and Sustainable Enterprise
GHANA IS A COUNTRY RICH IN DIVERSITY, and its various cultures, vibrant cities and abundant wildlife live together harmoniously. Following nearly three decades of military rule, Ghana restored its multi-party democracy in 1992 and has since become Africa’s fastest-growing economy. Although industries like gold, cocoa and oil are booming, women often don’t have the same opportunities to thrive in these fields as they are generally expected to prioritize caring for their families over their professional aspirations.
- Women and girls aged 10+ spend 14% of their time on unpaid care and domestic work, compared to 3.5% spent by men
- Ghana ranked 131 out of 160 countries on the Gender Equality Index
- 46% of businesses are owned by women, but many lack the support necessary to grow.
Keeping businesses clean and evergreen
were trained to act as champions of gender equality and encourage their male friends and family members to support women in their professions.
133 religious leaders
received training on how to promote positive masculinity including topics like sharing care responsibilities, preventing gender-based violence and supporting women's economic empowerment.
24 Business Advisory Centre staff
attended a two-day training session on gender equality and child protection to provide women with safe spaces for holistic business support.
148 community-based volunteers
attended a 10-day workshop to advance their understanding of the root causes of and solutions to gender inequalities in business.
welcomed a pilot project to establish child-care centres – with plans to expand in the coming years – to allow working women more time to run their businesses.
Meet the powerhouse behind the Ghana WISE movement.
PATRICIA GYAN-BASSAW has a laugh that warms up the room. Her voice exudes confidence and kindness, especially when she speaks passionately about the professional power of women in Ghana and their dream to build their businesses. We spoke with the spirited Ghana WISE project lead to discover how the project benefits the lives of women, their families and their communities.
Smashing Stigmas, Showing Support
The Gari Grind
Sabatu’s business is soaring thanks in part to her husband’s steadfast support.
“AMBITIOUS” is just one word to describe Sabatu. Sabatu has her own business processing gari – a type of flour made from ground cassava roots. Today she produces two bags a week, but her goal is to bump that to five. However, like many women around the world, Sabatu is pulled in many directions. In addition to running her business, she is the mom of six preschool-age children!
Sabatu's husband, Daniel, encourages her to pursue her business goals, but it wasn’t always that way. At first, he was sensitive to the negative perception of men who help take care of their children and the household. It wasn’t until he attended a men’s group organized by the WISE project that he realized the stereotypes were untrue and rooted in toxic masculinity. After that, he saw that he could do more to help Sabatu. He came to understand and appreciate her efforts to keep their family happy and healthy. He also recognized that the many hours she spent on child care and household chores meant she had to sacrifice growing her gari grind.
Now, Daniel is more than happy to share the load – he cares for their children and helps Sabatu process gari. “My support allows my wife to spend quality time on her business,” he says. “I believe that with my unflinching support, she will be able to increase her gari production in the near future and employ other women in the community.”
Sabatu is well on her way to reaching her goal: With Daniel’s support, she has already increased her weekly gari yield from two to three bags – and is keen on hitting her target of five! “If I continue to receive support from my husband, I can increase my weekly production,” she says. “This will help reduce our family’s financial burdens and foster a healthy relationship between me and my husband.” Sabatu’s new sense of confidence and increased income will carry her far, giving her a greater say in decisions at home and in her community.
CHIEF NANA APPIAH had a secret. Out of sight from his community, he supported his wife, Afryea*, with her banku business, helping her prepare the doughy delicacy made from corn and cassava. As the traditional leader of his village, he was afraid he would be criticized for helping his wife because culturally it was considered taboo for men to help their wives with cooking.
After attending discussion groups organized by the WISE project, Nana Appiah felt empowered to cook with Afryea in public and recognized the responsibility he had as a leader to shift his community’s perception.
“My wife is a very humble, hard-working woman who supports me very much in my role as chief and also in my palm wine business,” explains Nana Appiah. “Now I think it is time to do these good deeds openly to show appreciation for my wife for all the support I enjoy from her and serve as motivation to others.”
Nana Appiah’s actions have drawn praise from partner organizations of the WISE project, who hope to see similar support from other leaders. “It is not easy for a community chief to defy long-standing perceptions and norms [that go] against men’s support for their wives,” says David Bagonluri, executive director of the Women’s Integrated Development Organization in Ghana. “We look forward to seeing more men support women’s economic empowerment in the project communities and beyond.” *Name has been changed.*Name has been changed.
Traditional leaders are the custodians of our land, our culture and our heritage. If they change their mindset around the participation of women in decision-making, they can take a stand to change the negative norms that no longer serve us.”– Patricia
Your incredible support for the She Decides project is ensuring that girls and women can make their own choices about their bodies and lives and can do so in a safe and supportive environment. Thank you for helping prevent early pregnancy and gender-based violence in rural Peru.
The She Decides project is funded in part by the Government of Canada.
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