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23.02.2005 Regional News

"Abolish cultural practices that hinder women's development"

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Sunyani Feb. 23, GNA - Mr. John Abaa, Brong-Ahafo Regional Coordinator of Action Aid Ghana, on Tuesday called for the abolition of cultural practices that hinder women's development.

He made the call at a women's right awareness forum organised by the 6th March Women Foundation, an NGO within the Greater Grace Church in Sunyani.

Mr. Abaa noted with regret that "women have been marginalized for too long and it is time they must be set free to demonstrate their God-given abilities."

Cultural practices such as widowhood rites and female genital mutilation, he said must not be imposed on women anymore as they go through a lot of suffering.

He urged women to fight for better positions wherever they found themselves and to upgrade themselves for better jobs positions. The co-ordinator stressed that even though women formed 51 percent of the nation's population they were sparsely represented at the various levels of governance.

Mr. Abaa appealed to the government to consider the Domestic Violence Bill placed before Parliament, saying the bill when passed would protect the rights of women from abuses.

He advised women not to be intimidated by the threats of divorce but to report abuses against them by their husbands to the appropriate quarters.

Mr. Abaa said women who for fear of being divorced failed to report violence against them suffered emotional and psychological problems, which could affect their health or lead to their death. Ms Elizabeth Frimpong, Executive Director of the Foundation said the NGO, formed in 1996 aimed at promoting and offering support to the poor and needy children, especially girls.

It will also empower unemployed and unskilled women through vocational training for self-sustainable livelihood and sensitise women on their rights to empower them socially and economically towards development.

She said gender inequalities against women had been a major factor that caused extreme poverty in the communities and called on women to take active part in decision-making on issues that affected them and their children.

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