PROMOTING WOMEN`S PARTICIPATION AND BRIDGING GENDER GAPS IN THE

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PROMOTING WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION AND
BRIDGING GENDER GAPS IN THE PROFESSIONS
AND PUBLIC LIFE – ACHIEVEMENTS,
RELEVANCE AND PROSPECTS:
A CIVIL ENGINEER’S PERSPECTIVE
Presented By
Ing. Mrs. Rita Ohene Sarfoh
OUTLINE
• INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
• ACHIEVEMENTS?
• JOB PERFORMANCE & CAREER DEVELOPMENT
• RELEVANCE OF GENDER MAINSTREAMING
• BEYOND SOCIAL JUSTICE, GENDER MAINSTREAMING
RATIONALE
• TRACTION FOR GENDER MAINSTREAMING
• CONCLUSION
INTRODUCTION
• Addressing the issue of “traction” in gender
mainstreaming
– Reflexive experience sharing encounter
– Reviewing & deepening the lessons of past GM actions
– Benchmarking the GM outputs
– Framing guidelines for future GM activities
INTRODUCTION (2)
• CE profession and the challenges for women
practitioners
• Male-dominated
• Emphasis on personal experience and
observations
• Constrained narrative due to lack of comparable
reference
BACKGROUND
• Work
– Ghana Highway Authority
– Largest single employer of civil engineering
professionals in Ghana
– Long existence with track record on staff relations and
deep-rooted organizational culture
• Personal
– Employed with GHA for 16 years, Principal Engineer and
Manager for Environmental Unit,
– Council member of Ghana Institution of Engineers
– President, Women in Engineering (WINE)
– Married with children
ACHIEVEMENTS
• Mixed results in GM in CE
– Improving enrolment base (KNUST CE Dept)
• from 1:35 or 2.8% in 1990 to 17:148 or 11.4% in 2010
– Critically short numbers especially high up the career
ladder
• No Director, 1 Principal Eng., 2 Senior Eng., 2 Eng., 3 Assist.
Eng.,
• 0 Tech. Eng., 1 Tech. Eng., 2 Assist. Eng.
– Academic qualifications
• 0 PhD; 1 Masters level; 7 Bachelors; 3 HND
– Professional standing
• No Fellow; 1 Sen. Member; 5 Member; 2 Graduate
Member; 3 Assoc. Member
ACHIEVEMENTS (2)
• In November 1994, only 1 Female Engineer,
• Notwithstanding improvements since 1994,
men : women = 121:11 (less than 10%)
• Posting to perceived “soft “ sectors
– Preponderance women engineers in Planning Division
– Increasing interest in placing women engineers in
Environment and Road Safety
• No woman placed on projects to date (except
Accra)
– Excuse of conflict between “full time” demands and
women roles
ACHIEVEMENTS (3)
• Site constraints
– Relocation to other Regions
– Facilities
– Security
• Arditi and Balci (2009), in project management
positions, women = men
– Women bring added value of “sensitivity,” “costumer
focus,” and “authority and presence.”
 Success of GHA projects being potentially
retarded by lack of women project managers
PERFORMANCE & CAREER DEVELOPMENT
• Factors for assessing job performance
–Clarity of job description and role
definition of engineers
–Expectations & Attitudes towards Females
–Conditions of service
• Career development
–Opportunities
–Constraints
PERFORMANCE & CAREER DEVELOPMENT (2)
• Job description / role definition
– No distinctions made between men & women engineers
– Intention to curtail women placement outside of Accra
• Expectations and Attitudes
– Patronizing attitude of peers and seniors
– Ridicule of career development initiatives
– Issues of acceptance of capacity
• “I cannot allow my wife to work as you do”
• “You this small girl......
• How can a woman be travelling all the time”
– Lack of respect to women in spite of seniority.
PERFORMANCE & CAREER DEVELOPMENT (3)
• Opportunities for capacity building and career growth
higher for women at the early stages of engineering
career
– Men focusing on “financial stability” and thus giving women
better prospects for access to financial and technical
support
– Example: B.Sc. (1993), M.Sc. (2001) MPH (2006); MGhIE
(2001)
– Most male contemporaries finished Masters post-2006 and
GhIE membership post-2005
• Social constraints imposed on career growth plans
– Marriage and Childbirth
• Generally my performance is at par and even better
RELEVANCE OF GM
• Relevant and affirmative action required in
CE profession because
– Presently, the normative gender roles are based
on psychological rationale and not based on
individual merit
– High incidence of gender disparity in civil
engineering profession, especially in GHA
– “Glass ceiling” still in place. No Female
Technical Director in MRH and Agencies
RATIONALE FOR GM POST-SOCIAL JUSTICE
• Work place diversity
• Sustainable organisational and sectoral
development
– Appreciation of diversified client needs
(different users with different needs)
• Example of DANIDA assistance to Konongo-Ejisu
road side vendors
TRACTION FOR GM
• Continuous public sensitization and advocacy
• Short courses on staff relations
• Matrix or task team approach therefore
compelling gender mix
• Public interest law and rights based approach
• Affirmative action especially for rural and urban
poor and female groups
• Constitutional / legislative reviews
Conclusion
• Gender Inequality is a reality in CE in Ghana
• Enrolment and Output ≠ Practice
• Mentoring in Educational and Practitioner levels
– Women professionals as guest speakers to serve as
role models
• Do not Perceive as a woman but Crave to
perform
THANK YOU