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12.10.2005 General News

More women in the formal sector will reduce poverty

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Koforidua, Oct. 12, GNA - A Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Dr Dzodzi Tsikata, has stated that unless more women were encouraged and resourced to go into the formal sector, women would continue to wallow in poverty. She noted that the formal sector provided some concessions, such as maternity leave with pay, medical allowance, housing allowances and others, which cushions the financial base of the worker, but lacking in the informal sector.

Presenting a paper on the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) and gendered poverty in Ghana, at a workshop for women's organization in the Eastern Region on Wednesday in Koforidua, she stressed that, poverty was still on the ascendancy, despite the GPRS.

The workshop was organized by Network for Women's Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), an NGO championing the cause of women to discuss and enlighten women's groups on the provisions of the GPRS document. According to Dr Tsikata, the economy was growing, inflation was being kept down but the recipes for poverty, such as unemployment, maternal mortality and infant morbidity were also rising, indicating that the GPRS had not paid attention to gender equities.

She said 74 per cent of resources was put in GPRS showing that, the government was committed to the eradication of poverty but "because the GPRS document looked more of donor conditionality than to really eradicate poverty, it had not been able to achieve it's purpose. "Part of the problem is that the GPRS carries the burden of HIPC and donor conditionalities, thus, it continues in the tradition of economic policies underpinned by donor conditionalities with the expectation that, much would be funded by the donor" she pointed out. Dr Tsikata, who is also the Chairperson of Netright, said the grant and loan concessions being given to market women as a poverty reduction strategy was not making any headway and called for a better approach to tackle the poverty issue.

Mrs Elizabeth Akpalu, a gender equity advocate, who presented a paper on the overview of the women's manifesto, said women were most hit by poverty and special attention must be given to them. She called on government to show commitment to women by passing the domestic violence bill with all sections intact, especially the marital rape clause.

Mrs Akpalu noted that the country was not making any headway in the prevalence rate of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, because women could not negotiate safe sex to prevent them from contracting the disease from an infected husband, hence the need for the domestic violence bill to address that issue.

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