Accra - Ghana, March 8, 2019 - International Women’s Day is globally marked on March 8 every year to celebrate women’s achievements – from political, economic, and cultural to the social space changing women’s empowerment cause and making a difference not just in small difference but a big and critical one, while calling for gender equality.
The theme for this year is: “Balance for Better” and focuses on innovative ways in which countries can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.
This year’s theme is also hinged on the growing global push for professional and social equality and encourages gender balance at various business and corporate levels. This falls in line with Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals which calls for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. It also endorses SDG8 and SDG 10 which talks about sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and decent work for all, as well as reduced inequalities.
Even though significant gains has been made globally, gender inequality continues to hold women and girls back and deprives them of basic rights and opportunities professionally. According to UN Women: the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, globally women earn 23% less than men for work of equal value. As a result of this inequality, there’s a lifetime of income inequality between men and women, and more women are retiring into poverty, thereby defeating the global target of ending poverty in all its forms everywhere.
In the same vein, the 2018 Global Gender Gap Index by World Economic Forum reveals that when it comes to political and economic leadership, women hold just 34% of managerial positions across the countries where data is available. Ghana is ranked 89th out of the about 150 countries accessed.
Though Ghana is ranked 25th when it comes to economic participation and opportunities for women, it is ranked 117th out of 149 countries when it comes to political empowerment of women. This is evidenced by women representation in Ghana’s Parliament which hovers around 10%, and is woefully below the 30% mark set by the United Nations.
As an organisation working for equal opportunities for women and girls, Hope For Future Generations (HFFG) – which is also the lead Convener for the CSOs Platform on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 in Ghana calls on the Government of Ghana to help remove all barriers that deny women to have income security, decent work and economic autonomy, as well as the opportunity to lead, participate in and benefit equally from governance systems.
We strongly believe that women’s economic empowerment is essential to the realization of women’s rights and to achieving global gender equality. All women can realize all of their human rights, especially women’s economic, social and cultural rights including the right to decent work, economic security and freedom from violence and discrimination, regardless of who they are and what they do.
Realizing women’s economic empowerment requires transformative change so that prosperity is equitably shared and no one is left behind. The International community has made this commitment in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The time has come for the Ghanaian woman to be well represented in political and economic decision-making processes. We call for the quick passage of the Affirmative Action Bill which will among other things escalate the participation of women in key executive roles. This will also help bridge the professional segregation and gender wage gaps that exists.
On this day, HFFG further calls for attention to be paid to women with disabilities who are not only part of the world’s largest minority (PWDs), but are recognized to be more disadvantaged. Though data from Ghana’s 2010 Population and Housing Census suggest that about 3% of the Population persons were living with disability in Ghana, recent estimates suggest the disability rate is about 10%, with females constituting majority of them.
Throughout our work as a local NGO, we have come to realize that, persons with disabilities especially women and girls are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, so as one of the countries to have signed and ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol, and in accordance with Article 29 of Ghana’s Constitution and the PWDs Act, 2006, (Act 715), we urge the government of Ghana and other Civil Society Organizations to ensure that the numerous number of women with disabilities are given equal rights and opportunities at all levels.
On this note wish all women and across the globe, especially from Ghana, a Happy International Women’s Day. Together we can better balance, better the world, #BalanceForBetter which is essential for economies and communities to thrive.
Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) is a children, youth and women-focused non-governmental organisation. Since its inception in 2001, HFFG has continuously worked to reach urban, rural and under-served communities through its interventions, with the aim of enabling members of these communities to be adequately informed and empowered to enable them take critical decisions that will improve their quality of life. HFFG seeks to provide equal opportunities in all our interventions for these target groups. To this end, HFFG has over the last 15 years, ensured gender mainstreaming and meaningful participation of women, children and young people, as well as marginalised and under-represented groups in all our programming.