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World marks International Women’s Day: Rights groups call for gender equality

Women’s rights groups have urged the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to demonstrate political will to put in place pragmatic and sustainable systems to address gender inequalities and social injustices to promote women and girls’ rights in the country.

“As a country, if we believe in the campaign theme #EachForEqual, which marks the International Women’s Day (IWD) for 2020, then the time is now to accelerate efforts to promote the advancement of women and girls,” they said.

According to the women’s groups, “ad hoc gender equality and women’s empowerment interventions which do not seek to tackle systemic barriers and inhibitions that disadvantage women and girls must stop”.

They, therefore, called on the President to use his high office to ensure the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill before the dissolution of this Parliament; pass the Spousal Property Bill to which, according to them, Parliament had refused to give the needed attention, and also pass the Land Bill 2019, with the gender and social inclusion provisions intact.

In a statement to mark IWD 2020 yesterday, NETRIGHT, which is made up of over 50 women’s rights groups, said as the world celebrated the IWD, focusing on the Beijing+25 campaign on the theme: “I am Generation Equality: Realising Women’s Rights”, the theme was aimed at mobilising women to influence decisions about their future and promote a fairer world that left no one behind.

“For us in Ghana, IWD celebrations come on the fringes of our Independence celebration and, therefore, congratulated the unsung women of Ghana, particularly the forgotten heroines, for the sacrifices and immense contributions they made to the founding of the country and the 63-year journey to build an independent country and an equal and just society,” it said.

AA Bill Coalition

The Convenor of the Affirmative Action Bill Coalition, Mrs Sheila Minkah-Premo, said the AA Bill, which had currently been laid before Parliament, was set to be a great opportunity to address the rather sorry situation of inequality in the national leadership and beyond.

She said, the bill, if passed into law, would go a long way to ensure the achievement of gender equality in the political, social, economic and educational spheres of society.

“This bill has been in and out of Parliament for several times and seems to be placed only during election years. The last time the bill was sent to Parliament in 2016, it lapsed and had to be reworked on,” she said.

Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation

A statement signed by the Executive Director of the Henry Djaba Memorial Foundation, Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba, to mark the day, asked: “Where is the freedom of women and girls in Ghana”?

According to the group, to date, the voices of countless abused women had been rendered voiceless, the tears of unfulfilled women had gone unnoticed, the screams of our girls being defiled had been unheard, the frustrations and pains of women with disability had been ignored, and the continuous domination of men over women was one of the injustices against women and girls that we must address this year.

It said the country had signed on to so many global resolutions and protocols, such as the CEDAW, the Maputo Protocol, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security to protect women’s rights and inclusion.

However, it said, discrimination and inequality were still prominent injustices against females in our societies.

“Women and girls continue to face significant challenges, such as sexual and gender-based violence and social and political exclusion. Gender equality in all spheres of our life in the Ghanaian society leaves much to be desired,” it said.

The foundation, therefore, used the occasion to call on the government and enforcement agencies to enforce the laws that protected females, in particular, on defilement and rape, eradication of female genital mutilation and the witches’ camps in parts of the country.

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