Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Launch of Winning Songs: Changing Representations of Women in Popular Music


Launch of Winning Songs: Changing Representations of Women in Popular Music
Alison Roadburg*

On Saturday, 21st November 2009 the Launch of Winning Songs: Changing Representations of Women in Popular Music event was held at Alisa Hotel, Accra. This event was sponsored by the Pathways of Women’s Empowerment Research Project Consortium (RPC), West Africa Hub of the Center for Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA), and the University of Ghana. The purpose of the event was to share the three winning songs from a contest launched in April with the public. The competition looked for song entries that counter the stereotypical roles in which women are seen in the popular music industry. (Left to right: Dr Awo Asiedu, Kwabena Quaku and Prof. Akosua Adomako Ampofo. Photo Credits: Akofa A. Anyidoho)

Today, there are many songs that objectify women sexually, and that reinforce the need to be submissive, or that place them solely in the domestic sphere. The reality is that women have many characteristics, talents and responsibilities that are often ignored. Since the media and popular culture play such a large and influential role in our lives, we need to use these vehicles to transform the negative images and depictions of women. The Women in Popular Music project of the West Africa RPC launched the contest to catalyze such transformation.


After assessing the 26 submissions including 2 by women, a judging committee of 9 people from varying backgrounds and expertise chose the winning three songs based on a set of criteria that captured the lyrical strength, musical quality and innovation. Kwabena Quaku’s ‘As Long As You Are a Woman’, won the first place prize, Osei Korankye’s song, ‘Emmaa Mmo’ came in second and Born Africans, ‘Equal Rights’ was adjudged third. All artists were awarded a recording of their song, and the winner, Kwabena Quaku was also granted a music video.

The launch was informative, moving and inspiring. Ms. Jessica Opare-Saforo, from Citi FM was the MC for the event and she eloquently introduced the performers and various speakers.

(Jessica Opare-Saforo introduces Bibi Brew; Photo Credits- Geoffrey Buta)

The Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Kwesi Yankah made some comments about the way in which women are represented in popular culture and noted the importance of the University coming into town and linking up with those on the ground in their research.

Professor Takyiwaa Manuh, the Convener of the West Africa Hub of Pathways of Women’s Empowerment RPC, introduced project to the gathering. She explained that it is a under a five year contract sponsored by the UK Department for International Development and the Norwegian Foreign Affairs ministry which seeks to explore the complex pathways that women around the world have traveled to empower themselves. (Prof. Takyiwaa Manuh, speaking about Pathways WE RPC at the event the Photo Creidts: Kwabena Danso)

Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo, the head of CEGENSA introduced the Centre, explaining its mandate, areas of specialty and functions at the University of Ghana. She explained the purpose of the Popular Music Project highlighting the importance of the song competition. She drew on some artists, such as Miriam Makeba and Bono from U2 as socially conscious messages, as well as successful musicians.

Two students from the University of Ghana recited poetry on women’s empowerment and another student from SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College sang a song titled, “Amazing.” Ms. Bibie Brew, a veteran musician, excited the audience with strong rendition of some popular old tunes.

The evening continued with the performance of all three songs as well as Kwabena Quaku’s song video. ‘As Long As You Are a Woman’ highlights influential and prominent female figures who are appreciated members of society because of their work and expertise--not their bodies. The audience surely felt the energy from all of the performances, and many left their seats to dance!

(Kwabena Quaku singing "As Long as You are a Woman" at the Event)
(Photo Credits: Geoffrey Buta)

Pathways and CEGENSA is bringing about change. The time has come to look at the messages that are being spread in today’s popular music and to look closely at how these differ from reality!! ‘The Launch of Winning Songs: Changing Representations of Women in popular Music’, was a gateway to this change, but it should not stop there. We need to facilitate the composition of songs that positively reflect women and their diverse roles in society.

(Dancing to old tune renditions by Bibi Brew; Photo Credits; Geoffrey Buta)


(The Ghana Dance Ensemble dancing 'Adowa,' a local dance of the Akans.)

*Alison Roadburg is a recent graduate of McGill University, Canada and is research intern at The Center for Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA) at the University of Ghana, Legon.




Tuesday, December 1, 2009

PRESS STATEMENT ON ALLEGED GANG RAPE OF FOUR GIRLS

Following the horrid news report on the alleged rape of girls in Nalerigu, in the northern parts of Ghana by some soldiers, NETRIGHT issued a statement to the press about these atrocities. Permission has been sought to share the press statement on this blog. Please read below:



NETWORK FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN GHANA (NETRIGHT)

C/O Third World Network-Africa
P. O. Box 19452, Accra-North
Tel: 233 21 511189/500419/503669
Fax: 233 21 511188
Email: netright@twnafrica.org
Mobilising for Women’s Rights in Ghana



STATEMENT TO THE PRESS ON ALLEGED GANG RAPE OF FOUR GIRLS

The Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) is deeply disturbed by the alleged gang rape of four girls, aged between 15 and 17 at Nalerigu in the Northern Region by a number of solders and policemen who are said to have been deployed there to quell a public disorder. The story as reported on Joy FM on November 25, 2009 and also in the Daily Guide of November 26, 2009 comes in the wake of several other stories in the media about women and girls who have been subjected to a wide range of sexual violence including gang rape, beatings, torture with the possible threat of HIV infection. Such victims have sustained severe physical and emotional trauma and humiliation. Clearly we are living through a plague of brutal violence directed at women and girls with rape being used as a weapon of intimidation to instill fear in women and girls, in our families and our communities.

NETRIGHT is therefore using this platform to condemn this pattern of horrendous rape because violence is a wrong choice and as the evidence shows, sexual violence can transmit the AIDS virus. Thus for the girls who have suffered this brutal and unacceptable treatment, there is a double jeopardy: first they have been raped, and then there is the possibility of their contracting HIV/AIDS. What this pattern of behaviour shows is that violence against women and girls continue unabated in our country as we hear a story of rape or defilement almost every day. In this latest wave of violence, what is even more worrying is the link of rape with torture. In this particular story, one of the girls has alleged that she was tortured while being raped. Thus, the reality of this situation is that the girls – the victims – are definitely terrified, in tears, with broken relationships, liable to be stigmatized in their communities, and the attendant ill- health and psychological damage to them is extensive and irreparable.
The men who have committed this crime belong in prison. But NETRIGHT is concerned that vested interests will once again ensure the denial of justice to these young girls in the attempt to protect the perpetrators who are alleged to belong to powerful institutions such as the military and the police. We therefore urge civil society and women’s groups to condemn this rape and to demand justice.

