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23.12.2004 Regional News

Women's group reaffirms position on focus of Ministry of Women

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Accra, Dec. 23, GNA- The Network for Women's Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) on Thursday reaffirmed its position about the need for the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC) to focus on its core mandate of formulating and influencing national policies in the interest of women and children.

In a statement issued in Accra, it said its position about the Ministry was consistent with its longstanding efforts since the days of the National Council on Women and Development (NCWD) to draw attention to the need to strengthen such institutions to enable them to influence all aspects of policy formulation in the interest of women and children.

"Then, as now, NETRIGHT was concerned that the focus on credit and income generating activities in the absence of a comprehensive gender policy would not address fully all the dimensions of gender inequalities in Ghana.

"Giving credit to poor women and taking children off the streets are very important measures, which should be pursued vigorously. However, these activities have to be buttressed by policies, which go to the roots of these problems."

NETRIGHT urged the Ministry and its departments to be responsive to Ghana's commitments under regional and international agreements, as these provide the basis for MOWAC's own existence as a Ministry and the promotion of gender equality in Ghana.

The statement noted that the sense of grievance of the Minister, Mrs Gladys Asmah, over the funds raised by NGOs and the claim that the monies would be better used by MOWAC confirmed NETRIGHT's view that the Ministry was grossly under resourced.

It said MOWAC's budgetary allocation of 20.563 billion cedis, representing 0.09 per cent of the entire 2004 budget, did not match the work expected of such an important institution.

"It also conveys the unfortunate impression that the government expected donors to fund the core work of the Ministry." NETRIGHT therefore called on the government to urgently increase the budgetary allocation of MOWAC as an important step to ensuring the fulfilment of its mandate.

"The main aim of NETRIGHT is the promotion of women's rights in Ghana and its objectives are to draw attention to the violation of women's rights and to campaign for changes to achieve women's with men." It said this did not translate into a confrontation with men, as it even have in its ranks individual men and men-led organisations. "NETRIGHT is therefore appealing to the Minister to focus on the main issue at hand, which is how best to ensure that women enjoy full citizenship rights and that Ghana achieves equitable and sustainable national development...."

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