Global Communities Ghana Supports #EachforEqual

By Christy Beauchemin

#EachforEqual #IWD2020

International Women’s Day (IWD) was first celebrated over 100 years ago. Today, it is a global movement as well as a call to action. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EachforEqual. It is a reminder that we all have a role in fighting gender inequality and that if each of us work together, we can create a gender-equal world. 

Studies show that gender equality is good for not only women but families and economies, too. According to a McKinsey Global Institute study, closing the gender gap in the global workforce could result in an additional $12-$28 trillion to the global GDP.

Over the last 100 years, women have made remarkable advances, but there is still a long way to go. According to UN Women, 63 percent of women aged 25-54 are participating in the labor force as opposed to 94 percent of men.  Globally, over 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men. Eighteen economies have regulations that allow husbands to legally prevent their wives from working. On average, women spend 2.5 percent more time on unpaid care and domestic work then men, and if this labor were assigned a monetary value, it would be equal to 10-39 percent of the US GDP.

Global Communities is dedicated to helping close the international economic gender gap. We envision a world where everyone has the freedom, means, and ability to live and prosper with dignity. One way that we work to pursue this vision is by empowering women around the globe to fulfill their economic potential. To do so, we work with women, men, and youth to address and challenge gender norms, build capacity, provide and facilitate income-generating and employment opportunities, and promote financial inclusion.

Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment

In partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, the Youth Inclusive Entrepreneurial Development Initiative for Employment program (YIEDIE, which means "progress" in the Twi language) is designed to create economic opportunities for disadvantaged youth in Ghana’s construction sector. Promotion of women’s participation in this industry is a project goal. We work to transform the relationships between young women, employers, and government; create networking opportunities for women; develop partnerships between the public and private sectors to expand participants' access to technical training and job opportunities.

Since 2015, YIEDIE has trained youth between the ages of 17-24 in technical construction and entrepreneurship skills and assisted them in starting and growing small businesses. Of the total 24,479 youth that have completed training, 30 percent are women.

To address the challenge of attracting women to this male-dominated trade, YIEDIE provided incentives such as childcare support, coverage of health insurance premiums, and a transportation stipend. Through encouragement by project staff, female participants have branched out past traditionally female trades, such as interior décor, into areas like heavy machine operations and aluminum fabrication. A follow-up study of female trainees one year after training found that the number employed in the construction sector had gone from 15% at baseline to 57%.

USAID/Improved Services for Vulnerable Populations (ISVP)

The ISVP project is a five-year initiative to improve the resiliency of at least 50,000 vulnerable households (approximately 250,000 individuals) against adverse circumstances in 12 districts in Rwanda. Promoting gender equality and empowerment has been a key priority for ISVP since the project’s outset.  ISVP’s gender sensitization activities train participants on gender equality in order to reduce gender disparities in access to, control over, and benefit from resources, wealth, opportunities, and program and government services. The activities also help increase the capacity of women and girls to realize their rights, determine their life outcomes, and influence decision-making in households and in communities.

In the fiscal year 2019 (FY19), ISVP supported operations for 2,886 savings groups with 64% of members being women. To date, these groups have collectively saved $6,708,189, much of which goes toward income-generating activities. 

Women also attend Farmer Field Schools, which teach beneficiaries improved agricultural production techniques for increased income and improved household nutrition. Of the 26,981 members of FFS in FY19, 63.2% were women.

Egypt Loan Guarantee Facility

Backed by the Development Finance Corporation, the  Egypt Loan Guarantee Facility – which is managed by Global Communities – puts a large focus on increasing access to finance for female entrepreneurs. 7.3% of loan guarantees have benefitted women-owned businesses. To grow the number of credit-worthy enterprises, we implement a Women in Business  initiative that aims to provide female entrepreneurs with financial literacy and basic banking knowledge to support the growth of their businesses. In 2019, the program held 55 workshops all over Egypt, with 665 female attendees from different industries and sectors. Of these participants, 20% applied for loans.

Work Continues

IWD is an annual day to recognize the achievements of women around the world and acknowledge the progress that still needs to be made. Global Communities is committed to continuing to develop and implement programs that prioritize gender equality and promote female economic empowerment. We commit to #EachforEqual, to taking responsibility for the role we as individuals can play in fighting for gender equality, and to working together with our staff, partners, and stakeholders to create a gender-equal world.

Region: Ghana
Area of expertise: Women / Gender