We therefore demand:
* The safety and security of the girls and their families to be ensured;
* The victims and their families be allowed to exercise their fundamental rights of legal counsel of their own choosing in all proceedings related to the case;
* To be provided all medical care required for their well-being
* To interact freely with women’s rights and human rights organisations
* An inquiry to be held to establish why the military and the police went to that particular house where the girls live
* All proceedings to be made transparent, allowing observers from women’s rights and human rights organisations and doctors’ associations;
* The names of the perpetrators be made public and those of the victims protected;
* Those who obstruct justice to be apprehended and prosecuted under the law.

NETRIGHT insists that the military and the police are supposed to protect women and men in the society. However in many situations such as this, gender-based violence is overlooked, often due to the lack of implementation of existing legislation or by its being seen as a private matter. Implementation and enforcement of legislation is vital but it is also necessary to put a stop to laws that emphasise family reunification over the rights of women and girls. The government has a responsibility to intervene when there is systematic and widespread gender-based violence. By identifying violence against women as a national security threat, it increases the chances of preventing wider conflicts at an early stage.

NETRIGHT also has the conviction that gender-equal participation at all levels of society is key in order to assure women and girls’ security. We would therefore like to reaffirm our support for the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 on Women, Peace and Security, and Ghana’s Domestic Violence Law (Act 732) and call for their full and immediate implementation to benefit women and girls.

Issued this day, November 27, 2009 at Accra.

Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin
Convenor

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Poor Economy gives grounds for domestic violence

Poor Economy gives grounds for domestic violence

Daily Graphic, Saturday, 28th November, 2009; Page 19, (News)
Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho


The Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Emile Francis Short, has noted tat the resent economic situation in the country is fertile ground for perpetrating domestic violence.

“the current economic situation exerts pressure that can culminate in an explosive situation in the average home and lead to gender-based violence, with the least provocation serving as the last straw,” he said.

Mr Short said this at a ceremony orgainsed by the Ghana Human Rights NGOs Forum in Accra to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which forms part of activities marking 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (GBV).

The 16 days of Activism is celebrated internationally from November 25 to December 10 every year as part of efforts to end GBV across the world.

According to the CHRAJ Commissioner, there was need to educate the general public right down to the grass roots in order to inculcate attitudes acknowledging the dignity and worth of women.

He also called for the strengthening of institutional mechanisms so that women and girls could reports acts of violence against them in a safe and confidential environment, free from fear of penalties or retaliation, and file charges.

Mr Short also said that there was need to disseminate information on the assistance available to women and families who were victims of violence as well as develop programmes and procedures to educate and raise awareness of acts of violence against women that constituted a crimes and a violation of the human rights of women.

According to him, as a way of helping curb domestic violence, CHRAJ had established a specialized Women and Children’s Unit at its headquarters where it received and processed a myriad of cases that impinged directly on the rights of women and children.

He said in 2007, the commission received 1, 923 cases, as against 1,684 in 2008, with complaints in respect of wife battery standing at 66 in 2007 and 145 in 2008, adding that the situation was a clear indication that issues of violence against women were on the increase in the country.

The Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs, Ms Akua Sena Densua, in her keynote address, said the campaign to end GBV was a collective responsibility that required concerted efforts from all.

She said the ministry was ready to collaborate with all NGOs, parliamentarians and institutions to help curb GBV in the country.

A representative form the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Irene Oppong, in an address, said the unit handled 4,616 cases of domestic violence across the country.

Speaking on the criminal implications of domestic violence she called on the victims to ensure that they reported such cases early so that the evidence can be collected for prosecution.

In a speech read on her behalf, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Hannah Tetteh, said her outfit would come up with its industrial policy and sector support programme in which the economic empowerment of women would be addressed.

The President of the Ghana Human Rights NGOs Forum, Mr Peter Osei Badu, in an address said it recognized the global economic crisis and it adverse effects on developing countries but added that it would be a human rights abuse when budgetry allocation for human rights institutions such as CHRAJ were cut down, saying that would affect their activities in the fight against domestic violence.


Monday, November 23, 2009

The Winners of the Popular Song Competition are:


1. Collins Amponsah a.k.a. Kwabena Quaku: As Long As You are a Woman

Kwabena Quaku with his guitar, during a video shoot. (Photo Credits: Akofa Anyidoho)


Kwabena Quaku receives his award from Prof. Kwesi Yankah, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana.
TVO Lamptey, Dennis Abeiku, Diana Hopeson, Akosua Adomako Ampofo, Takyiwaa Manuh, Nana Dansowaa Kena-Amoah and JH Nketia- Left to Right
(Photo Credits: Kwabena Danso)



2. Osei Korankye: Mmaa Moo
Diana Hopeson, President of MUSIGA, supported by Dennis Abeiku hand over Osei Koranye's award
(Photo Credits: Kwabena Danso)

Osei Korankye sings with his Seprewa and the band in the Background
(Photo Credits: Kwabena Danso)


3. Nana Kweku Antwi Asamoah a.k.a Born Africans: Equal Rights
Leslie Hammond supports Nana Dansowaa Kena-Amoah as she gives Born Africans his award.
(Photo Credits: Kwabena Danso)


Collins and the ladies at a video shoot
(Photo Credits: Akofa Anyidoho)

Left to Right: Takyiwaa Manuh (the Covenor of the West Africa Hub), Diana Hopeson (President of MUSIGA), Kwabena Quaku, Prof Akosua Adomako Ampofo (co-lead reseracher for Chnaging Representations of Women in Popular Music Project).
(Photo Credits: Akofa Anyidoho)


*** CLICK ON EACH OF THE IMAGES TO VIEW A LARGER SIZE. Read more about there event here!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Money allocated for gender equity hardly used

Money allocated for Gender Equity Hardly Used

Accra, Oct. 15, 2009 - GNA - A Research conducted by the Ghana Partnership Resource Review, a research group, has indicated that out of US$3.21 million allocated to the social protection sector, only US$390,000 was used for the intended purpose.

This meant that although key donors adopted a gender mainstreaming approach, it was difficult for them to concretely determine what impact their aid was having on Gender Equity (GE) in the country. Addressing participants attending a workshop organized on Thursday by the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS) as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations, Ms Afua Ansre, National Programme Coordinator of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), attributed the lack of commitment to GE as one of the main reasons for the slow rate of development in the country.

She said Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB), if properly implemented, would bring tremendous improvement to the lives of women who constituted the bulk of the marginalized and the poor. Gender Responsive Budgeting represents a special type of policy-making that enables budgets or money allocation to become effective tools for advancing gender equity or to ensure that women participated fully or advanced in all sectors of society.

