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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.

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Presentation on theme: "PROMOTING WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION AND BRIDGING GENDER GAPS IN THE PROFESSIONS AND PUBLIC LIFE – ACHIEVEMENTS, RELEVANCE AND PROSPECTS : A CIVIL ENGINEER’S."— Presentation transcript:

1 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 Ing. Mrs. Rita Ohene Sarfoh

2 OUTLINE INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND ACHIEVEMENTS? JOB PERFORMANCE & CAREER DEVELOPMENT RELEVANCE OF GENDER MAINSTREAMING BEYOND SOCIAL JUSTICE, GENDER MAINSTREAMING RATIONALE TRACTION FOR GENDER MAINSTREAMING CONCLUSION

3 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

4 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

5 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

6 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

7 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

8 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

9 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

10 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 (2)

11 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 PERFORMANCE & CAREER DEVELOPMENT (3)

12 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

13 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

14 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

15 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

16 THANK YOU


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