The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) as part of celebrating female soldiers has held a colourful all Female Parade on Friday 9 August 2019 at the RECCE Square in Burma camp in commemoration with the 60th Anniversary of females in the Armed Forces.
The occasion witnessed 208 able personnel from the Ghana Navy, Army and Air Force who had demonstrated professionalism, hard work and projecting a positive image of females in the Armed Forces as well as peace operations.
There was a display by the Armed Forces Music School Band with harmonious songs which left smiles on the faces of all present, especially, the riffle exercise, where troops used their riffle to inscribe a message which read “60 YRS HURRAY”.
Gracing the occasion on behalf of the President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo, the Chief of Staff at the Presidency, Hon Akosua Frema Osei-Opare in her address, commended the Contingent especially Maj Mercy Nyalegbe Addo (Rtd), of blessed memory who made history by being the brave nurturing woman to change the monotony of having an all-male military service in Ghana, hence, paved the way for a significant number of women into the military.
She noted that, there was roaring desire all around the world for women to take leadership roles in matters that affected them. She stressed that Ghana could pride itself of the record of employment of women in many spheres. She disclosed that, the programme for the 60 years celebration of female military service featured an Elsie Initiative Workshop held at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) which sought to address solution to the barriers of female participation in peace support operations.
Hon Osei-Opare further stated that, records indicate Ghana contributed a significant percentage of female peacekeepers that was close to the attainment of the United Nations recommended quota and that, the females were deployed in peace support operation in Lebanon, DR Congo, South Sudan, Mali, and Central African Republic either as observers or part of the attainment of formed troops.
To this end, she pledged the government’s political willpower and budgetary support to discharge roadmap of the ideals of gender equality. She then assured GAF of governments support to attain the recommended quota which would be done within the wider frame of making the Armed Forces vibrant and responsive to hold national and international obligations.
She said the impressive turnout and drill displayed by the all female contingents was an indication of their readiness to counter their male counterparts in the maintenance of peace and security. She added that, the military drill was a discipline that leads to coalition and harmony, and it displays the success of the Armed Forces in international security issues. She therefore, encouraged the female soldiers to work cohesively with their male counterpart and also, congratulated the men for the assistant rendered to the female soldiers thus far.
Awards were presented to the first female Naval Officer and first Director of the Civilian Establishment, Naval Captain Aboagyewaa Anokye Boakye and the first female markswoman in GAF, Petty Officer Class II (POII) Tsodo Mercy.
The second set of awards was presented to the first female to fly an helicopter Wing Commander Selasi Agbenyefia, and the first female in charge of Air Wing Centre who doubled as best Air woman for flying wing, WOI Doris Enyonam Awitor.
The last set of Awards presented by the Guest of Honour Hon Akosua Frema Osei-Opare was presented to the first female to be commissioned as Colonel in GAF, in the person of Col Faustina Cecilia Yeboah (Rtd). First female to drive a heavy vehicle and gained national recognition, in the person of EX WO II Owusu Helena.
An award was also presented to the first female General, Brig Gen Constance Edjeani-Afenu and finally to WO II Rosina Dogbatse, first female Amour Driver and engineer.
Present at the occasion were, the Defence Minister, Hon Dominic Nitiwul, Deputy Defence Minister, Hon Maj (Rtd) Derick Oduro, Service Chiefs, MP for Osu, Hon Dr Zenator Rawlings, the Elsie Initiative team, serving and retired Officers, and Civilians.