Happy International Women’s Week 2022!
This year’s theme: #BreaktheBias.
But what is bias, and what does it mean in the context of women and girls?
Bias can be defined as an ‘inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in ways considered to be unfair’; referring here to the tendency for women and girls to be unfairly discriminated against on the basis of their gender. Whether conscious or unconscious, this bias is responsible for daily challenges women face across the globe – so let’s break down how this bias manifests itself for women and girls in northern Ghana, and two ways AfriKids are supporting local communities to identify these biases and break through them!
In northern Ghana, girls face disparities in their access to education in more ways than one. While Ghana has seen rapid improvements in girls’ access to education in recent years, there are still major challenges with girls completing education beyond a primary level - only one third of girls from rural areas complete secondary school. As girls who are in school begin to get older, they also face greater societal pressures than their male counterparts to drop out – many times due to uniquely gendered issues such as forced marriage and pregnancy. AfriKids works to not only get girls into schooling in the first instance, but also to help them stay there, by empowering them with information that allows them to recognize their rights and take control of their bodies.
The Future’s Freedom project, focusing on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), works to promote integral educational programs on these topics in schools, and through this improve the maternal and reproductive health of girls and women in the region. By breaking the bias that enables patriarchal structures to take advantage of girls and young women, AfriKids help to empower these young women to take control of their rights, and subsequently their education, to ensure they have the best chance possible at lifting themselves out of poverty. As Iddrisu Khadija, president of the SRHR club at her school says,