Women need equal say in national health plans – Gender activist

There are concerted calls for women to be included in the formulation of national health plans, systems, and policies, in order to create better health systems, stronger economies, and better societies.

The demands also urge for full and equal participation of women in creating and implementing health interventions for the benefit of all.

According to the executive head of the League of Young Female Leaders, women in the health professions require a glass escalator that allows them to grow in professional leadership, because there are more female nurses and midwives than there are male colleagues.

Women need equal say in national health plans - Gender activist

“But do we have more women in leadership positions than men in these professions?,” Hikmat Baba Dua rhetorically questioned.

According to Madam Dua, there is a male predominance in managerial roles in the Ghanaian healthcare industry, which is consistent with global patterns of less female leadership in the field. She cites other experts when she says that, gender inequality in global health leadership has been proven to have detrimental effects on women’s and children’s health outcomes.

However, Madam Dua noted some positive trends in Ghana, citing a 2018 statistic that stated that 50 (58.14 percent) of the 86 Principals of Nursing Colleges were women.

“This means women taking up space in that regard and that’s a huge gain we don’t have to go back on but to build upon because of the active role women play in health care promotion and delivery. Women should have the opportunity and support to lead without related restrictions/barriers.”

Madam Dua was speaking at the maiden women and gender regional conference organised by the northern regional branch of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association on a theme, “Gender Equality Today for Sustainable Tomorrow in The Nursing and Midwifery Profession.”

Women need equal say in national health plans - Gender activist

Madam Dua is perplexed as to why female nurses and midwives who possess intelligence, empathy, dependability, passion, efficacy, listening and critical thinking skills, counseling skills, and the capacity to reassure and support others emotionally go unnoticed for leadership positions.

“If we cannot empower female nurses and midwives, we cannot achieve sustainable development. Female nurses and midwives are supposed to be represented in all levels of policy making, decision making positions while eliminating gender bias.”

According to the gender activist, a sustainable future in nursing and midwifery requires the inclusion of women at all levels. They must have equal rights and opportunities, be able to live and work without fear of violence or discrimination, and have their goals valued and acknowledged in accordance with their abilities.

Women need equal say in national health plans - Gender activist

She encourages women who work as nurses and midwives to recognize the many leadership opportunities available to them and to see themselves as essential to the reform of these fields for a sustainable future.

Madam Dua also urges them to forge bonds of sisterhood and unity in order to combat the prejudice, bias, and discrimination that women encounter in the healthcare industry, particularly when it comes to decision-making and attaining positions of authority.

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