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04.07.2005 Regional News

Call for ban on customs that dehumanise women


Dormaa Ahenkro (B/A), July 4, GNA - Participants at an HIV/AIDS workshop at Dormaa Ahenkro in Brong Ahafo have called for a national debate on the possibility of banning obsolete cultural practices that expose women to inhuman treatment.

The 300 participants, mainly female hairdressers and seamstresses in the Dormaa District said dehumanising practices such as widowhood rites, female genital mutilation (FGM) and male dominance in the home had contributed to abject poverty and chronic diseases including HIV/AIDS among women.

They declared as worrying alleged instances where abusers of women's rights, especially practitioners of female genital mutilation in some parts of the country, were now operating in obscure villages in some neighbouring countries.

The workshop, organised by the Ghana National Association of Teachers was aimed at exposing members of identifiable groups in Dormaa Ahenkro and its environs to the on-going GNAT HIV project, which took off in November 2004 in five HIV endemic communities in the country. They include Agomanya and Fanteakwa in the Eastern Region and Wenchi and Dormaa Ahenkro in Brong Ahafo.

The participants expressed the hope that a total ban on such dehumanising practices would not only afford women the opportunity to fully participate in decision-making and national development but would also ensure the full realisation of women's rights and freedoms as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

Mrs Agnes Owusu Serwaa, President of the Dormaa Chapter of the Ghana Hairdressers and Beauticians Association said women appreciated the immense inputs by government and non-governmental organizations to help uplift their status in society and would not gloss over factors that eroded the gains made by these corporate groups and individuals. She appealed to society, especially policy makers and implementers to deal a more pro-active dimension to problems confronting women and devise a pragmatic mechanism to resolve them to scoop women off their second-fiddle status in society.

Madam Helena Awurusa, Officer in-charge of Gender issues at the suggestion to the appropriate quarters.

She appealed to the women to expose to human rights institutions any instances where their rights had been trampled upon, adding that women should be seen as front-runners in tackling problems inhibiting their rapid development.