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17.09.2005 Regional News

Women rights gaining centre stage in national development agenda

By GNA

Accra, Sept. 17, GNA - Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children Affairs on Saturday noted that the need to promote and protect the right of women and children was slowly but consistently gaining centre stage in national development agenda. Women's development and empowerment has direct consequences on the development and well being of a nation, especially on the future of children, she said.

Hajia Mahama was speaking at a day's seminar on the theme: "Women and Children's Rights in Islam," jointly organized by the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Ghana and the Cultural consulate of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

She said women have played catalytic but quiet roles in shaping and moving the society forward. "Our world would have been a better place if women were allowed to be at the fore-front," she added. The Minister said government recognizes the great potential of women and children in the development of the nation, hence the creation of the Women's Ministry with cabinet ranking. "This is to ensure that issues relating to women and children are given special attention and discussed at the highest level of governance."

Hajia Mahama said government was taking steps to alleviate the poverty and suffering of women, hence the institution of the women's fund to support women in small businesses and to encourage more women to start their own ventures.

Mr Ibrahim Hussein of the Islamic University College, Ghana, expressed worry about the level of ignorance among Muslim women. He said most Muslim women lived their lives as if they were helpless in doing something about their own situations, adding that most of them practise Islam ignorantly. Mr Hussein held that most women were abused because of the principle of polygamy in the Islamic religion and urged the women to be familiar with their rights and obligations as stated in the Quran, saying, "Women should be informed of their rights and obligations as enshrined in the sharia."

He told the Muslim women that the Quran empowers them in a holistic way and called on non-governmental organizations to join the crusade to educate Muslim women about their rights. 17 Sept. 05

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