By Eric Appah Marfo, GNA

Accra, March 8, GNA—Madam Kati Csaba, the High Commissioner for Canada to Ghana has underscored the need to create equal access and opportunities to women, including those in the military.

“We believe that it is only through our collective efforts to improve mindsets, behaviours, policies, and procedures; at all levels – internationally, in the mission area, and in our own countries-that we can ensure that uniformed women have equal access and equal opportunities to train for, to be selected for, and to deploy to UN peace operations,” she said.

Madam Csaba said this on Tuesday in Accra at the first ever commemoration of the International Women’s Day by the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).

It was on the theme: “Unearthing Female Potential for Sustainable Development.”

The event was held in collaboration with the Global Affairs Canada and Elsie Initiative.

The Canadian High Commissioner said Canada was deeply committed to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment hence, the launch of the Elsie Initiative for Peace Operations in 2017, aimed at increasing military and policewomen’s meaningful participation in United Nations peace operations.

She said operational effectiveness of peacekeeping missions depended on many factors and that the results of peace operations were more effective, and longer lasting, when women participated alongside men in the process.

“Therefore, deploying a diversity of personnel, with different perspectives, is essential to the success of any mission, at home or abroad,” she said.

Madam Csaba said Canada would support GAF to make institutional changes that would challenge gender stereotypes and biases, to benefit women and men in the long term.

Major General Peter Nicholas Andoh, the Chief of Army Staff, said women had the potential to assist the Army in its peace keeping missions and intelligence efforts.

He said due to those potentials in women, the GAF had over the years, expanded its enrollment of women.

The Chief of Army Staff said about 15 per cent of the enrollment of military personnel over the past five years were women.

He said in the Military Academy, women constituted 23.6 per cent of personnel and 30.1 per cent of those from various specialist fields, who passed out last year were women.

Major General Andoh said the remarkable and notable feats accomplished by several military women did not come on silver platter but by dint of hard work, discipline, and determination.

Therefore, he encouraged all women to look within, identify their potentials and avail themselves to receive the necessary assistance.