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14.12.2004 Regional News

C/R queen mothers stop performance of widowhood rites

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Cape Coast, Dec. 14, GNA - Some queen mothers in the Central Region, on Tuesday, said they have through education, been able to stop the obnoxious customary practices, such as widowhood rites in their areas, since they impede the progress of women.

According to them, such "dehumanising practices", which force widows to sleep by the corpses of their dead husbands, as well as stay away from work for months when their husbands die, was inimical to development, as well as a disservice to the well being of children. The queen mothers from Mankessim, Gomoa Brofoyedur, Ekon, near Cape Coast, Sanka near Elmina, Akotokyir, a suburb of Cape Coast, Ayeldu, Bisease and Ankaful made this known at the opening of a two-day 'training of trainers workshop on Democracy and Human Rights for women leaders' from the region, at Cape Coast.

The workshop, is being organised by the Women's Assistance and Business Association (WABA), an Accra-based NGO, which has various women's groups, including queen mothers, teachers, church leaders and Muslim women and market women leaders attending.

According to the queen mothers, through "persistent education of women activists" and with the help of the local council of churches, those involved in the performance of such rites, have realised that they are retrogressive and have stopped them.

The queen mothers in this regard, called for more support from chiefs to ensure the abolition of all dehumanising customs and practices that impinge on the welfare of women.

They said, such support was imperative, as most often, the chiefs and their elders dissuade them from abolishing such practices, with the excuse that they had been introduced by the forefathers and must be continued.

They therefore, called on their chiefs and elders to cooperate with them to do away with all such practices to pave the way for development and respect for the rights of women.

Mrs Gloria Ofori-Boadu, president of WABA, said it is unfortunate that, many Ghanaians were making negative comments about the domestic violence bill, and stressed the need for all to read and study the document, since it was "a good document".

Ms Sena Dei-Tutu, a resource person from WABA in a presentation, echoed calls on the President to appoint more women as ministers of state, since there are qualified and capable women for any ministerial position in the country.

Among the topics to be discussed are 'Violence Against Women and Child Trafficking, and Leadership and Communication Skills'.

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