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.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Congratulations Prof Takyiwaa Manuh!

On 30th April, 2009, Prof Takyiwaa Manuh gave her inaugural lecture on the topic, “A lawyer in African studies,” outlining her academic path and choices that have mainly been in the African Studies. Her academic interests include African Development, Gender and Women’s Empowerment, Migration and Higher Education. Congratulations!