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General News Wed, 3 Dec 2003

Gender activists calls for more women in decision-making process

Various gender activists on Wednesday called for immediate policies that would ensure that many women were placed in positions that would make them part of the decision-making and development process.

The activists described as unfortunate the low number of women in decision-making level, even though women ! formed the majority of Ghana's population, expressing the concern that, the number of women in Parliament, for instance had gradually decreased to only nine per cent.

They said that lapse had created lots of systems of social insecurity for women and their children.

The activists made the observations in Accra at the inauguration of two steering and drafting committees, which has been put in place to develop a "Women's Manifesto" document as parts of efforts at enhancing women's participation and effectiveness in policy-making processes.

The document, which is expected to be drafted by the end of January next year and launched in February, would contain ! broad issues of concern to women that should be addressed by policy-makers to promote greater responsiveness to citizens rights, greater gender sensitivity and overall well-being in specific socio-economic context.

Professor Tekyiwa Manu, Director of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana and a Board Chairman of ABANTU for Development, a gender based non-governmental organization, initiators of the document, said the lapses created in society had created lots of discomforts for most women in Africa and Ghana particularly.

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Prof. Manu said it's was time such a manifesto was developed as a voice of Ghanaian women to impress on politicians and other policy makers "to take women's issues seriously".

Professor Ama Atta Aidoo, a renowned writer and a gender advocate, who is also the Convenor of the Steering Committee, said the idea of a women's manifesto was very laudable and timely and urged all ! Ghanaians to support it to make a difference in the national developme nt process.

Dr Rose Mansah-Kutin, Regional Programme Manager of ABANTU, said the steering committee would be responsible for the policy direction for the production of the manifesto while the draft committee would utilize information gathered from various consultative meeting and additional sources on the subject for the production of the document.

She said the manifesto would be used as an advocacy tool towards the 2004 general election and beyond.

Ms Dzodzi Tsikata, of the University of Ghana, is the Convenor for the drafting committee.

The process of developing the manifesto is being supported by non-governmental organisati! ons including the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Actionaid-Ghana, the Ford Foundation and IBIS-Ghana. GNA

Source: GNA
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