Saturday, March 6, 2010

NETRIGHT reminds gov't of promise to women

NETRIGHT reminds gov't of promise to women

As we mark International Women's Day (IWD), the Network for Women's Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) would like to congratulate all women in Ghana for their contributions towards their own empowerment and gender equality in the face of the many barriers that confront them.

NETRIGHT also wishes to use the occasion to call on the Government of Ghana to translate its promises to promoting women's rights as contained in its party manifesto into concrete actions to achieve true equality for women.

This year's celebration of International Women's Day which falls on March 8 is particularly relevant as an important milestone. Beijing + 15 is being celebrated, with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) currently holding its 54th Session in New York to review progress towards gender equality since the hosting of the ground- breaking Fourth World Conference on Women.

Even though a number of conferences on women have been organised since 1975, it was after the landmark Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 that the global community came up with an internationally agreed plan, namely, the Beijing Platform for Action, to address the many barriers women face in achieving full equality.

The Platform for Action contains 12 critical areas of concern to women in Ghana. There has been some level of progress in meeting the targets set around issues such as Girl Child Education and Violence Against Women. Yet even as women continue to work hard and advocate for concrete actions to address their concerns, the overall advance towards gender equality and promotion of women's rights has been slow and with little effect in terms of real changes in women's lives.

In Ghana, women's political participation is not rising in any significant way. Indeed the last national elections in Parliament saw a reduction in. women's representation in Parliament from 9.6 percent to 8.6 percent. This is in spite of the keen interest women have demonstrated as public decision-makers.

In the area of employment, many women in Ghana are active in the work force but more than half of them are in vulnerable jobs either as self-employed persons or as unpaid family workers in the informal economy with minimum access to credit. Women also have lower inheritance and ownership rights.

Women's health, especially reproductive health is another area of major concern. Unacceptably high levels of death occur every year III Ghana from complications related to pregnancy and child birth. On violence against women, even as the Domestic Violence Law has been passed, implementation has been slow and opposing violence against women in its entirety and holding perpetrators accountable is still a critical issue.

As we celebrate Women's Day therefore, we need to seize upon the excitement around the Beijing + 15 review processes to continue to demand accountability to women's rights and gender equality. This means we have to strengthen our coalitions and mobilisation efforts and demand the needed resources to translate global and national commitments into actions that point out that "progress for women is progress for all" as this year's theme says. A real difference in the lives of Ghanaian women is what is needed after the Beijing + 15 review meeting.

Issued by NETRIGHT on March 5, 2010

Signed by Convenor, Akua Britwum

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