Ms Ansre called on the government to have to a detailed plan for women in the country and to ensure that requirements for the plan reflected in the nation's budget especially at the district level. "According to the Institute of Social, Statistical and Economic Research (ISSER), the least area of government investment in 2008 was in the area of agriculture, and that is where you find the poorest people of Ghana - women crop farmers," she added. The Coordinator bemoaned the high level of maternal and infant mortality in the country, the significant number of girls dropping out of school especially in the rural areas, and the abysmal number of women parliamentarians the nation has.

She intimated that UNIFEM was in the process of building teams of experts to help support the growing desire for GRB at the district and national levels.

Highlighting the importance of GRB, Mr Roland Mordey, Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), said this included the provision of feedback to the government on whether it was meeting the needs of the marginalized and the realization of women's rights. Mr Mordey said it had also been established that the good implementation of GRB led to real growth in the Gross Domestic product of any nation.

He said Ghana's experience on GRB started recently, adding that in 2008, MOWAC received cabinet approval to pilot the implementation of the GRB in the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. To this effect, MOWAC put in place all the needed requirements to ensure that next year, GRB would be implemented in the three ministries as well as all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies whereby they would allocate a percentage of their financial allocations to support gender programmes.

"To this effect, MOWAC in August 2009 organised a GRB training workshop for 16 selected MDAs including 45 participants from the budgeting and planning sections of the MDAs who were trained in Gender Concepts, Gender Analysis, and Budgeting Systems in the country," he said.

The workshop, which was under the theme "Making Local Level Budgeting More Gender Responsive", was attended by representatives from the Ministries and other civil society organizations.


Source: Ghana News Agency


Saturday, September 26, 2009

How Nkrumah Empowered Women

How Nkrumah Empowered Women
Daily Graphic, Saturday, September 26, 2009, Page 32
Salome Donkor

The role of women in politics and other public offices is one of the burning governance issues, largely because of the perceived and acknowledged potential and contribution of women to governance.

A recent study by Dr Beatrix Allah-Mensah of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, Legon, on Women in Politics and Public Life indicated that there was ample evidence to substantiate the indispensable role women played in the prelude to independence an immediately after it.

The study revealed that role of women was evident in they support they gave to the main political party of the time, the Convention People’s Party (CPP), and it is also on recode that women traders were keen supporters of the CPP government and also offered financial assistance and supportive services.

Soon after the formation of the CPP in 1949, for instance some of them, notably Akua Asabea, stood shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts like Kofi Baako and Sacki Scheek as they toured the country and addressed large rallies to spread the message of ‘Independence Now’ for Ghana.

Hanna Cudjoe, for instance, did not only heroically rally the people behind the independence struggle, but also went a step ahead in establishing day care centres and day nurseries.

She worked extensively in the northern Ghana under the direction of Dr Nkrumah, who gave her the task of convincing women in certain parts of northern Ghana to discard some outmoded cultural [practices] in the area.

During the early period of the struggle in May 1951, the CPP appointed Hanna Cudjoe, Ama Nkrumah, Letitia Quaye and Sophia Doku as propaganda secretaries with the responsibilities of organizing the CPP Women’s League.

Under the League, the women were divided into subsections at branch and ward levels. They organized rallies, dances, picnics as strategies to mobilise more people for early independence delayed by the colonialists for about a century.

Hanna Cudjoe was the Head of the Ghana Women’s League, and in 1960, the Women’s League and the Ghana Federation of Women, led by Evelyn Amartefio were merged to form the Nation Council of Ghana Women (NCGW) to replace the women’s section of the CPP.

The women’s movement was inaugurated by Dr Nkrumah on September 10, 1960 as the only organization under which all Ghanaian women were to be organized to help achieve government post-independent political, social, economic and educational development of Ghana. The party leadership, therefore, institutionalised the initiative by making constitutional provisions for women’s league at the branch and ward levels as the main organising framework for women in the party. It was, therefore, not surprising that the party gave credit to women for the internal solidarity, cohesion and success of the CPP.

Mention could also be made of the role of Dr Mrs Letitia Obeng an educationist, and other women who were nurses, broadcasters, judgers and lawyers who became part and parcel of the independence struggle.

Though not visible like their male counterparts in the frontline, the female politicians, nonetheless, provided a vanguard force, rallying their families, communities, trade and various interest group s to join the struggle for national independence.

Allah-Mensah’s writing on ‘Women and Politics in Ghana 1993-2003,’ cited in a book titled “One Decade of Liberal State” and edited by Kwame Boafo-Arthur (2007), states that the action was largely responsible for the development of the women’s wing of the party and also for youth organisation. She records that women were efficient organisers who could bring thousands of people together for a rally at very short notice.

A paper written by Ms Joyce Rosalind Aryee, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, on the “Contribution of Women to Ghana’s Independence and Democratic Governance,” dated March 2007 and quoted in the study by Dr Allah-Mensah, pointed out that Dr Nkrumah’s political success was based on the foundation set for women by the CPP.

It said in 1949, many benevolent and mutual associations, credit unions and market voluntary groups sprang up and became staunch supporters of Dr Nkrumah and the CPP in general. It said those, though were not the forefront of the independence struggle, were involved in activities which were politically significant.

The contribution of women to the political struggle caught the eyes of the leadership of CPP and by May 1951, the party had appointed four women, namely Letitia Quaye, Sophia Doku, Hanna Cudjoe and Ama Nkrumah as press secretaries charged with the duty of organizing women.

In spite of the roles of women in the political struggle, there was no woman in Cabinet when Ghana attained republican status, but the contribution of women to Ghanaian politics after independence, resulting in the introduction of the Representation of the People (Women Members) Bill in 1960. The bill was passed and it received the Governor-general’s assent of June 16, 1960.

Through the act, 10 women were elected unopposed as Members of Parliament (MPs) in June 1960. They were Susana Al-Hassan, Ayanori Bukaru and Victoria Nyarko, all representing the Northern Region, Sophia Doku and Mary Korateng, Eastern Region and Regina Asamany, Volta Region.
The rest were Grace Ayensu and Christiana Wilmot, Western Region, Comfort ASamoah, Ashanti Region and Lucy Anim, Brong Ahafo. That made Ghana one of the first African countries to introduce a quota system for women.

In 1965, Dr Nkrumah appointed Madam Susana Al-Hassan as the Minister of Social Welfare and Community Development, while others were appointed as district commissioners.

Over the past five decades after Ghana’s independence, the representation of women in local and national level politics as well as in others areas of decision making indicated that there is still much to done to ensure an effective representation of women in politics and other equally important sectors.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Do pastors really have the cure for HIV/AIDS?

