The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) have exceeded the United Nations recommended quote for female inclusion in the Military.
GAF has made remarkable progress in achieving Gender mainstreaming, equality and equity, the Gender Policy Advisor to the Chief of Defence Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces, Naval Captain Veronica Adzo Arhin, has said.
At the Ghana Armed Forces’ Commemoration of International Women’s Day on the theme: “Enhancing GAF’s Innovative Gender Equity Strides for an Inclusive Force,” she noted in her address that, “this feat had been achieved in the areas of recruitment, enlistment, education and retention of females within the forces.”
GAF’s theme was in line with the United Nation’s theme dubbed, “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.”
The Forces, she said, can now boast of thousands of female personnel; officers and soldiers alike across all ranks and departments.
“Females are now posted into combat units which used to be the reserve of men. Females are also allowed to participate in several courses such as Young Officers Course, Combat Team Commanders, Fleet Course, Sargent Major Course among many others.” She said.
The efforts, she said, had yielded positive results thus making the country to exceed the United Nations target of ensuring Gender mainstreaming in male dominated professions.
“On the Peacekeeping Front, the Ghana Armed Forces presents not less than 15 per cent of women in all UN Peace Missions which is above the mandatory 10 per cent by the United Nations as far as contingent are concerned. The Ghana Armed Forces also deployed female engagement platoons and currently have deployed 20 per cent of females on UN Missions in Lebanon. This is the highest in the whole world.” She said.
All these developments, Captain Arhin said, was possible due to what she described as ‘systematic gender mainstreaming” in the GAF with support from external partners such as the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Center, the Canadian High Commission amongst a host of many others.
She used the opportunity to thank the Military High Command for the increase in opportunities offered to females within the service.
The Canadian High Commissioner, Martine Moreau, in her address, said she was pleased with the continuation and improvement of the gender mainstreaming within the Ghana Armed Forces.
She further pledged her country’s commitment to advancing women’s empowerment in all spheres of life within the country via programmes such as the Elsie initiative which aimed at increasing female military and police officers in UN Peacekeeping operations.
On his part, Major General Nicholas Peter Andoh, the Chief of Staff at the General Headquarters of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), mentioned examples of past and present Gender mainstreaming efforts in the 65 years of GAF’s existence.
This, he said, was a testament to the great strides made to enforce gender streaming and equity policies with the Ghana Armed forces.
“The First female officer was enlisted in 1958; a year after Ghana gained independence. By 1962, the first sets of 12 female soldiers were recruited. Ghana Armed Forces trained the first female pilots by 1963 and that was the first in the ECOWAS sub region. Since then, the numbers and roles of women have increased exponentially. Slowly but steadily, the military have made conscious efforts by enlisting and recruiting females into male-only roles.” He said.
International Women’s Day is a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8 as a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, and violence and abuse against women.
This year’s focus however was directed towards calls on governments, activists and the private sector alike to power on in their efforts to make the digital world safer, more inclusive and more equitable particularly on the side of women.