Thursday, May 6, 2010

GSS develop handbook on gender statistics

GSS develop handbook on gender statistics
Daily Graphic, Thursday, 6th May, 2010: Page 11; (Gender and Children)
Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho

The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has developed a handbook on gender statistics which reflects the relative levels and differentials between women and men, and girls and boys in terms of education, health, politics, and access to credits among others.

The statistical compendium on women and men is a collection of concise, but detailed gender-sensitive indicators, which will help the formulation of policies in the country.

The Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs, Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah, whop launched the handbook at a programme in Accra, said the collection of sex deaggregated data was vital to women’s development in the country.

She said such data was essential to enable the country to track the progress made so far in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The minister said such data was also important to ministries, departments and agencies, since it would help them implement the gender budgeting strategy, which had been introduced by the government effectively.

Giving some highlights on the book, the minister said it dealt with household leadership and divorce, school enrollment for males and females at various levels of education, illiteracy among men and women and power and influence.

She said the statistical compendium showed that 23 per cent of female-headed household were divorced women and 51 per cent of women in the country were illiterates.

On the issue of power and influence, she said the result were nothing to write home about, and that a huge gap still existed between men and women in the decision-making process, adding that there was the need to encourage more women into politics.

She, therefore, advised women who were interested in politics to participate in active politics at the various levels, to get more women in the country’s decision-making process.

A Chief Statistician at the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), Mr. Baah Wadieh, who made a presentation on, “The status of the provision of gender statistics,” said developing gender statistics required that the statistical processes should be applied diligently when acquiring the data.

He said such gender-sensitive data should not be merely indicators which had been compiled and presented by sex, although it was a fundamental requirement, but should also signal gender-related changes in a condition or phenomenon over time, shed light on social processes and interventions and how these affect women and men and their relationship with one another.

He said gender statistics were one of the basic requirements of the Beijing Declaration, which calls on national, regional and international statistical institutions to “ensure that statistics related to individuals are collected, compiled, analysed and presented by sex, and age, and reflect problems, issues and questions related to women and men in society.”

The Government Statistician, Dr. Grace Bediako, said the statistical compendium would help the country gain insight into how far it had advanced, saying that, “we need to be able to assess what gains we have made” and also identify where there were problems. She said the handbook would help the country learn from its successes in terms of gender equality, empowerment and equity, and also bring out the disappointing results so that they could be dealt with.

Dr. Bediako said nationally and globally, it was difficult to see the achievements on the field, and that many organisations found it necessary to have ‘gender’ as a component of their programmes, instead of mainstreaming it into all facets of public and private life, decision-making and prorammes.

She bemoaned the fact that two-and-a-half decades after the adoption of the MDGs, with MDG 3 calling for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women, “we still have to remind policy makers that gender equality is a rights issue like poverty and survival.”

She said as a country, “we have an opportunity with the upcoming population and housing census to improve our database for the MDGs,” and that many of the questions for the census would provide the basis for computing the indicators required.

Dr. Bediako, however, said the country still needed to explore all potential sources, censuses, samples surveys and administrative records to provide the complete picture.

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