Commentary: Do pastors really have the cure for HIV/AIDS? Cultural beliefs and often times lack of funds prevent ordinary Ghanaians from seeking medical help when they get sick and for a long time. For some, it's much cheaper and easier to consult a pastor or a herbalists with often results in no recovery. The article below is an interesting read, especially with the current trend where pastors claim to have 'cures' for all kinds of diseases and their followers believe them. In most of such churches the majority of the followers and therefore, victims, are women.


‘My pastor said he’d healed me of HIV’

The Ghanaian Times, Wednesday, September 16, 2009, Page 7
Titania Kumeh

Akrong Seth’s pastor at church told him that he had cured him of HIV and then assured him it was not necessary to visit a clinic.

When Seth visted a doctor and was informed that he was still HIV positive, he called the physician a liar. “The pastor has cured me,” he said. “And I kept pumping into women.” He did not use condoms.

He attended the church for two years, and spent more than GH¢4,000 paying the pastor for various treatments. Seth finally confronted the pastor after his wife became infected with the virus. “When I told [the pastor] that I was HIV positive and my wife as positive, he (pastor) told me that foreign blood had come to me.”

It wasn’t until Seth witness the death of hundreds of people that he finally returned to his doctor to be placed on anti-retroviral drugs, which he has been using for five years. The 57-year-old has been infected with HIV for 17 years, and continues to live with his wife at Korle-Bu. His experience motivated him to campaign for HIV awareness. “In 1982, I was going around churches and villages telling them that HIV is real. If you follow the pastor, you will lose your life. Anyone who tells you that ‘I have a cure’ is a liar.”

Despite the high knowledge of how to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS infections, many Ghanaians continue to relay on traditional cultural beliefs to avoid the disease, according to UN officials. This misinformation and denial is killing people.

Esi Awotwi, National HIV/AIDS Programme Officer at the United Nation’s Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), says reducing the stigma associated with the illness, encouraging people to get tested and improving access to anti-retroviral medications and other HIV services are the primary ways of fighting the spread of HIV?AIDS in Ghana. She acknowledges that some cultural ideas and behaviours are impeding these remedies. “We will still have some people visiting herbalists, people still visiting prayers camps for a cure,” she says.

Gifty Torkunu, went to a church to get anointed for a cure when she was diagnosed with HIV six years ago. “I was given two bottles of anointed oil and I drank and I vomited and the pastor told me that I had vomited the virus,” Torkunu, 45, says. She repeated the practices five times, returning to the church for the treatments, before she learned of her HIV-positive status from a doctor, joined a support group and began to take conventional medicine.

“Because of my denial,” she says, “my son died four months ago after becoming infected through my breast milk.”

“The problem we have in this country is that we are God-fearing people,” Torkunu says. “Any problem we have to take it to God, so whatever pastors says, we do. Some people are convinced that if I pray or if I do this without the anti-retroviral drugs, you will be cured. But if God will cure me, it will surely come from above not from the pastor.”

She explained that traditionally in Ghana, people with HIV are thought to be bewitched. “they wouldn’t take you to the hospital. But if you don’t know your status, and think, ‘I don’t know, so I must be oaky,’ you are defeating yourself.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Five years after ‘Women’s Manifesto’

Five years after ‘Women’s Manifesto’
Daily Graphic, Tuesday, 1st September, 2009, Page 11, Gender and Children
Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho

Five years ago, a group of gender activists came together to compile a document which spelt out their concerns on the “insufficient attention given to critical issues affecting women” in relation to women in decision-making as well as socio-economic issues.

Known as the ‘Women’s Manifesto’ the document spells out issues that confront women in Ghana and makes demands on governments for addressing them, serves as a working document to the government.

The inauguration of the document on September 2, 2004, also gave birth to the formation on the ‘Women’s Manifesto Coalition,’ a group which seeks to monitor how the government addresses the needs fo women and also advocates the need for greater attention for women in all spheres of life.

As Ghana is a signatory to many international conventions and treaties, such as the Convention of the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), it behoves the government to ensure that it fulfills the mandates that it has assented in order to improve the lives of women in the country.

The Women’s Manifesto provides a platform of a common set of demands which are on ‘women’s economic empowerment,’ ‘women and land,’ ‘women, social policy and social development,’ ‘women in politics, decision-making and public life,’ ‘women, human rights and the law,’ ‘discriminatory cultural practices,’ ‘women, conflict and peace,’ ‘women with special needs,’ and ‘institutions with a mandate to promote women’s rights,’ all towards the achievement of gender equality and sustainable national development.

Initiate by ABANTU for Development, a non-governmental organisation, and supported by other gender-based non-governmental organizations and civil society groups, the manifesto aims at helping women to articulate their concerns during periods of election, provide information for people concerned about the need to achieve gender equity, and also to encourage political parties to be more accountable for respective needs of men and women as contained in their manifestoes.

Significant achievements made after the launch of the manifestos include the passage of the Domestic Violence Act, the Human Trafficking Act and the Disability Act. Furthermore the ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC) has set up a fund to support women who intend participating in local government elections.

A law has been passed to abolish Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), trokosi and other obnoxious cultural practices which are detrimental to the health and well-being of women.

However, according to the Convenor of the Women’s Manifesto, Mrs. Hamida Harrison, the biggest challenge currently facing the coalition in ensuring that gender equality and equity was achieved as spelt out in the manifesto, was in the area of women’s economic empowerment. She said although the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy II (GPRS II) factored in a bit of gender concerns, GPRS I did not, stressing that a number of women still encountered numerous challenges in their bid to access land and financial resources for viable projects.

She also said other socio-cultural factors made it impossible for the large number of women in the informal sector to compete with their male counterparts.

Through advocacy, some women have been able to break trough in the political arena but according to Mrs. Harrison, much still needed to be done through Affirmative Action (AA) to help ush more women into decision-making positions. She said as part of the celebration of the five years of the inauguration of the Women’s Manifesto, the coalition would intensify advocacy on AA to motivate political parties to initiate campaigns at the grassroots to field more women in areas considered safe seats.

She said the coalition was also in the process of reviewing the manifesto to ensure that it re-echoes some of the concerns which had not yet been addressed, as well as ensure that new demands were incorporated into the reviewed version, saying that the coalition, was “critical of the pace taken by authorities in promoting women’s rights and gender equality in the country.”

She expressed hope that as the government has indicated that there would be the need to review the 1992 Constitution, the process would be open, participatory, consultative and transparent so that ordinary people can also make inputs.

