The Ghana Tourism Authority has launched the maiden edition of the Women in Tourism Summit to encourage and honour the contributions of all women in the tourism sector.

The summit is also aimed at intensifying economic growth and independence of women across the country.

Under the theme “Driving Women Empowerment through Tourism Development”, the event is expected to address gender inequalities and the economic gender gap that exists in the tourism sector.

Speaking at the launch, former Chief Director of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Bridget Katsriku noted that women contribute largely to the development of the tourism sector however there remains a wide margin in the proportion of women in gainful and descent employment, taking into consideration the overall population of women.

Bridget said that the summit’s main focus is to bridge the gap between men and women employed in the tourism sector adding that it will involve improving employment/entrepreneurship opportunities for women by facilitating their access to jobs and creating possibilities for career development.

She again noted that: “We are already aware that women constitute more than half the population of our country. However, the same cannot be said of the proportion of women in any sphere of human activity, be it politics, engineering, business or tourism”

“When it comes to poverty women are in the majority all over the world, 70% of the world’s poorest people are women. Because of the disproportionate representation of women in all spheres of our development, we are never going to maximise our full potential as a country. In other words as long as the majority of our population cannot fully participate and contribute to our developmental efforts, our social and economic growth would remain unsustainable”, she added.

According to Bridget women through several interventions of national and international bodies, Women are breaking through the glass ceiling to take their rightful positions in both national and international spheres, albeit very unsatisfactorily slow.

Leader of the Women in Tourism group, Nancy Quartey Sam, explained that with tourism being one of the lucrative sectors Ghana can boast about, her 30-year experience in the tourism industry revealed that there are many women in the tourism industry who have the passion to move the sector forward.

According to her, “these women only need a push in realizing their potentials and realizing their goals.” She averred that the summit will not only make more women independent but heighten the country’s financial status.

A report by the Ghana Poverty and Inequality Report revealed that despite a steady increase in the country’s economic growth of over 7% per year on average, inequality has been increasing and poverty remains prevalent in many areas, especially amongst women.

Scheduled to take place on June 21, 2018, the one-day summit is expected to be graced by the Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Catherine Afeku; Minister for Gender, Child and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba and other international stakeholders who will lay emphasis on addressing inequality issues, social media marketing as a powerful tool, among others.

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