Women cannot wait, the time is now - Gender Minister
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba has on the occasion of the International Women’s Day charged all women to take charge of their lives and press for progress and change.
The Honorable Minister delivering a statement on the floor of Parliament to commemorate the 2018 International Women’s Day celebration on the Global theme: “Time is Now: Rural and urban activities transforming women’s lives” disclosed that Ghana has adopted a national theme wish is; “#WomenToo - Press for Progress as Game Changers in Development”. Hon. Otiko noted the two themes seek to highlight the need to empower women in all settings to play active role in uplifting women from poverty and to be change agents in their own development.
“The challenges of women and their development is not a women’s issue but a national agenda that should be addressed for the achievement of the accelerated development of our dear Ghana our motherland. Over half of our population is women and the rest are born by women so women cannot wait and the time is now for #WomenToo Press for Progress Change” the Minister stated.
Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba observed that her Ministry has strived through its programmes to empower women, improved legal and policy framework to protect women and capacity building of vulnerable women to cater for themselves and their families. She added the Ministry launched the He-For-She initiative to identify male ambassadors to pledge and commit to working towards gender equality, support the Affirmative Action Bill and promote the President’s agenda as African Union Gender Champion and Sustainable Development Goal Co-Chair.
Ms Djaba said her Ministry worked tirelessly to finalize and submit for Cabinet approval the Affirmative Action Bill. She added the climax of the 2017 Sixteen Days of Activism was climaxed with a community durbar in Assin Adadeitem (where a 4-year-old girl was defiled) to raise awareness on the negative effect of sexual based-violence just to mention a few.
“Mr. Speaker, Democracy is about numbers and equity. The Participation of women in democracy is basic to governance in democracy. Women have become dynamic leaders of transformation, Ghana 61 years after Independence.
Globally, women’s involvement in civil liberties, building communities and providing protection at various situations is widely acknowledged”.
“However, more needs to be done in the area of leadership both in government, the private sector and in urban and rural Ghana. Women contribute significantly to the growth and economic development of every country and yet their efforts are often less appreciated in national development”.
Addressing the Honorable Members of Ghana’s Parliament, the Gender Minister said the Economy of Ghana thrives largely on the informal sector which is dominated by women. The sector, she added is characterized by inadequate regulatory frameworks and higher risks, making women poor and vulnerable.
It is admitted generally that, there have been significant improvement in Ghana in the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment as well as attitudinal shift in society. However, there are still complex issues concerning male dominance and patriarchy that need to be addressed in order to step up efforts towards achieving sustainable development.
The average Ghanaian seems to hold unto the belief that, women are still just meant for child bearing and cooking and the shift is apparent in Parliament where out of 275 MPs, only 37 are female representing 13%.
“Mr. Speaker, girls are not in school, defilement of girls and boys are ongoing, rape, teachers impregnating girls, teenage pregnancy, child prostitution, child marriage, burning and maltreatment of alleged witches, wife beating and violence against women, abusing women and by exposing them on social media-rape. Unpaid work, kayayei trafficking still prevail in our society today”.
Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba noted the Ministry since its inception, has shown commitment regarding the adoption of vigorous policies and programmes to overcome gender inequality and women’s empowerment in Ghana.
The Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye on his part urged the Minister to fast-track processes that will lead to the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. The Day is set aside by the United Nations to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women, past, present and future and most significantly to draw the world’s attention to areas requiring further action, and the need to accelerate gender parity.