Government policies should be gender responsive – Stakeholders
Stakeholders at this year’s World Women’s Day celebration have called on government to formulate gender balanced programmes and policies to address the numerous challenges confronting women.
It is expected that such policies would enable women to contribute significantly to national development and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
They charged the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to map out interventions that would eliminate gender disparities and empower women and girls to be critical contributors to national development.
The stakeholders, who were mostly women made the call at this year’s International Women’s Day Celebration organized by Action Aid Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), at Tongo in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.
The women complained that the current trend did not influence gender equality especially with issues of unpaid work and representation of women in decision making among others.
The event was commemorated under the theme, “Think Equal, Build Smart, innovate for Change: to reduce the burden of care on women and girls in Ghana.”
It brought together rural women and stakeholders in gender across the region.
The women indicated that they were not asking their husbands to pay them for the work they do at home but they were advocating for the men to join in and contribute by participating in household care work to relief them, and to enable them to venture into other income generating activities to support the families.
They called for the abolishment of outmoded cultural practices and beliefs that suggested that the woman’s role was in the kitchen, and said when men especially boys were involved in the household chores, it would enable them to become responsible persons to impact on society. Mr Sulemana Alhassan, the Upper East Regional Programmes Manager of Action Aid Ghana, indicated that the contribution of women to achieving sustainable national development was tremendous, however, they were confronted with socio-cultural barriers and discrimination.
He said society was dynamic and all relevant stakeholders must endeavour to form synergies that would lead to the empowerment of women and girls, especially in reducing the burden of unpaid care work through the provision of the infrastructure and services like water facilities and early childhood development centres.
This, he added, would afford the women the time and opportunity to engage in economic and productive activities, and added that, it would help achieve gender equality and the SDGs, particularly goal five.
Madam Paulina Patience Abayage, the Upper East Regional Minister explained that the prevailing gender norms and beliefs subjected women to bulk of unpaid care work and denied them the opportunity to be empowered socially, economically and politically to enjoy dignified lives.
She said for the country to successfully attain the SDGs, especially goal five by 2030, it was imperative for all stakeholders to endeavour to work hard to advance the course of gender equality so as to influence critical services and adequate budgetary allocations for concerned institutions to help reduce care work burden on women.