Gender inequality and discrimination have taken a surprisingly new dimension in Ghana, with Ghanaian men reportedly facing discrimination more than women.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) made this known in its latest report on African Social Development Index (ASDI) for the West African sub-region released on Monday in Accra.
The ASDI report, entitled, “Measuring Human Exclusion For Structural Transformation,” aims at estimating the depth of exclusion in six key areas of life, namely employment, health, education, subsistence and decent life.
It said that poverty and illiteracy were the key drivers of social exclusion in Ghana and across West Africa specifically in countries such as Benin, the Gambia, Burkina Faso and Cape Verde.
Gender discrimination in Ghana and indeed Africa has in some cases been associated with denying women their rights to education and decision on the choice of men they marry.
The report did not indicate whether Ghanaian men were now facing the above-stated problems but noted that the growing support for affirmative action was giving women more rights than men in Ghana, noting that Ghanaian men were “being left behind.”
“In terms of gender dynamics, the exclusion of women decreased by more than 32 percent, while the exclusion of men decreased by 28 percent between 2000 and 2014,” according to the report.
It added that “one interesting result is a reduction in gender disparities in terms of exclusion, which clearly reflects the government’s effort at improving lives and providing opportunities to women.”
“Moreover, the African Social Development Index results show that the exclusion of women is slightly lower than the exclusion of men,” according to the 79-page report.
“This could be associated with the relatively low level of poverty among women, compared with men and affirmative policy interventions.”
ASDI seeks to help member countries track progress towards reducing human exclusion in Africa.
The report urged that the Index should assist member states in pursuing and formulating more inclusive social policies and guide them in the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, both of which place a high premium on inclusion and the need to “leave nobody behind” as key conditions to regional and global development.
According to the report, Ghana continues to face challenges in bridging the gap between population growth and economic development, given that its youthful population faces high levels of unemployment and underemployment.
Acting Government Statistician, Baah Wadie, who spoke at a workshop in Accra where the report was launched, said the issue of social exclusion has the potential of undermining Ghana’s development, if not addressed.