‘Don’t force children into marriage’

‘Don’t force children into marriage’
Daily Graphic, Tuesday, 1st September, 2009, Page 11, Gender and Children
Maxwell Adomilla Akalaare

A Senior Investigator of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Mohammed Tiamiyu, has reminded parents that it is a criminal offence for them to force their daughters aged below 18 year into marriage. He made the statement at a day’s sensitation forum on domestic violence organised by the Department of Women at Palengu in the Talensi/Nabdam District in the Upper East Region.

Mr. Tiamiyu re-emphasised that the 1992 Constitution, as well as provisions of the Criminal Code, the Domestic Violence Law and the Children’s Act, protected all children, particularly the girl-child, against such practices that constituted abuse of their rights, and warned that the Commission and the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service would not hesitate to prosecute perpetrators of such acts.

He said the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) policy made it mandatory for every child to be in school, adding that by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Children’s Act, a child is a person below age 18.

The acting Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Women, Madam Mercy Atule, said the country ability to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) was being hampered by various forms of domestic violence perpetrated against the vulnerable group, especially women and children.

She said since women formed more than 50 per cent of the nation’s population, the nation’s development would be hampered if women were not empowered with the needed resources and given the needed opportunities to participate in the development process. She [expressed remorse at] the cultural set up in some parts of the country gave undue advantage to men to discriminate against women and violate their rights.

Madam Atule explained that domestic violence referred to in homes and communities that had physical, traumatic and psychological effects on the victims. She said the regional office of OVVSU recorded a high incidence of domestic violence and forced marriages within the Pelungu community, and had therefore, decided to educate and sensitise them to their negative effects through the forum.

In speech read on her behalf, the Talensi/Nabadam District Chief Executive, Mrs Vivian Anafo, advised parent to desist from hiding under the pretence of poverty to forcibly send the daughter to the southern part of the country to work as female porters (Kayayee).

As part of the programme, a drama was performed by the Palengu Young Drama Group on the effects of gild-child elopement on education and the community as a whole.

Stop violence against girls

Stop violence against girls
Kofi Asare
Public Agenda, 31st August, 2009

Located at the heart of Central Regional capital, Cape coast is the Adisadel Primary and Junior High School, one of the most popular basic schools in Cape coast, a city regarded as the cradle of education in Ghana. Cape coast boasts of the finest education institutions.80 kilometres afar towards the northern part of the region is a community called Tintimhwe, a cocoa growing community with a basic school-Tintimhwe D/A primary school. Unlike the usual characteristic differences between rural and urban schools-quality school buildings, qualified teachers school library etc, there is characteristic similarity between the two schools in question-The lack of school toilets.

Perhaps another similarity, neither structural nor physical but attitudinal is that girls in both schools visit the bushes to attend to natures call whenever they are in school, and exposes them to the dangers of sexual and other forms of physical and psychological violence. This writer is convinced that among the regular patronizers of the bush (popularly called free range) are narcotics and alcoholics who care very little about sexual rights and the dignity of girls. The fear of the above also affects retention in school.

The Big lottery (U.K) Funded Stop Violence Against Girls in School project is concerned about making the school environment safer for girls through the institution and enactment of the requisite policies and legislations that focus specifically on alleviating violence tendencies against girls in school. On the occasion of Children's Day in Ghana, it is time to pause and reflect on the state of child protection, survival and development policies and practices in Ghana, with a central focus, Violence Against Girls in school.

Article 4 of the International Convention on the rights of the child, which has been ratified by Government of Ghana states that "The State shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present convention....With regard to economic, social and cultural rights which includes the right to education. The right of access to free quality basic education for all children, especially girls is fundamental to promoting the survival and development of children in Ghana. Of tremendous concern however are issues of quality and gender. Ghana missed out of the gender parity target of 1:1 in 2005 and has since not been able to equate the number of boys to the number of girls enrolled in school. The issue is similar when it comes to retention. Boys have a higher retention and completion rate in basic schools than girls and this affect the performance of girls in the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE).

A careful observation and analysis of the situation indicates the lack of separate toilets for girls as a major cause of absenteeism for girls in schools. Adequate toilet facilities require the provision of separate and decent toilets and urinals for boys and girls in school. In 2008, the Ministry of Education reported that only 48% out of the total number of 13,247 primary schools have access to toilet facilities in Ghana with the highest proportion of primary schools with toilets (90%) in Tema and the lowest (10%) in Kintampo South District. At the Junior High School Level, only 52% of public schools had toilets with the highest (93%) in Dangbe West in the Greater Accra Region and the lowest (9%) in the Juabeso district in the Western Region.

The absence of toilets for girls does not only affect school attendance but also contributes to the denial of their right to dignity and quality education. The national completion rate for boys at the primary level is 91% whereas that of girls is 79% which suggests that boys have 10% additional chances of completing primary school than girls. This is the reason why the gender parity ration is 1:0.96 as against the target of 1:1 that was missed as far back as 2005. The situation is attributed mainly to the absence of a comprehensive and operational infrastructural policy of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, enventhough the ministry claims there exist one on the face but has seen little or no implementation and coordination.

The result of the apparent laxity in implementing and coordinating the said policy (if it exists at all) is to blame for the over 16,000 basic schools without toilets. Before i proceed to make any recommendations to the Government, i would like to humbly request of the Ghana Education Service to inform Ghanaians on what it has been up to all these years, until the realization that up to 48% of our basic schools have no toilets. Did this happen overnight? ...What about the past Parliamentary Select Committees on education and gender? .... And the Ministry of Women and Children. Were they aware our children, especially girls had no toilets in schools, and still expected them to pass and pass well? If they were aware, what did they do? What about the District Chief Executives who have led this county in the past....How did they feel in awarding school contracts that had no toilets at all? Children are a vulnerable group...with no voice and whose rights need to be protected and provided for. In that respect any person who attempts consciously or ignorantly acts in a manner as to deprive them of their right to dignity, development and survival cannot escape without blame.

This year's Children's Day should signal the time for action. First, no recommendation will work until our institutions are strengthened and do act professionally .Ghana needs strong institutions who can prevent even an N.G.O from building a school in a locality just because it has no toilet facility in its design ; a Ghana Education Service that can prevent District Assemblies from building schools without separate toilets for girls..or a Ghana Education Service that can lobby and advocate for the inclusion of girl friendly facilities at the District Level. This is what we need.....An Education Service that can leverage the political interest of politically motivated DCE's and the real development needs of the child ,especially girls...and a Civil Society that can monitor District Assemblies to make sure they implement infrastructure policies of the Ministry of Education.

