Eudora Oppong, a Kumasi-based legal practitioner and administrator of the Kumasi office of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), has expressed worry that despite the immense contribution of women to development their rights had been persistently violated.
She said women had great potentials and skills to enable them to contribute more meaningfully to the progress of society but obsolete traditional and cultural practices undermined their efforts.
Miss Oppong was speaking at a three-day workshop organized by FIDA for more than 100 opinion leaders selected from communities in the Atwima-Nwabiagya District at Nkawie, on Wednesday.
It formed part of the Federation's outreach programme designed to create awareness on the rights of women towards the empowerment of women.
Miss Oppong said many women especially those in the rural communities with little formal education were usually denied access to vital natural resources, controlled over their reproductive rights and participation in vital decision-making.
This situation, she bemoaned, had made many women dependent on men and also unable to fight for their rights.
Miss Oppong expressed regret that ignorance has made many women voiceless and powerless and to rectify the pervasive cultural, social and economic barriers, FIDA-Ghana had provided legal and mobile clinics for indigent women in the country.
She said FIDA was committed to the enhancement of the status of Ghanaian women and children through legal literacy and educational programmes, advocacy, law reforms, research and publication.
Opening the workshop, Thomas Ofori-Donkor, the District Chief Executive, said freedom and authority of any individual had a limit and stressed the need for regular education of the public on the rights and responsibilities of the citizenry.
Most Ghanaians, he said, were ignorant about their rights and expressed the hope that the workshop would broaden the knowledge of the participants.
Mr Ofori-Donkor said if women were adequately empowered, it would enhance the rapid socio-economic development of the society.
Miss Irene Comfort Badu, an Assistant Director of Education at the District Education Directorate said gender equality did not exist due to outmoded cultural and traditional practices.