By Nana Akua Mensah, Communication Specialist
On May 5, 2022, the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) held the event “Empowering Women in Ghana’s Apparel Sector: Challenges and Success Strategies.” The event highlighted the work of three co-investment partners in the Ghanaian apparel sector—DTRT Apparel, Ethical Apparel Africa, and Global Mamas. The partners shared their experiences implementing structural policies that enable their majority women workers to thrive, a key objective of their Trade Hub-funded projects. The event convened representatives from USAID, the U.S. Embassy, other apparel companies in Ghana, and non-governmental organizations looking to empower women and women-owned businesses.
“Today’s event highlights the major shift underway in the structure of the global apparel industry. Buyers are actively diversifying their supply chains and seeking more competitive price points,” said Janean Davis, Acting Mission Director for USAID/Ghana in her opening remarks. “This presents a tremendous opportunity for economic growth in Ghana, and for Ghanaian women who have proven to be integral to the success of apparel companies DTRT, Global Mamas, and Ethical Apparel. USAID is proud to support them.”
The event, held at The Savannah in East Cantonments with more than 80 attendees, featured a keynote presentation from Ann Dela Apekey, Gender & Social Inclusion Manager of the Trade Hub, on the role of the private sector in advancing equity for women. This was followed by presentations on gender-inclusive workplace policies from Reuben Katako, Senior Operations Manager for Maagrace Garment Industries (an Ethical Apparel Africa partner); Patience Treve, Human Resource Director for Global Mamas; and Wasantha Perera, Global Chief Operating Officer for DTRT.
The event also included a Q&A session offering advice on how companies in the apparel sector could better support women and the role of the private sector in advancing gender equity and inclusion.
Vera Karikari Bediako, Principal Program Officer for the Department of Gender within the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, delivered closing remarks. The event wrapped up with a networking session for attendees to establish and continue to build on connections formed throughout the event.
“In order for the apparel business to thrive, the needle needs to move. And it’s the women workers who move the needle,” asserted Dorilyn Esi, Head of Human Resources at DTRT, who served on the panel discussion.
The economic empowerment of West African women is a key mandate of the Trade Hub. Thus, the organization is committed to providing support for co-investment partners to implement gender strategies and celebrating their successes in creating economic opportunities for women. Events like “Empowering Women in Ghana’s Apparel Sector” allow this support to extend to other organizations and individuals within targeted sectors, amplifying the impact of co-investment partnerships within the region and beyond.