The Ministry of Education should collaborate with the GETFund, Social Investment Fund, International Donors and other funding agency in basic school infrastructure to adopt a common school design which includes separate toilets and changing rooms for girls. The support of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education could be sought n this respect, to facilitate the harmonization of institutional interests between the Ministry of Local Government , Education, Women and children. This should not be left for the Infrastructure Coordinating Unit of the Ministry. It should be at the Ministerial level with the participation of the Infrastructure Unit. After interagency consensus has been achieved on the policy, the Infrastructure Unit may now commence the actual work for which it was set up-monitor and coordinate compliance of District Assemblies to the infrastructure policy. The unit may seek a court order to prevent any District Assembly from putting up any school building without strict recourse to the infrastructural policy for basic schools.

What about the over 16,000 schools already built without toilets? District Assemblies should be encouraged to come out with collaborative strategies to construct separate toilets for girls in such schools. This could be done by community-District Assembly partnerships where the DA's will provide cement and roofing sheets for such projects, with the communities donating labour, wood, and other local resources available. On children's day, the 31st of August, the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition as part of the Stop Violence Against Girls in School project wishes to entreat all and sundry to renew our commitment as a nation to making the school environment and the world a safer place for children. Long Live the Children of Ghana. Long Live Education For All. Long Live Ghana.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Women form housing cooperatives

Women form housing cooperatives
Daily Graphic, Saturday, 8th August, 2009, Page 11, (Gender and Children)
Kofi Yeboah

The Accra Metropolitan Department of Cooperatives has organised a workshop for low-income earning women in Accra on how to access land and undertake building projects.

About 100 participants drawn from Old Fadama and Ayidiki attended the workshop, which was aimed at organising the women into housing cooperatives to mobilise funds internally to acquire land and undertake building projects using the cooperative principles.

It was supported by the Ghana Women Land Access Trust (GAWLAT), an intermediary organisation of UN Habitat.

In an address, the Accra Metropolitan Director of Cooperatives, Mr John Nyarko, urged the women to come together as one group and use the credit union savings concept to improve their businesses and own houses.

The Tema Metropolitan Director of Cooperatives, Mr Godwin Gogovi, told the participants to be mindful of the fact that in every group, conflict was likely to emerge, but the most important thing was for the leaders to address such conflicts in manner that would break up the group.

A retired Chief Technical Officer at the Lands Valuation Board, Mr Arnold Gadogbe, took the participants through the process of acquiring and registering land.

Member of GAWLAT who also shared thoughts with the participants were Mrs Harriet Gyebi-Taylor, Ms Sarah Savage, Ms Joana Ofori, Coordinator and Mrs Kakra Hagan, Consultant.

The Tema Metropolitan Director of Cooperatives will later organise similar workshops at Ashiaman for participants from Ningo and Kpone Katamanso.

Four other workshops, two in Kasoa and two in Ada, have been lined up, after which a leadership training programme will be organized for the leaders of the groups.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

MOWAC to assist women in elections

Ministry to assist women in elections
Daily Graphic, Saturday, 8th August, 2009, Page 11, Gender and Children
Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho

The Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs is working on a programme to identify at least 20 potential women in each district to prepare them for the 2010 district and 2012 elections.

The women will be given the needed training and support which will enable them to compete effectively with their male counterparts during the elections to help increase the participation of women in decision-making positions in the country.

The sector Minister, Ms Akua Sena Densua, who made this known in a speech read on her behalf at the opening of the fourth biennial conference of District Assembly Women in Accra, said there was the need ‘to surmount the challenges that have restrained women from active participation in decision-making for so long.’

The conference, which was organized by ABANTU for Development and ActionAid-Ghana, on the theme, “Expanding space for women’s empowerment,” brought together women from across the country to brainstorm on topics such as ‘Critical gender issues in climate change debate,’ ‘Critical gender issues in income security,’ and ‘Critical gender issues in the oil and gas sector.’

The minister’s speech, read on her behalf by the Gender Officer at the Ministry, Ms Evelyn Agyemfra Asiedu, indicated that the government was also reviewing the affirmative action policy which is aimed at increasing women’s participation in decision-making to 40 per cent to positively increase the number of women in governance.

She said the attainment of most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including goal three, which talks about the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, goal four, which talks about reducing under-five [years old] mortality and goal fiver, which talks about the improvement of maternal health, all required the active collaboration of women for their successful implementation.

The Head of ABANTU for Development, Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, said organizing such conferences was necessary, as gender and local governance issues were directly linked to broader national contextual issues.

She said the conference would help create a forum where women could expand the space for self and collective empowerment to enhance participation and effectiveness in their in their own localities, as well as in the overall national governance process.

She said the conference would enable participants to draw strength from one another, as well as forge appropriate strategies to increase women participation in governance.

The Country Direction of ActionAid-Ghana, Ms Adwoa Kwateng-Kluvitse, in an address, said there was an urgent need to address the imbalances in the political power and leadership in the country, saying that political will should be translated into an appropriate legal framework with deliberate special measures to ensure increase of women in all levels of decision-making.

The Member of Parliament for New Juaben, Ms Beatrice B. Boateng, who chaired the opening ceremony, called on the assembly women not to give in their quest for higher political power but to forge ahead even when they are being discouraged by others.

She said the time had come for women to put aside their political affiliations and help one another as women, saying that, “you should see yourselves first as women and should not let politics divide your ranks.”

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Appropriate Action needed for Gender Equality

Appropriate Action needed for Gender Equality
Daily Graphic, Thursday, July 16, 2009 (Gender and Children) Page 11
Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho

The Programme Coordinator of Fredrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in Ghana, Mr Danaa Nantogmah, has said that affirmative action which translates into real increase in female participation in politics and decision-making does not happen by chance. He said, “Appropriate policies and laws have must be in place; strategies and action plans developed but, more importantly commitment and the political will to implement these plans to achieve gender equity in out political social and economic life is paramount.”

Mr. Nantogmah said this at the opening of a two-day workshop in Accra on validating an affirmative action strategy document which was aimed at helping to increase women’s participation in politics and decision-making as well as in all aspects of life.
Organized by the ABANTU for Development, a women’s right group, and Women in Broadcasting (WIB), in partnership with FES, the workshop was aimed at improving on the gains of the Women’s Manifesto by deepening implementation on some of the concrete demands on women’s participation in politics and decision-making, particularly on affirmative action.

He said most women who participated in the 2008 parliamentary elections faced a lot of challenges such as limited finances, intimidation, religious and cultural beliefs and a lack of support from other women.

He pointed out that political parties were critical to the successful implementation of affirmative action, and commended the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) and the Electoral Commission (EC) for proposing that five percent of the Political Parties Support Fund (PPSF), when established, should be earmarked for political parties that would promote and support the increase of women’s participation in politics and decision-making by filing more parliamentary candidates.

