Thank you, Mr Speaker,for the opportunity to comment on theStatement ably made by my HonColleague, the Hon Member for Ada. Iwould want to thank her for bringing thisissue to the floor of this Parliament. Mr Speaker, the theme for theStatement is, “Investing in Teenage Girls.”I find myself in this position today frombeing a teenage girl. This is somethingthat I would want to urge all and sundry,that if a person has a girl-child -- We arenot saying the boy-child is not important,but the theme today is on teenage girls. Ifmy parents had not invested in me, I wouldnot have been here. There are women inso many positions whose parentsinvested in them. So, I would want tourge all Ghanaians, that it is very useful. This is because, when the gril becomesa teenager, if she is not given the rightinformation, if she is not empowered andif she does not have the necessary thingsthat would make her grow into a goodperson or a healthy individual, her wholefamily would not get the benefit thatpeople might derive from investing inteenage girls. Mr Speaker, in some countries, when agirl reaches her adolescence, she is trainedto ensure that in future, she getssomething to do, so that the children thatshe would bear will also be well-cateredfor. It is true that both parents need to beeducated, but if the woman is educated,the benefits are more. Mr Speaker, in our part of the world,when a girl gets to the adolescent age,she is thought of being married off. Theparents sometimes see it as some sort of
Mr Speaker, I would also join my HonColleagues to thank our Hon Minister formaking this Statement concerning teenagegirls in the country. Mr Speaker, I hope we would all agreethat teenage girls that we have in thecountry contribute to the economicdevelopment of this nation. So, the morewe have them in the country, the betterfor the nation. But what is happeningtoday is that, we are not investing in them,for us to reap youthful benefits from theseteenage girls. We as men always go out there tomake them -- excuse me to say, pregnantand -- excuse me to use the word,“irresponsible” refuse to cater for themto continue the jobs or education they areundertaking. It is very essential for us as Ghanaiansand the world over, to take good care ofour teenage girls. This is because, weneed population in the country. If we talkabout agriculture, we need human beingsto go into agro production and agroprocessing. The only sector that couldprovide us with this population, as we arenot yet industrialised, is our teenagegirls. But if we impregnate them at tenderages when they have no experience andno jobs, we are actually damaging thenation as a whole. So, it is very essentialfor us as Ghanaians to take good care ofthese girls. With education, when they grow, andhave professional skills, this nation wouldbe economically stable for us to competeat international levels as other nations aredoing. Nations like Japan and otherEuropean countries, whose populationsare aging are afraid and even trying to getsome of our people there to continue towork in their industries.
-- I do not want to use the expressionthat they have some vehicle throughwhich they can make money. So, whetherthe girl likes it or not, they would ask herto get married to a rich man who can givethem money. We are all speaking against early andforced marriages. This is because, ifteenage girls are really empowered, itwould give us more benefits and the wholenation would develop this way. Mr Speaker, I also think that we shouldencourage people to know that, even inchild birth, if the person is educated, theperson takes it a little easier than thosewho are not educated. She knows herwhereabouts, she knows when to go tothe hospital and she knows when to usethe facilities available. But if the person isnot educated or empowered, it becomesvery difficult. That is why we have a lot ofmaternal deaths on our hands becausemajority of our girls are giving birthbetween the ages of 15 and 19, as theHon Minister who made the Statementsaid. So, Mr Speaker, the theme for thisyear's celebration is something that weall need to take into account and really dosomething about. We are only 275 out ofthe whole Ghanaian population, but wecan also do something. Investing inteenage girls is something the wholenation should look at and ensure thatteenage girls are empowered. With these few words, I thank you verymuch for the opportunity.