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11.11.2005 Regional News

Ghana has chalked some success 10 tears after Beijing

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Bolgatanga, Nov 11, GNA - A Lecturer of the University for Development Studies (UDS), Dr Agnes Atia Apusiga, on Friday said Ghana has chalked some amount of success in women empowerment 10 years after the Beijing Declaration.

She was delivering a paper at a forum in Bolgatanga on the theme, "Ten Years after Beijing: The Upper East Perspective. Achievements, Challenges, and the Way Forward."

It was organised by the Upper East Regional Inter-Sectoral Gender Network in collaboration with Action Aid International (Ghana) for Assembly Women and Development Practitioners. The Forum discussed the implementation of the recommendations of the Beijing Platform of Action in the region, achievements and constrains and planned strategies on the way forward. Dr Apusiga indicated that the Beijing Declaration made at the Fourth World Conference of Women in September 1995, contained far reaching recommendations on action to be implemented by Governments and other organisations.

"The recommendations were centred on initiating certain institutional arrangements at the national, regional and the international levels aimed at empowering women to be able to address issues affecting them such as poverty, education, health, decision-making in governance and conflicts among other issues", she stated.

Dr Apusiga noted that Ghana had committed itself to the improvement of the status of women by establishing the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs.

She stated that the establishment and strengthening of the Girl-Child Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service for the promotion of girl-child education in Ghana were part of the efforts by the Government of Ghana to meet the recommendation of the Beijing Platform of Action.

The Lecturer also mentioned the Domestic Violence Victims Support Unit set up by the government in controlling violence against women as one of the achievements made by government, saying most women were now not being manhandled like in the past.

She further noted that the income generating facilities put in place by the government and NGOs for women had promoted the productive resources of women.

Women, she noted can now access loans for their business ventures, adding that the government this year has provided 930 million cedis to be disbursed to women in the region for crop farming. The Lecturer however expressed concern about the growing rumour of conflicts in many communities, which have serious implication on women, children and development.

She cited Bawku, Wa, Zuarungu, and Zaare as examples and called on those stirring up such disturbances to desist from the practice.

Dr Apusiga expressed dissatisfaction at the low level of women representation in national and local government and other decision-making structures such as District Assemblies and Parliament. She further lamented the persistent delay in action on legislation and policy that would promote women's rights such as the domestic violence, disability, human trafficking and forced labour bills, which were still before Parliament.

Dr Apusiga appealed to the government to consider increasing the role of women in governance and hasten the passage of bills affecting women and children.

The Regional Director of the National Commission on Women and Development, Madam Paulina Abayage, stated that certain inhuman cultural practices such as elopement and female genital mutilation were being eliminated in the region and described them as a dramatic improvement over what prevailed before the Beijing Declaration. She indicated, however, that there were still some level of gender and cultural base violence in the region and mentioned widowhood rites, forced marriages and wife battering.

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