The affirmative action document, which was prepared by Dr Dzodzi Tsikata on the topic “Affirmative Action and Gender Equity in Representation in Politics in Ghana: Justification, Prospects, Challenges and an Agenda for Action,” argues that while affirmative action has been used in Ghana since independence to address imbalances in access to education, health, work and political representation, its success have been variable.

It pointed out that affirmative action as a measure to improve political representation has never been commensurate with the serious nature of the inequalities being addressed. It further states that commitment to affirmative action has been at best ‘half-hearted,’ a situation which, according to Dr. Tsikata, was worsened by the fact that the baisis for affirmative action was not shared or properly understood and its beneficiaries were often seen as “recipients of charity rather than citizens whose wrongs have to be righted.” This situation, according to Dr. Tsikata, has created fatigue and resistance among the political and bureaucratic classes and the general population towards affirmative action programmes.

The paper mentioned some affirmative action policies taken in the country to include the reservation of 10 seats in Parliament for women, measures to promote participation of women in certain professions, scholarship schemes for the three northern regions, fee-free education among other in the 1970s and recently, girls’ education policies as well as lower cut-off point for girls in tertiary education, reserved places for deprived districts, science clinics for girls and school feeding programmes.

According to the paper, although affirmative action has chalked up some successes in the country, it also faces challenges such as limitation of such policies to local government and executive appointments and also how to establish in the public mind that while affirmative action is necessary, it is not sufficient to achieve gender equity in political representation.

She proposed that women, through coalitions such as the Women’s Manifesto Coalition, can present an agenda for constitutional and electoral reforms when the need arises, and this she said, would involve changing the political system to one of proportional representation. Dr. Tsikata further affirmed earlier demands on political parties to use quota systems to increase women’s participation in elections, saying that this will be more effective than a voluntary quota system as is presently being used.

She also recommended that with regard to political party financing, parties which expected to enjoy public financing should be made to adhere to a mandatory quota system.

It further called on women groups to consider setting up a fund as well as establishing a League of Women Voters to promote gender consciousness among women voters as a strategy for making women voters count.

According to Dr. Tsikata, a programme of action, which will help put affirmative action on the public agenda, should include analysing the opposition to the affirmative action in order to identify different forces and their concerns, engaging with the media to generate public dialogue, engaging with political parties, the Electoral Commission, the Commission, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to organise public consultations and hearing, drawing up a programme with clear realizable demands and a strategy for implementation and finally strengthening the capacities of civil society groups to wage successful campaign for affirmative action and monitor the implementation of affirmative action provisions.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Anglican Church endorses ordination of Women

Anglican Church endorses ordination of Women
The Ghanaian Times, Wednesday, June 24, 2009 (Regional News) Page 22
No Byline indicated

The Anglican Church, Ghana on Sunday made history when the 20th synod, the highest decision making body of the mission, resolved to consecrate women as priests. Until this decision, which was laid before the synod about 10 years ago, women could only serve as “chalices” (that is, administer wine during communion).

The Anglican Church now allows the ordination of women as priests.

Moreover, a tribunal in Australia ruled that there was nothing in the church’s constitution that prevents the consecration of a woman priest. The rule made reference to the law of the Church of England Clarification Canon 1992 that paved the way in 2007 for the ordination of women as priests in the Anglican mission.

Most Reverend Dr Justice Ofei Akrofi, Provincial Archbishop of West Africa, said, “Women will now be ordained as members of the priesthood.”

He urged members to contribute towards the construction of a laboratory and equipment for the Anglican University College of Technology.

He said the church’s retreat centre at Ashaley-Botwe needed a hostel and again appealed to members to contribute towards that project.

Most Rev. Dr Akrofi said the church would do whatever possible top assist government in its dreams for the good of all Ghanaians.

He said the Anglican Church would educate its members especially those that sell on the street to find alternative ways of selling their items other than on the streets. “We’ll do whatever possible to encourage members of my church to vacate the streets,” he said.

He told the youth to invest their time productively and urged parents to have time for their children. “Parents share productive times and life with your children at home regularly,” he entreated.

The synod inducted into office Mrs Sabina Ofori Boateng, a legal practitioner as Chancellor for the Accra Diocese, Mr Bliss Nii Amartey as the Registrar of the Diocese and Mr Ebo Selby as the Assistant Registrar.

The role of the Chancellor is to advise the Bishop, synod, committees and boards of the Diocese, while the registrar is responsible for all documentations relating to the ordinations of the clergy and licensing of readers.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Gov’t Plans to develop Women politicians- Minister

Gov’t Plans to develop Women politicians- Minister
The Ghanaian Times, Monday, June 23, 2009 (Politics) Page 12
No Byline indicated

Ms Akua Sena Dansua, Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, says /said the government plans to raise 20 women in every district to sharpen their interest for parliamentary contest and other political appointments.

“No one is born a politician. All politicians go through training, sometimes insults and many hard times to be where they are, so women must be ready to strive for that,” she said.

The Minister said this at a rally organized in Accra by the Evangelical Presbyterian (E.P.) Church, Ghana, a women’s rally in aid of food processing and a resource centre.
“Women cannot stand aloof, look on and expect breakthroughs in their political, economic and social emancipation,” she said.

She said one of the reasons why President Atta Mills could not appoint many women to ministerial positions, as expected, was the fact that the number of women in parliament were very few.

She said women must be resourceful and earn incomes to the home to assist their husbands. “We cannot stand and stare and expect spiritual and physical development,” she said adding, “We must work hard and develop along with the men.”

She said that some women invested their resources on funeral cloth and neglected their children while others followed wealth inordinately. “Spend your resources to educate your children,” she said, pointing out that investing in the educations of children was a long-term investment, which would yield dividends later.

Ms Dansua called for the revival of the old order where biological parents were not the only one responsible for the general upkeep of their children but also all adults in the community, especially when the parents were not around. “Take interest in other people’s children because the children are the property of the state and the community,” she said.

Mrs. Dzifa Attivor, Deputy Minister for Transport, said though the recent increase in prices of petroleum products affects all Ghanaians it would generate revenue to develop the country.
Rev. Mrs. Nyuieme Adiepena, Women’s Coordinator of the E.P. Church, said everyone must make the effort to take a child from (off) the street.

