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16.12.2004 General News

Status of women reviewed

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Accra, Dec. 16, GNA - Professor Tekyiwaa Manuh, Director, Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon on Thursday criticised the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC) for failing to holistically address issues that affected women and children since its establishment.

"MOWAC has shown itself as incapable to design and support policies that would address issues of women and children beyond the provision of micro-credit facilities to women," Prof Manuh said.

She said, though the setting up of MOWAC by the current government was a laudable idea, the Ministry could have done much better in improving the lots of women and children by adopting systematic policies that would close gender disparities.

Speaking at the End-of-Year Review of the Status of Women in Ghana, Prof. Manuh said though the serial killings that plagued the country before the NPP government assumed office in 2000 had stopped, there were still high mortality rate, women in-accessibility to land, high illiteracy level, continual spousal abuse and rape being perpetuated on women.

The review programme is organised annually by the Network for Women's Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), a coalition of gender-based non-governmental organisations scattered around the country.

Giving the overview of the status of women, Prof. Manuh said globally, the status of women has still not improved any better though a woman won the Nobel Peace award, while in Africa, few women had been appointed to higher positions in the African Union.

She said war that continue to be initiated by power-driven men globally put women and children in a disturbing state, who in the long run, bore the brunt of such acts, warning that the war in Cote D'Ivoire was a critical lesson for Ghana to live in peace.

Locally, Prof Manuh said it was a positive sign for a woman to win the national best teacher and farmers day award respectively, however, there still remained a lot to be done for women in the area of appointing them to higher decision-making levels, as directors of boards, ministers and deputy ministers of state.

Dr. Dzodzi Tsikata, Convenor of NETRIGT in a welcoming address commended women who participated in the just ended general elections, especially those who won seats in Parliament, thus increasing the number of Parliamentarians from 19 to 25.

She called for the modification of the political system to cater for all issues that would straighten gender disparities. NETRIGHT in the year ahead is determined to intensify its efforts in ensuring that the Domestic Violence Bill was passed as well as issues in the Women's manifesto, practically addressed.

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