19.05.2005 Politics

Rural women urged to strive to take independent political decisions

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Nadowli, May 19, GNA - Mr Ambrose Dery, the Upper West Regional Minister on Wednesday advised rural women to begin to assert themselves by taking independent political decision instead of subduing to the political pressures of their spouses.

He noted that women had been relegated to the background in the decision-making process because they often subjected themselves to the manipulation of their husbands to follow their line of thinking. "You constitute the most stable component of our population, some of you look after your whole families and play lead roles in providing the family income yet you do not vote according to your will during elections", Mr Dery told the women at a forum at Nadowli.

It was organised by the women's wing of the Nadowli Civic Union (CCU) to discuss issues affecting the advancement of women in the district and attended by over 1,000 women from all parts of the district.

The union is composed of over 250 civil society organisations, which are performing all over the district with a total membership of 10,000 people with women constituting 95 per cent. Mr Dery urged traditional authorities to move away from some of the negative traditional attitudes and treat women with respect, especially marriage by elopement, which he noted was very dominant in the district.

On violence against women, he stated that under no circumstance, should beating of wives be justified, saying such action must be made public issues and addressed as such. "We should respect our women and allow them to enjoy their full rights as the men."

Mrs Blandina Domapielle, leader of the women's wing of CCU said out-moded traditional and social customs posed a very serious threat to the development of women.

She mentioned lack of land and property owing rights, a dehumanising widowhood rites betrothal of girls, child fostering, forced marriages and FGM as not only dehumanising but had the strong potential of introducing diseases to women.

Mrs Domapielle appealed to the government and stakeholders to take a critical look at the girl-child education and non-formal education to ensure that more girls and women became functionally literate. She said her organisation had come out with an advocacy agenda and action plan to address the challenges facing women in the district. During the forum, some of the women said the establishment of the Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU) of the Ghana Police Service was not necessary because it had the tendency to break up families. 19 May 05

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