Forestry Commission Ladies Association elects new executive(Dec 17, 2016)
The Forestry Commission Ladies Association has elected new executive members who have promised to lead a crusade against environmental degradation and empower more women to venture into forestry.
“If we look around, women are involved in charcoal vending and fuel wood fetching. They use the forest resources but most often they don’t get into the actual monetary benefits. Theirs has always been with non-timber forest products and other meagre livelihood support systems that they get from the forest,” she said.
Women in forestry
To reverse the situation, Ms Zuta said beyond empowering the women within the commission, it would broaden its scope to make forestry more appealing to young graduates.
“If you look at graduates from the universities, we have a lot of women graduating from the natural resources sector but the field is mainly male-dominated. There are certain myths surrounding the sector that should not be,” she said.
According to experts, Ghana’s forestry policies and institutions have been gender blind since the 1948 Forestry Policy, making forestry professions male-dominated. The revised Forestry Commission Act, 1999, Act 571, has not changed the practice and culture of the Forestry Commission even as it adopted a Gender Policy in 2004.
Research also points to the fact that the work culture and environment are not particularly gender-friendly. Socio-cultural perceptions characterise the work environment in the forestry sector as both male and female employees in the forestry sector believe there is not enough confidence placed in women as men are perceived to be more capable.
However, Ms Zuta said based on the activities the association developed, it would liaise with the National REDD+ Secretariat to find resources to champion some of the activities through the engagement of women and consultative processes.
REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation + Conservation of Forests, Sustainable Forest Management and Enhancement of Carbon Stocks) mechanism was designed to offer governments in developing countries an opportunity to contribute towards global efforts aimed at mitigating climate change by maintaining their forests.
In view of the expected harmattan, with its associated increase in bushfires, Ms Zuta said regional chapters of the association would be used to educate the public to reduce and prevent fire outbreaks.
She encouraged the public to nurture a passion for nurturing trees as their contribution to controlling deforestation.
The immediate past President of the association, Ms Edith Abrokwa, who gave an overview of the performance of the association during her tenure, urged its members to extend the same support she and her team received to the new executive.