Founder of the Salt and Light Ministries, Dr Joyce Aryee, has challenged working women to still reach for their dreams even after giving birth.

For her, taking time off from work to deliver a child should not make women feel less of themselves or stop them from being at the top.

Speaking on Joy FM’s special edition of the Super Morning Show to commemorate International Women’s Day, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines said women can do even better after childbirth and that is what they should aim at.

Dr Aryee said “One of the first factors that I think as women, we should be bold and change, is the fact that we give birth and that slows us down.

“But we should boldly recognise that without the people we bring into the world, there is no world. Every nation’s development starts with a pregnant woman carrying the human capital that the nation needs and that is something we must recognise and be bold about,” she added.

The 8th of March every year is set aside to celebrate women across the world for their contribution to development.

The theme for this year’s celebration focuses on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. Women are being asked to #BeBoldForChange and to help forge a better working world - a more gender inclusive world.

With this, Dr Aryee believes working women should plan their lives in a manner that gives room for childbirth.

“And whiles we are giving birth and slowing down, we must pick up by studying to be better, so that when the children are at the age where they don’t need so much of our attention, our involvement in the world of work, makes us sharper than we were before.”

She added that the state also needs to recognise that pregnant women are the first item of development and therefore do everything to make sure that they are not stigmatized

On the legal side, private legal practitioner, Clara Beeri Kasser-Tee said women should take advantage of the freedoms provided in law for them and that taking time off to give birth should not affect their rise in an organization.

“The law doesn’t allow for the woman to be discriminated against or to be affected negatively because she decided to still help society by keeping the human race alive.”

Research, she said, has rather shown that employers are hesitant to employ women in their productive ages, because they are afraid that they will get pregnant and they will need maternity leave.

There is also research to show that women are not given a lot of other responsibilities which would have helped them to train themselves or hone their skills in management, which they would need when they rise to the top of the corporate ladder, she added.

For her, these fears are unfounded, because research also shows that “those factors don’t affect the company as much as the employers think.”

Mrs Kasser-Tee advised women not to let societal issues and personal inhibitions stop them from getting to the top.