far women will go when given equal opportunity to steer affairs.


It is an important time in history to do everything possible to help forge a more gender-balance world. Women have come a long way, yet there is much to be achieved in society. This can happen by starting the change in our home and in the earliest days of schools, so that there are no places in a child’s environment where they learn that girls must be less, have less and dream smaller than boys.

Women should be encouraged to participate actively in politics, at all levels, and demand the adoption and implementation of policies and programmes that will unburden and transform the lives of women in the country and in the world at large.

Long live women!


In the picture  (left) is Madam Winifred Mensah, the Vice Principal of the Takoradi YMCA Vocational Institute and (right) is Manuela Heileman a German volunteer at the Takoradi YMCA centre.
Manuela has prepared a presentation on this year’s theme and focus of the International Women’s Day to the All women’s Council which has taken place at the YMCA center yesterday  towards the observance of the International Women’s Day at the Takoradi YMCA centre.


Video interview of Florence Amakye

Florence was once a trainee at the YMCA Vocational Training Centre here in Takoradi and she is now back as a Trainer. In the interview she testifies of the growth and capacity building she experienced as a young woman being trained at the YMCA VTI and now she’s glad to be given the opportunity to train many others like her. Florence is a member of the upcoming all women’s council which will be held at the YMCA center to plan further empowerment activities for young women within the community this March.


Interview with Olivia Mensah, Age of 26, graduated trainee of the YMCA Vocational Training Institute

She completed her training in Cookery for catering industry in 2015 and is currently reading Hospitality Management in the Takoradi Technical University. When Olivia first came to the YMCA centre, she was very shy and like many of the girls who come to our centre for training, didn’t consider herself university material. After her three years of training in the YMCA and participating in the different programs that the YMCA has to offer, Olivia stands a confident young lady in her second year of studying in the university. She told us before her interview that she was just returning from the Food and Drugs Board main office in Takoradi where she was following up on an opportunity to undertake her second-year internship (an initiative she never thought she could take on her own/by herself).

Olivia had this to share when we asked her a few questions as part of our count down activities at the Takoradi YMCA towards the International Women’s day.

In which area would you like to see a gender balance in your community?

Olivia: Society.


In which area would you acknowledge that there is an existing gender balance?

Olivia: In the area of women empowerment.


What do you think is the YMCA`s role in creating a gender balance?

Olivia: They need to strive at becoming more visible to get the good things that they are doing now on gender out there, because it is really helping us even though it is a small training school. I think that many people do not know that the YMCA is here and what actually goes on here in this regard. So, the YMCA needs to get out there, so that people get to know what we are doing here thus create more opportunities like what I have benefited out of here. If it hadn’t been for the training, I had in the YMCA Vocational Trainng Centre, I didn’t think it was possible to be able to further my education to the Takoradi Technical University (TTU). So, the YMCA should be visible in their work.

How has the YMCA helped you growing as a woman?

Olivia: YMCA has helped me a lot. Through the training I had at the YMCA I am able to continue my education. Through the skills I developed at the YMCA I am able to do something on my own. I am now able to talk to someone that I do not know well. At first I did not know how to approach someone just because I couldn‘t express myself well in English and all that. But right now, I have the confidence to even go to places where I thought I could not go to before but through YMCA I am able to go to places like that.


How do you think you can give something back to the community of women?

Olivia: Education. I think everybody should be educated to try to do something on their own especially in terms of entrepreneurship. Women do not need to wait for men to come and tell them what to do once they get to know how to do something. Just do something for yourself to become an independent woman.


Interview with Madam Emelia Chobbah, Principal of the YMCA Vocational Training Institute

In the picture – (left) Madam Emelia Chobbah, Principal of the YMCA Vocational Training Institute, and (right) Nana Peperah Antwi, regional director of the YMCA in the Western Region. Together they balance the YMCA centre in Takoradi.

As the management of the centre they are working on hosting a gender balanced council to plan an “All girls summit” in March which focuses on building the capacity of young women socially, economically, culturally and politically through a series of workshops and seminars.

As a part of a series of multiple interviews we asked Emilia five question concerning gender balance which reflects this year´s theme for the International Women´s Day – “Balance for Better”.

In which area would you like to see a gender balance in your community?

Emilia: Education.


In which area would you acknowledge that there is an existing gender balance?

Emilia: Today we say it but actually we do not implement it. It is not seen. It is something that we are saying. We want gender balance but if you go to the reality you will see that the girls or women have marginalised.


What do you think is the YMCA´s role in creating a gender balance?

Emilia: YMCA should empower the woman.


How has the YMCA helped you growing as a woman?

Emilia: So many areas. First I thought YMCA is for men only. But when I came to this institution I realised that they give opportunity to both men and women. They have been organising trainings and workshops which have empowered women like me. There have been so many women empowerment programs which I have attended since my time in the YMCA. That has brought me somehow where I am now.


How do you think you can give something back to the communtity of women?

Emilia: As I was saying we need to empower the women. We have to empower them by giving them entrepreneurship and then help them with their financial situation because if you look at the poverty rate you can see that the women are vulnerable. They are more likely to be poor just because financially they are not good. In the case of employment, sometimes more of an opportunity is given to men than to women. All these things bring the women`s moral down and it does not help them to go up or to be at the same scale with the men. So if you can empower them economically, in education or create more opportunities and chances for their needs to be met so that they can be at the same level with the men.



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