The Network for Women's Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT), on Tuesday urged government to create the enabling environment for citizens to thrive and contribute to development.
The group said systemic barriers and structures of male privilege and dominance maintained the status quo and undermined the ability of women to realise their potential.
In a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, NETRIGHT said it had followed closely, the remarks made by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the recently ended “Women Deliver Conference” in Vancouver, Canada and the comments and interpretations that emerged on various radio and TV stations, in social media, and at different News conferences.
It said some of the debates were highly politicised, while others contained inaccuracies or reflected a misunderstanding of the major issues of concern related to the status of women and girls in Ghana and globally.
However, other comments and interpretations lifted the conversation to a place that provided Ghanaians with an opportunity to reflect on, and discuss how to make the country a safe and supportive space, where all citizens could flourish and give of their best.
The statement highlighted that women’s activism had a long history in Ghana, and was rooted in traditions of female mobilisation and cooperation.
Ghanaian women had a long and continuing history of political activism and participation in public life and the struggle for a democratic nation.
It stated that over the years women’s activism had led to the creation of numerous and diverse groups that advocated and worked hard across the country to improve the lives of women and girls.
Adding that together with other coalitions such as the Women’s Manifesto Coalition, and the Domestic Violence Coalition, NETRIGHT had played the critical role in the passage of domestic violence legislation and the development of the Women’s Manifesto.
It said as far back as 2004, the Women’s Manifesto called for increased representation and participation of women in decision-making and demanded that the legislature become 30 per cent female by 2008 and 50 per cent female by 2012.
The group also called for the equal participation of women in the leadership of political parties and copies of the Manifesto were presented to Parliament and political parties.
However, there had been little progress towards their targets and as of 2019; women’s representation in Parliament remained at an abysmal 13.7 per cent, while women constituted only 18.55 per cent of all ministerial appointments.
The statement said for the first time since the Gender Ministry was created, it had ceased to be with a cabinet status and that, sexual and gender-based violence remained a big problem, notwithstanding the existence of the Domestic Violence Act, and low budgetary allocations for effective implementation of the law.
It said NETRIGHT was working with various stakeholders, including; traditional leaders and communities, to address structural barriers facing women in the access, control and ownership of land, including agricultural land.
Adding that, they would continue to strengthen women's capacities in land governance through the establishment of community land development committees, the development of land tenancy agreement templates to facilitate proper documentation of land tenure security.
They would also ensure that the Land Bill, when passed, will protect the interests and rights of women and the vulnerable in society.
NETRIGHT believes that the conditions of marginalised or disadvantaged groups, including women, can never be improved solely through their own efforts, no matter how dynamic they might be.
Together with other groups, they are committed to continue their work towards transformative and inclusive change in Ghana.
However, they believe that for this change to occur in the lives of Ghanaian women and girls, the state and its agencies must fulfill constitutional, regional and international commitments to gender equality, and regularly report on progress to citizens.
They have supported and worked to increase women’s representation and effectiveness in district assemblies, in parliament and in public life.
NETRIGHT has been involved in constitutional review processes and have worked with successive governments to push for the passage of Affirmative Action legislation, the Property Rights of Spouses Bill, and the review of the Intestate Succession Law, all of which are still before Parliament.
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