Politics of Mon, 7 Sep 20092
Konadu says women serve as barometer of national development
Accra, Sept. 7, GNA - Former First Lady and President of the 31st December Women's Movement, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, says women serve as a true barometer in checking whether governments are doing well or not? "If women were empowered and helped to deal with negative things that affect them and are inimical to their development, it would definitely help their families, communities and the nation," Nana Konadu said.
A statement issued in Accra said she was speaking on "The Role of Women in Socio-Economic Development: The Case of the 31st December Women's Movement in Ghana," at a seminar marking the inauguration of the Norway Branch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Oslo, Norway. Nana Konadu said it was necessary that women were included in the hierarchy of various sectors of the state so that they can contribute in support of their lesser known ones to rise above the drudgery of life and help to boost the moral upbringing and training of the youth.
The former First Lady said major developmental indices affected women directly. Water, environment, health, population, children's education, and education of the woman, were major socio-economic pointers that women had to deal with on a daily basis, she noted.
Nana Konadu said the 31st December Women's Movement had worked tirelessly to give women the strength of character to take on roles hitherto preserved for men, and that in recent times more women have found their place at some of the most important decision making levels. "During the Nkrumah era, women were asked to get involved in the struggle towards freedom and self-governance but after winning the election through the hard work of women they were relegated to chorus singers for the CPP. "So it was with successive governments until the advent of the December 31, 1981 revolution."
Nana Konadu said the call by the then Chairman of the PNDC, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings was for participatory democracy, people's power and no fence sitters. All Ghanaians including women folk were enjoined to take part in turning back the clock of retrogression. "But even then women were still being elbowed out in the grassroots structures such as the People's Defence Committees (PDCs). "We decided the only way was to form our own organisation but still got queries from the hierarchy of the PDCs and Committees for the Defence of the Revolution (CDRs) asking who gave us the right to set up such an organisation."
The former First Lady said the 31st December Women's Movement was established primarily to target women in economic activity, to educate them on their rights and help promote laws that protected women and children. Other objectives were to make women an absolute part of the revolution and empower them, using the United Nations declaration which states that every country should develop its women socially, economically, politically and culturally. Nana Konadu said in order to achieve these objectives the Movement started projects in agriculture and handicrafts that were geared at making women economically stable.
The movement also established early childhood centres for working mothers and encouraged vaccination against childhood killer diseases. "The early childhood centres gave children a head start into educational institutions and helped break the cycle of poverty in the communities." Nana Konadu called on women to accept to become family heads and heads of institutions when such positions come up so they can bring their knowledge to bear on society.