'Fulfil agenda to promote women's rights'
This was contained in a statement issued in Accra by the Coalition to mark its ninth anniversary celebration. The WMC, which was launched in September 2004, is a group of non-governmental organisations that promotes women's right and gender equality.
The statement said it was imperative for the government to take a comprehensive review of the economic and financial systems in the country in order to foster a conducive environment for both men and women to benefit equally from mainstream opportunities and other financial and business assistance.
It lauded the passage of what it described as 'some landmark legislations, including the Domestic Violence Act, the Anti-trafficking Law and the Persons with Disability Act' adding that it was strengthened by the news that progress was being made in the process of developing the Affirmative Action law for Ghana.
It said the coalition was optimistic that Parliament would pass on the Property Rights of Spousal Bill into law now that it had been passed by Cabinet and do so with the Right to Information (RTI) Bill.
Even as these actions were mandated through international, regional and national commitments, the demand for gender equality and the need to bridging the gender gap in national development processes, remain largely unmet.
Poverty it said remained a widespread and towering challenge adding that while statistics from the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS) indicated a fall in poverty levels in the country, women still remained the largest group among the poor, experiencing the multi-dimensional nature of poverty.
'Scarcity, insufficient economic opportunities and the lack of access to basic essential services are magnified by entrenched power differentials and harsh economic and social inequalities in our society' it said.
The statement said 'economic policies anchoring our development process have made it possible for a small local elite and foreign interests to control the profits and benefits of national resources including the new oil and gas find'.
The WMC said it had noted with dismay that micro credit schemes continued to be the mainstay of women's economic empowerment saying that this was not sufficient to radically strengthen the needed foundation for women to be equally competitive in the world of business.
'We must recognise that the constituent elements of the right to development are rooted in the provisions of our Constitution and other international instruments which we are signatory', it said.
According to the statement, 'in total, our national development must have the objective of constantly improving the well-being of the entire population and provide for a fair distribution of benefits, as well as remedies for inequity'.
The statement said the WMC was launched nine years ago with optimism and hope, expecting that the concerns about the insufficient attention given to critical issues affecting women would be promptly and urgently addressed.
However, according to the Women's Manifesto, it was yet to see the creation of a total enabling environment relating to the nature of democratic governance that access national resources and to participate in national processes and structures.
By Gender Desk/Daily Graphic/Ghana