Supporting Women to Improve Their Economic Status

The population of women in Ghana stands at 51.7%, with men at 48.3% (Ghana Statistical Service, 2014). In Ghana as it is in most places across the world, women have been identified as the real change makers in society. Social and economic advancement of women affect households positively and provide the push for positive economic outcomes (World Bank Country Report, 2003).

While poverty rates have dropped in Ghana, the gap between the poor and the rich is ever widening (UNDP Report, 2014). Across rural communities in the poorest regions of Ghana, poverty rates tend to be higher, and this is especially pronounced in households that are headed by women (World Bank Country Report, 2013).

Women in general are unable to earn as much as men in Ghana because they are mainly self employed. Self-employed persons tend to be either underemployed due to low productivity or underpaid due to work done as part of a family enterprise (Ghana Statistical Service, 2014). Access to financing is more difficult for women than men due to hindrances such as travel time to financial establishments and collateral for loans – because women’s right to land and savings is tenuous (IFAD Ghana Report, 2016). It is also notable that many Ghanaian women, are engaged in micro and small businesses ranging from agriculture to commerce.

These micro businesses are unable to grow due to lack of access to affordable long term finance, lack of appropriate technology, services and public infrastructure such as water, electricity and market access (Efam, 2012). There is a compelling need to support women’s economic development as a viable means of reducing poverty and improving livelihoods. Planners know this and over the years interventions to improve the business environment and the economic status of women have been carried out.
These interventions include improved access to credit, training for improved output, improved market access and sensitization on various mitigating factors that impede economic and social progress and reduce profits.
However, the world of work is ever changing and the approaches to work that creates wealth especially in a marginalised and a gendered context, must reflect these changes.
To contribute to women’s economic empowerment, The Rebecca Foundation undertake the following;
• Skills training for businesses that introduce innovations which can be adapted to changes in market preference and livelihood enhancement.
• Access to low interest finance that is administered innovatively taking into account the various dynamics that hinder women’s full participation in accessing capital and tailored to meet the specific needs of different industries.
• Market access for goods and services that is enhanced by using appropriate technology and innovations in marketing. Market access can be improved by processing at the farm gate and providing the appropriate technological assistance to ascertain true market value in real time.
The Rebecca Foundation realises the need to empower women as a means of improving livelihoods for families and communities, as being core to its work to champion the wellbeing of women and children.
Improved household income brings about improved living standards, which translates into progress. Progress enforces the gains made by specific developmental interventions.