Wa, Nov 28, GNA - Mad Esther Boateng, a gender activist with Action Aid Ghana, a non-governmental organisation, has said violence and discrimination against women would persist in the Upper West Region unless women had an appreciable level of representation in major decision making bodies in the region.
She said this could be achieved through the involvement of women in district assemblies and area and unit committees.
Mad Boateng said this during the regional launch of the 2005 ''16 days of activism against gender based violence'' at Wa on Saturday. She said there were 46 female assembly members out of 300 in the region and this was inadequate to make women assertive and to contribute to development.
Mad Boateng said the fact that 260 domestic violence cases against women were reported between January and June portrayed insecurity in the region and appealed to women not to hesitate to report such cases for redress.
Mr George Hikah Benson, the Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, appealed to district assemblies to consider enacting bye-laws that would discourage inhuman practices such as female genital mutilation, widow inheritance and elopement of school girls for marriage. He said although tradition had relegated women to the background, it behoved on women to strive to come out of the societal quagmire. "In most cases we hear that women are stumbling blocks to their colleague women and until such a problem is solved, they will not be able to unite to fight for their rights."
Mr Joseph Ziem, an official of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, appealed to the government to expedite action on the enactment of the domestic violence bill. Earlier, women from various groups undertook a two-hour march through the main streets of Wa, drumming, singing and dancing.