Tuesday, May 11, 2010

MOWAC to re-position itself: Towards Beijing Platform for Action

MOWAC to re-position itself: Towards Beijing Platform for Action
Daily Graphic; Tuesday, May 11, 2010; Page 11 (Gender and Children)
Rebecca Quaico-Duho

The Ministry of women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC) is taking steps to re-position itself to help accelerate Ghana’s progress made in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA).

According to the sector minister, Mrs. Juliana Azumah-Mensah, Ghana organised a side event which is on the theme, “Beyond commitment to responsive institutional structures,” at the just ended meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), held in New York.

She said participants had the opportunity to share Ghana’s perspective and experiences on the evolution of the national women’s machinery and how it plans to promote gender equality through re-engineering the ministry and involving women at the grass-roots level.

She was speaking at a forum organised in Accra by MOWAC in collaboration with the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and supported by the United Nations Systems, during which a statistical compendium on women and men were launched.

Mrs. Azumah-Mensah who convened the meeting to brief the public on the outcome of the CSW meeting at a forum in Accra, said a lot of programmes and policies, spearheaded by MOWAC and other ministries such as the Ministry of Health (MOH), were commended as having contributed to the empowering of women socially, economically and politically.

This year’s CSW meeting also coincided with the fifteenth-years review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and its contribution to the achievements of the MDGs.

Programmes such as the issuances of policy directive to public sector agencies to roll out gender responsive budgets across ministries, departments, and agencies, as well as the ministry’s coordination with 16 key sectors such as the Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Education were hailed as a good practice.

She also said MOWAC’s central management roles and the elevation of the ministry to Cabinet status were seen as an outstanding achievement. Other participants expressed interest in selling the idea to their countries.

Other achievements such as the enactment of the Domestic Violence and human Trafficking Acts, criminalization of sexual offences and the passage of laws on women’s rights in marriage and divorce, social protection policies targeting poor women, the National Health Insurance Scheme, free school uniforms for school children and the Health Service Act, which ensured free maternal care to help in addressing the country’s high maternal mortality, and the appointment of women into key positions were all commended.

She said the Commission wrapped up the 54th session by adopting several resolutions which were key to women’s empowerment and they were issues on women’s economic empowerment, women and girl child and HIC and AIDS, protecting women and girls form harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM), elimination of maternal mortality and a decision to consolidate four existing offices working in issues related to gender under the United Nations into a composite gender entity.

The Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA), Mr. Joseph S. Abbey, a guest speaker who spoke on ‘the importance of gender statistics for development,’ underscored the importance of having more women in decision-making positions so that they would speak for women.

He said the country would be wasting a lot of resources, if the potential of women, who formed the majority of the country’s population, was not tapped, saying, “Investment made in women should be utilised to ensure maximum returns.”

He said statistics over the years did not quantify the work of women, especially in domestic settings, and pointed out that it made it difficult to appreciate the input of women in national development.

Mr. Abbey said it was essential that the country gathered separate data for men and women so that the country would know the needs of boys and girl and men and women. This, according to him, would enable the government to build appropriate infrastructure such as clinics and school and that the gender dimensions of all these had not been focused on in the country.

The Chief Director of MWAC, Ms Nancy Dzah, in a welcoming address said as institutions and organisations promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the country, it was important that, “we avail ourselves of the global, regional and national trends of achievements and challenges confronting us in our zeal to achieve the MDG3, which is: Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.”

An international gender consultant and chairperson of the programme, Mrs Jane Amavi Kwaku, said Ghana had become a flagship of achieving results in many areas and it could not afford to fail in the empowerment of women.

Representatives of Parliament, MDAs, the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, who were at the CSW meeting in New York, gave their impression about the way forward for MOWAC.

No comments: