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Politics Ghanaian women facing job discrimination for stretch marks and bleached skin

Could the fate of Ghanaian women soon be the plight of Nigerian women too?

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Stretch marks have now become a criteria for hiring candidates in Ghana Immigration Service. play

Stretch marks have now become a criteria for hiring candidates in Ghana Immigration Service.

(Medical News Today)

On Monday, January 9, 2018, BBC Pidgin reported that Ghana's Immigration Service is automatically disqualifying women with bleached skin, stretch marks and surgery cuts from its ongoing recruitment process.

A spokesman for the agency, Michael Amoako-Attah said the selection process is important in making sure that the hired staffs safety and wellbeing is assured.

Amoako-Attah was quoted as saying "If you have bleached skin or surgical marks on your body during training exercises you may incur some bleeding and that wouldn't help or augur well for the safety of the applicant because we have seen it before and as much as possible we should avoid re-occurrence."

Are women the only ones being disqualified in this selection process?

While there is much ado about these deliberate criteria which appears to discriminate against women who have bleached their skin or have stretch marks, they are not the only ones sieved out during the selection criteria.

In the criteria, men who have dreadlocks will also be excluded from the selection and recruitment process but while dreadlocks and bleached skin are choices made by the individuals, stretch marks are in most cases not.

There has been public backlash for the selection process because of the criteria but still, the Ghana Immigration Service has not wavered from its criteria that it has set. Some MPs in Ghana have urged disqualified applicants to take their complaints to court.

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Has this reduced the number of applicants?

The Ghana Immigration Service said that it had received 84,637 applications to fill 500 posts and that 47,477 had been shortlisted for the second stage. The applicants had to pay 50 Ghanaian Cedi ($11; £8) which earned the agency $880,000.

This is not the first time a state agency has discriminated against women based on their appearance. Other security agencies, such as the armed forces, have disqualified women for having what they considered to be big breasts and buttocks.

Although in the past Nigerian women have been unfairly treated in the labor sector due to their gender, they have not yet faced been faced with criteria which deters them from applying from jobs unlike their female counterparts in Ghana. It is unsure yet whether Nigerian agencies may wish to implement such criteria like their Ghanian counterparts.