<![CDATA[[caption id="attachment_7210" align="aligncenter" width="564"] Former First lady Mrs Rawlings played an instrumental role in ensuring gender equality and economic empowerment of women.[/caption] First lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo has paid a glowing tribute to Ghana’s former first lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and the Asante warrior, Yaa Asantewaa as well as other great women whose efforts have helped to bring about improved gender parity in the country. Addressing a group of women at special ceremony to commemorate International Women’s Day, Mrs Akufo-Addo said it was important for the nation to recognise women whose contributions got “us closer to gender parity” “It is important that as we forge on we remember many women who have made great contributions to get us closer to gender parity; women who have empowered other women and inspired us all,” she said. The first lady observed that while a lot of gains have been made towards gender parity in the country, there was still more to be done, noting a lot of factors including some customary laws are militating against such drive. “We still have a long way to go. There is so much to be done. Our women cannot wait any longer, our girls cannot wait any longer. We have customary laws that discriminates against women in ownership of lands. We still have violence against women,” she said. “We need more female voices in politics and policy making, we need more female voices in academia, industry, business, finance, agriculture, the art and many more areas,” she added. Mrs Akufo-Addo argued achieving gender parity and given women the dignity of economic independence should be the responsibility of women, especially those who have influence and are in key positions. The road to achieving that, she said, would be an arduous one but assured that Ghanaian women are up to the task “It is going to be a long arduous battle but I believe we are up to it; we should be the shoulders that other women stand on, we should be the voices for those who have no voice, we should be the army who fight to save other women,” She urged. Women, she said, are less likely to get financing and also lack the necessary support to participate in politics. She has thus underscored the need for more political inclusiveness of women in politics and decision making, saying “we cannot exclude the group that is more than Ghana’s population from political decision making. That is no way for us to develop”.