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12.07.2005 General News

Govt is tackling inequalities in society


Dzodze, July 12, GNA - The government is on course to tackle challenges of inequalities in the society because this hinders the all-round growth of the country, Mr Kofi Dzamesi, the Volta Regional Minister has said.

He said the government is therefore pursing a policy of male-female human resource development and has also updated the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy to take care of those challenges. Mr Dzamesi said this at the 2005 National World Population Day celebration under theme "Equality: Meeting the Needs of Women" on Monday at Dzodze in the Ketu District.

He said the day was important in bringing to the fore pertinent population and developmental issues for discussion globally. Mr Dzamesi said efforts were being made to reverse the situation in Ghana where women, who form 51 per cent of the national population, remain in the lower strata of society with fewer girls in schools than boys and only a few women in decision-making positions. He said responsibilities that reproductive health posed to women placed them in positions where they could not have the "time frame to socially build themselves up as men do".

"The HIV/AIDS phenomenon has put the gender inequality into a bigger focus as socio-economic factors made women's vulnerability to the disease higher than men."

Mr Dzamesi said the affirmative action quotas for women in education, local government and health as well as the setting up of a Girl-Child Education Unit were some of the programmes to address the inequalities.

He called on other stakeholders to join government to work assiduously towards addressing the problem. Mr Makane Kane, United Nations Fund For Population Activities (UNFPA) representative, said the promotion of the full and equal participation of women in the workings of society was an important means of achieving development.

"The cost of maintaining inequality are also high in the form of broken bodies and shattered dreams as well as high rates of maternal deaths," Mr Kane stated.

He said the UN would continue to lead the agenda to reverse the inequalities in all countries as per the Millennium Declaration adopted in 2000 and other international focal points such as the Beijing Declaration.

Mrs Virginia Ofosu-Amaah, Chairman of the National Population Council (NPC), said the national figure of 200 deaths per 100,000 births and 800 deaths per 100,000 births in northern Ghana were appalling. She also said the estimated death of 10 women daily from pregnancy related causes was awful and a serious reproductive health problem facing the country.

Mrs Ofusu-Amaah said these statistics were reflections of poverty among women, their low status in society, poor access to education, health and other resources.

She called for the stepping up of the Safe Motherhood Programme that the NPC had been pursuing with the Ministry of Health to reverse the trend as quickly as possible.

Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Children and Women's Affairs, said in a speech read for her that the ministry was intensifying and developing more programmes to improve the position of women and children in the society.

She said women's accessibility to micro financing was being tackled actively.