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29.04.2009 Social News

Government has disappointed women - WILDAF

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Accra, April 29, GNA - A women's group, Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF), on Wednesday said the government had disappointed Ghanaian women in the appointment of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives.

WILDAF said the NDC government had therefore failed to honour its promise in the party's manifesto of ensuring 40 per cent representation of women in political positions.

Ms Bernice Sam, National Programmes Coordinator, WILDAF, said this at the launch of a Rural Women's Empowerment Project in Accra.

She said it was unacceptable that out of the 143 nominees for the district assemblies, only nine of the appointees were women, adding that even two out of the nine have been rejected in the Central and Volta regions.

Ms Sam also stated that the recent appointment of members into the Economic Advisory Committee which did not have any female representation, despite the many competent female economists in the country, was a further indication that the government could not meet its pledge.

“Ghanaian women are watching, listening and reading to hear what the President John Evans Atta Mills-led administration will tell us to convince us that they are fulfilling their promise,” she added.

Ms Sam said women groups were initially happy when President Mills began appointing women to key government positions such as the Speaker of Parliament and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and therefore questioned why the sudden change.

The Programmes Coordinator also expressed concern on the lack of government's commitment to address the concerns of women, saying that women were still marginalized in society despite various protocols the country had ratified.

Trokosi and widowhood rites, Ms Sam said, were still prevalent in the country and the practice of labelling older women as witches, banning them from homes and condemning them to “witch camps” had also not been halted.

She said rural women also continued to lack access to credit and health facilities, family planning and potable water whilst the girl child also lacked access to education.

Ms Sam indicated that as a result of some of these constraints, about 26 per cent of rural teenagers had their first child before age 18.

WILDAF, she said, had therefore initiated the rural empowerment project funded by the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry to empower women to insist on their rights.

She stated that the project which was being implemented in Benin, Togo, Cote d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso for 30 months, would empower the rural women to help maximize the attainment of the Millennium Development Goal (3) to half extreme poverty by 2015.

Ms Sam said in Ghana the project would be implemented in two districts in Greater Accra - Amasaman and Sege - to educate 50 women to also provide legal first aid to their peers on rights and domestic violence.

Nana Manko Asumadu Sekyi I, Mmbabaahemaa of Dawu Akuapim, who chaired the launch also expressed worry over the discrimination in the sharing of property or inheritances for women as a result of some traditional practices.

She said women who could not have children in rural communities were often denied inheritance of their deceased spouses or when the marriages were dissolved.

Nana Sekyi therefore commended the initiative of WILDAF and expressed the hope that the project would provide women with a stronger voice to fight for their rights.


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