International Women’s Day-Let Us Support The #He-For-She Campaign To ‘Press For Progress’
International Women’s Day-celebrated on March 8th worldwide, encourages us all to reflect on the importance of gender equality, celebrate the successes of women, and also acknowledge the work that is left to be done. With women making up more than 50% of Ghana’s population, men still have greater access to and control over resources and benefits – power, wealth and time. Against this background, there remains a great deal of work to be done to ensure access to equitable opportunities in all aspects of life.
Due to our work approach we want to highlight a few out of the numerous challenges facing gender equality in Ghana.
Violence against women
For instance, while it is true that men experience some form of violence, over their lifetime women experience much higher levels of social violence than men (41% compared to 34.4%) and sexual violence (30% compared to 23.1%)
Under women empowerment, as of 2015, married employed women who earn cash and make independent decision about spending increased from 58% in 2008 to 63% in 2014.
On household decisions, 6 in 10 married women participate in deciding to visit family or relatives, health care and making major household purchases. Less than 10% of married women did not participate in any of the three decisions. The GDHS report also found that, more than half of married women with no education participate in all three decisions, compared to 70% of married women with secondary education or higher. This is a strong indication that women’s participation in decision making increases with education.
Table 1: Attitudes toward Wife Beating
Percent of married women and men age 15-49 who believe that a husband is justified
in hitting or beating his wife for the following reasons:
Wife burns the food
Wife refuses to have sex with him
Wife argues with him
Wife goes out without telling him
Wife neglects the children
Any of these
Source: Excerpted from Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, 2014
For us in ADP, this is a worrying picture because out of a national representative survey of 9,396 women, 28% nearly thirty representing 3 in every 10 women believe a husband is justified in beating his wife for any of the reasons highlighted. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!! We only take consolation in the fact that there has been a decline from 37% in 2008 and also with increasing levels of education and wealth quintile. However, the percentage is on a high side and there remains serious work to be done in this area.
As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2018 with the theme “PressforProgress” we are reminded that we must not be complacent but rather, more than ever act to press forward and progress gender parity. We must be gender conscious by mainstreaming the concerns and experiences of men and women and make it an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies and programs in our political, economic and societal lives.
We have to be strategic by paying attention to underserved women in critical areas i.e
- Investing in the youth, thus vulnerable groups such as the kayayei in the central business districts and persons living with disabilities to access opportunities for growth;
- Making sure all girls of school going age are in school;
- Economic empowerment of single mothers in vocational and life skills training through well targeted programs can help in this regard;
Education has proved to be a useful tool in reducing violence against women, improving women empowerment and contributing to reducing the incidence of wife beating. In this vein, we call for deeper education in any form be it advocacy, sensitization, town hall meetings, drama and arts on the positive impacts in the lives of women.
All institutions and agencies in the gender space must be active and vigilant. We must support the #He-for-She Campaign as launched by the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection. In so doing, we will also reduce the menace of street children, child trafficking and abandonment.
The time to act is now!!!
Charles Othniel Abbey