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09.03.2007 General News

MPs Salute Women

By Daily Guide

Members of Parliament yesterday paid glowing tribute to all women, women organisations and men who have the welfare of women at heart.

They described as immense the contribution of women to the social, economic and political development of humanity.

The MPs' commendation followed a statement by the MP for Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Mrs.Gifty Eugenia Kusi, on the plight of women on this year's international women's day, which fell yesterday, on the theme "Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls".

“It is a very special day in that it is a day set aside to celebrate women for their contributions to the development of their countries and the world in general, and also to look critically at issues that militate against women. It also commemorates women's rights and peace,” she said.

She quoted the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life."

They include "physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family and in the general community, including battering, sexual abuse of children, dowry-¬related violence, rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women, forced prostitution, and violence perpetrated or condoned by the state."

She said research results indicated that between 10% and 50% of women had been physically abused by an intimate partner in their lifetime and that between 12% and 25% of women had experienced attempted or completed forced sex by an intimate partner or ex-partner at some time in their lives.

“The physical and psychological effects of violence on victims cannot be overemphasized.

In addition to the hundreds of thousands of lives destroyed, reports show that violence against women has been linked to a number of immediate and long-term conditions including physical injury, chronic pain syndromes, depression and suicidal behaviour,”said the MP.

In Mrs. Kusi's view, “violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace. Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

“Violence against women arises from a combination of individual, biological and psychological characteristics, as well as social, economic and political factors.

The low social and economic status of women can be both a cause and a consequence of violence against women.

“Abusive practices against women have frequently been and are still being justified in the context of cultural norms, religious beliefs and unfounded "scientific theories" and assumptions.

This situation is the result of society's attitudes toward women and efforts to "keep women in their place."

She called on government and other stakeholders to help “by organizing and supporting education and training campaigns to raise awareness about violence against women as a violation of women's enjoyment of their human rights.”

The MP for North Dayi, Akua Sena Dansoa, complained about the lackadaisical attitude of men towards women issues.

She hoped male MPs would express greater interest in subjects about women anytime the need arose.

Other MPs who contributed to the statement included Theresa Tagoe, Frema Osei-Opare, Kojo Armah and Lee Ocran.