As the world celebrates the ‘International Women’s Day’ focusing on ‘Think equal, build smart and innovate for change’ under the #BalanceforBetter campaign theme to ensure parity by the year 2030, the Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) salutes all Ghanaian women and girls. We take the opportunity to celebrate and congratulate the women of Ghana particularly our many (in some cases) forgotten heroines, for the sacrifices and immense contributions they made to the founding of Ghana and to the 62-year journey to build an independent Ghana and an equal and just society.
While celebrating women and girls, we take sober reflections on the socio-economic and political context within which Ghanaian women and girls continue to face inequalities, injustices, violation of their rights and countless abuses. We acknowledge efforts by past and present governments to promote women’s rights and gender equality in the country but we also register the slow pace of progress in all sectors - ranging from women’s low participation in governance, their poor access to resources critical for livelihoods and the unacceptably high rates of violations of the rights of women and girls.
Women continue to be in the majority in the survivalist sections of the informal economy and regularly experience livelihood insecurities and state harassment. Women continue to do the bulk of housework and related functions without adequate social support in the form of child support, day care centres and labour-saving devices.
Women continue to suffer from harmful and discriminatory social practices which are justified in the name of culture, tradition and religion. Women continue to be poorly represented in politics and in public life and in many spheres of decision making – the recent ministerial nominations by the President for the newly created regions exhibits explicitly how Ghana falls short in honouring its own commitment to international, regional and national obligations to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the country.
Women continue to suffer violence and abuse in unacceptably high numbers from intimate partners not forgetting the emerging high incidence of political violence against female politicians.
This reality exists despite the passage of several policies and laws directed at addressing women’s problems over the years.
As a country, if we believe in the campaign theme #BalanceforBetter, then, the time is now - to accelerate efforts to promote the advancement of women and girls. With the recognition of our President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo as a Gender Champion by the African Union, we urge him to actualise this recognition by putting in place pragmatic and sustainable systems to address gender inequalities and social injustices to promote women and girls’ rights. Ad hoc gender equality and women’s empowerment interventions which do not seek to tackle systemic barriers and inhibitions that disadvantage women and girls but to score political points must stop.
To the women and girls; and men and boys who support women and girls’ empowerment, we say AYEEKOOO!
Issued this day 8th March, 2019 by the Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT).