Tuesday, March 11, 2008

‘Women’s Issues need resources’

‘Women’s Issues need resources’

Daily Graphic, Tuesday, March 11, 2008. Page 11 (Women’s World)

No Author indicated

The Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) has indicated that Ghana needs the required economic resources and political commitment to enable women to derive the optimum benefit from legislation and other policy documents that outline critical issues of women.

NETRIGHT pointed out that although the nation had made some gains in the area of legislative reform with the passage of the Domestic Violence Law last year, while The Women’s Manifesto for Ghana, a political document that critical issues of concern to Ghanaian women, had also been developed, the needed political will to translate these demands into concrete action for women’s socio-economic well-being was limited.

A statement issued and signed by Dr. Rose Mensah-Kutin, the NETRIGHT Convener, to mark the International Women’s Day (IWD), which was observed on March 8, said the IWD, celebrated every year on March 8 since 1975, offered the global community a unique opportunity to review the extent of advance struggle for that could be continued to unite, network and mobilise resources for meaningful change in society.

The statement said the theme for this year’s celebration, “Investing in Women and Girls,” was directly linked to other thematic issues of critical relevance to women being considered at the global level in 2008.

First of all the 52nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which met in New York from February 24-March 7, 2008, focused on the theme, “Financing for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.” The CSW, which meets annually for a period of 10 working days, is the key political body at the UN that monitors the promotion of women’s human rights.

The statement further indicated that Ghana was hosting the High Level Forum (HLF3) in September this year to assess progress in the implementation of the Paris Declaration (PD) on “Aid Effectiveness” and agree on a new “agenda for action.”

It was explained that the PD, which was adopted in March 20,2005 at a High Level Forum (HLF2) organised by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED), was now being implemented by about 25 multilateral institutions. It questioned whether the PD processes took gender issues into account and with what benefits and impacts for women’s well-being.

The statement touched on some national efforts being made in the area of economic policy-making and mentioned that for instance, the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (GPRS 1) had moved from being gender insensitive to a level where some gender considerations had been incorporated in the Growth and Poverty Strategy (GPRS 2).

It, however, said the actual gains for women at the practical level were ineffective due to the underlying neo-liberal frameworks of such policies and the lack of effective implementation and monitoring processes. “Reflecting on the situation of women brings into sharp focus our commitment to promoting gender equality in a transformatory way and the important but limited gains we have made in terms of securing real investments to enhance our socio-economic well-being,” it said.

The statement said in several areas, the capabilities and quality of life of Ghanaian women had worsened rather than improved. In the area of women’s reproductive health, several women in Ghana give birth without medical assistance especially in rural communities. It said, for example, the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (DHS 2003) said that only 21 per cent of the 92 per cent of women who were pregnant five years before the survey was conducted, had been seen by a doctor.

Touching on moves to enhance equal participation of men and women in politics and decision-making, the statement said some women had fought to have their voices heard and demonstrated their ability to contribute at different level to processes of broadening the democratic space.

“Yet this important development which has to be supported as a starting point for ensuring that a critical mass of women are present and active in transformational politics is being ignored and treated in a simplistic manner, with a narrow debate and focus on individual women and why they should or are not offering themselves as presidential candidates,” it pointed out.

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