She said it was very pathetic that it was not only children that found haven in the street and also mothers and children. “Show love to all manner of people especially those that are not relatives, tribesmen or friends for in this unity we empower ourselves,” she said.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Women, Peace and Security: Actualising UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in Sierra Leone

Pathways West Africa Hub is launching a research project to monitor and evaluate the implementation of UN Resolution 1325 in post-conflict Sierra Leone, this week. The research will critically analyse the activities and programmes of all stakeholders responsible for the implementation of the resolution and make necessary recommendations to push the process forward. See the full news report in the Awareness Times, published on 6 May 2009.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

‘Don’t settle rape, defilement cases at home’

‘Don’t settle rape, defilement cases at home’
Daily Graphic, Thursday, May 7, 2009 (Gender and Children) Page 11
Naa Lamiley Bentil

An Executive Board Member of the Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ghana, Mrs Chris Daadzie, has advised traditional authorizes to discourage the practice of settling rape and defilement cases at home. Rather, she said, they should assist paralegals who are being trained by the federation to channel such cases through the formal system for proper redress to be sought for the victims.

Mrs Dadize, who was speaking at a durbar of chiefs and queens at Nungua to outdoor 30 paralegals for the Ledzkokuku Krowor Municipality, also appealed to the traditional rulers to review all forms of negative customs and traditional practices that violated the rights of women and children. “In spite of increasing reports by law enforcement agencies of sexual abuses, serious criminal offences, including rape and defilement are still no channeled through the appropriate legal system,” she said.

The 30 paralegals, made up of people with various educational backgrounds, were selected from the community and taken through a one-week intensive training on the Domestic Violence Act, the Children Act, Interstate Succession Law and other legal mediation training to equip them to resolve some of these cases and also serve as a point of referral on issues that might be beyond them.

According to Mrs Dadzie, Ledzkokuku Krowor was selected because of the high incidence of teenage pregnancy, school dropout rate, streetism and the high prevalence of domestic violence again women and children.

The federation, she further explained, selected the municipality because of a seemingly lack of knowledge by residents of where and how to seek justice for these abuses. She explained that the work of the paralegal was voluntary, so the Ledzkokuku Krowor Municipality Assembly would have to provide them with a meeting place where members could meet and share ideas in order to sustain the programme.

Another issue that came up was the menace of child maintenance. Mrs Dadsie said it was regrettable that although child maintenance was one of the major issues covered by the Children’s Act, many women continued to bear the burden of maintaining their children.

The Presiding Member for the Ledzkokuku Krowor Municipality Assembly, Mr Raphael Borketey Bortey, commended FIDA and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) for selecting the areas as the first beneficiary of the programme in the Greater Accra Region.
He observed that the work of the paralegals would improve women’s access to resolving issues legally, and stressed that, “The paralegals will bring the laws to the doorsteps of the community.”

Statistics for the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), he said, indicated that domestic violence was still a major problem in the country and that an estimated number of 708 female children and five boys were defiled between January and December last year.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Women’s Coalition urges action on Domestic Violence, Disability Laws

Women’s Coalition urges action on Domestic Violence, Disability Laws
The Ghanaian Times, Wednesday, May 6, 2009, Page 11
By Times Reporter


A coalition of non-governmental organisations advancing women’s right issues in the country, has urged the Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC) and Employment and Social Welfare to expedite action on the implementation of the Disability Action Act and the Domestic Violence Act, to help address specific concerns of women.

The NGOs are Network for Women’s Rights (NETRIGHT), the Coalition for Women’s Manifesto in Ghana (WMC) and the Coalition on Domestic Violence in Ghana (DV Coalition).

The coalition made the appeal when a delegation of NGOs called on the Minister for MWAC, Ms Akua Sena Dansua, in Accra.

Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, who led the delegation, also stressed the need for effective management of the oil find to promote gender equitable development in the country. Dr Mensah-Kutin said the NGOs were committed to advancing the cause of women in the country, and therefore there was need to collaborate with the ministry in that regard.

Ms Dansua thanked the group for the visit and assured them that the government was committed to implementing its plans for gender development, saying, “The government had already shown commitment by implementing the Disability Act and by also setting the Disability Council.”

Ms Dansua said the ministry would work assiduously to ensure that gender issues were mainstreamed in all aspects of governance.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Analsying changes in women’s work in Ghana

Gender Centre Launches Project
Daily Graphic, Tuesday, May 5, 2009 (Gender and Children) Page 11
Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho

A three-year research project on the changing character of women’s work and its implication for women’s livelihood security has been launched in Accra. The project, known as, “Formalising the informal and informalising the formal: Analsying changes in women’s work in Ghana,” will examine women’s work in two sectors, namely baking and paid domestic work.

Funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the project, which is being undertaken by the Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA) of the University of Ghana in three urban centres, namely, Accra, Kumasi and Tamale, seeks to examine the changing nature of work, especially in the banking and domestic sector, with a view to making policy recommendations for improving work condition in the two sectors.

According to the Project Lead Researcher, Dr. Dzodzi Tsikata, the two sectors, one in the formal and the other in the informal economies were illustrations of some important developments in the character of women’s work .

She said both sectors had seen significant changes since the 1990s when economic liberalisation policies began to gain roots, and that domestic work was increasingly being procured through agents and agencies, while on the other hand, the banking sector, traditionally seen as the bastion of formality and long-term employment is changing with the introduction of labour agencies into the sector.

These changes, she said, were taking place in a general context of labour market liberation and the informalisation of work in both developed and developing countries, with these two sectors being illustration of the changing character of women’s livelihood.

She said informal work was becoming more prominent among women across the country, with most women going into hawking, trading, sewing, domestic and other unpaid work, a situation which she said had generated lesser incomes therefore jeopardized their security.

According to her, the country’s labour law favours formal work, but the focus should be looked at since most people were now becoming self-employed and called for equal opportunities for both formal and informal work in the labour laws.

Dr Tsikata, who mentioned some the objectives of the research, said it was to create a gender profile for domestic and banking sectors, as well as for agencies involved in the sectors and to examine the changes in the labour conditions and its implications for employment security and the social security of women workers in the banking and domestic sectors.

She said the study was to explore ways in which reproductive work differentiated women and men’s experiences of change in domestic and banking sectors. The project, she said, would also analyse any relationship between labour legislation and policies and informalisation, and explore the extent to which laws and policies were tackling the challenges of informalisation.
The research, which was undertaken by four female researchers, Dr Nana Akua Anyidoho, Dr Akosua Darkwa, Prof Akosua Adomako Ampofo and Dr. Tsikata, established that most banks sampled, preferred to use agency staff as a way of saving cost.

According to the research, a total o f13 banks in the three research areas which were sampled, also revealed that sourcing for agency staff enabled the banks to focus on their core business.

The research also revealed, among other things, that domestic workers employed through an agent or agencies, normally received better conditions of service than bank staff employed through an agency, although in monitory terms the bankers received better pay conditions.
It further revealed that agencies outsourced more women to the banks and as domestic staff than men.