2019 IWD: Amnesty International dialogue forum balances women 4 better
Scores of women from all walks of life across Ghana have joined the world to mark this year’s International Women’s Day(IWD) with a dialogue forum aimed at highlighting their plights, bringing it to attention of the public and mounting pressure on duty bearers to respond with proactive measures to help address them.
Dubbed: “Public Dialogue on Ghana’s Gender Balance on 2019 International Women’s Day is a event initiated by the Amnesty International Ghana(AIG) with support of the Human Rights Advocacy Centre(HRAC) and the Faculty of Law-University of Professional Studies(UPSA). It was held at the Justice Aryeetey Auditorium at the campus of UPSA in Accra on Friday March 8, 2019.
The International Women’s Day(IWD), is a day set aside to celebrate women across the globe, to highlight on issues of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
The theme for this year’s celebration is“Balance for Better” which resonates with goal 5 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which stresses on Gender Equality and the need to end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls
According the Campaigns & Fundraising Coordinator at the Amnesty International Ghana, Mr. Samuel Komla Agbotsey, the purpose of bringing the event to UPSA campus was to give the students the opportunity to have a feel of human rights and its practices to add up to their theoretical bank of knowledge.
Delivering his welcome address, Dean of Faculty of Law at the UPSA, Prof. Kwame Frimpong stressed the need for the celebration of women’s right to be prioritized taking cognizance of the fact that women form the integral part of the society, in the struggle for our advancement in life.
“If you understand that the woman is the same as a man, and is a human being then there’s no need for us to talk about gender discrimination. We don’t need to have separate rights for others or deny others of equal rights”.
In her solidarity message, the Executive Director of Human Rights Advocacy Centre, Ms. Cynthia Nimo-Ampredu appealed to President Nana Akufo-Addo to ensure that appropriate measures are taken to holistically address issues of women’s empowerment.
“We call on His Excellency, who is also an internationally recognised gender champion and his government to prioritise women’s empowerment”.
She equally called on government to effect the amendment of labour Act 2003 to increase maternity leave from three (3) to (6) months so as to promote job security for women as well as take radical steps to see the passage of the Property Rights of Spouses, the Intestate Succession and Affirmative Action Bills becomes a reality.
The staunch women’s rights advocate also demands that government take deliberate steps to increase women’s representation in Parliament to at least 30% and to address the systemic challenges experienced in the implementation of the domestic Violence Act.
Touching on the key challenges faced by women, Ms. Nimo-Ampredu believes government has stalled enough in helping address the issues of women when it comes to empowerment hence it has metamorphosed into a big problem; therefore, becoming a threat to the survival of the Ghanaian women.
Citing the State of the Nation Address (SONA) as example, she averred that the President has shown no commitment in addressing the issues of women. In her estimation, instead of him touching on “concrete deliberate measures to holistically address their concerns” he rather chose to remain silent.
She wondered where lies governments commitment towards women’s empowerment, adding, “we however cannot lose hope. We must continue to strive to bring that balance to not only promote respect for the rights of women but also our national sustainable development agenda”.
The three-hour program also witnessed a panel discussion which brought together members drawn from Government, Civil Society Groups, Gender Activists, Academia and the Amnesty International Ghana to deliberate on key issues affecting women. It was moderated by Ms. Sandra Esinam Afenu of the Multimedia Group Limited (Joy News Channel).
Dr. Maame Gyenkye –Jandoh, Senior Lecturer and Head of Political Science Department of University of Ghana, Legon led participants through an overview of Ghana’s journey in ensuring Gender Balance, while the Former Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Nana Oye Lithur gave an overview of Gender and Human Rights and how its understanding can help promote Gender Balance for a better society.
The Deputy Board Secretary of Amnesty International Ghana, Maame Akosua Asare, the last panelists presenting on the topic; Balancing for better: the role of young people in a fast-changing world, charged the youth to help empower themselves in order to change the negative mindsets people have about them. According to her, that’s the only way to balance the society.
For her part, Former Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hon. Nana Oye Lithur called on all and sundry to make deliberate and conscious effort to change the gender narrative to remove barriers to women’s empowerment where ever we find ourselves.
“I believe when we do this, we can fast-track the change that we all desire”, she posited.
According to the event organizers, the rationale behind the panelist discussion was to assess Ghana’s journey in ensuring gender balance; the challenges, where we are now and the way forward.
The Executive Director of Human Rights Reporters Ghana(HRRG), Mr. Joseph Kobla Wemakor, contributing his quota to the success of the program observed indecent or provocative dressing on part of women, particularly among the young girls, have been a cause of most sexual and gender based violence being perpetrated against them.
He therefore cautioned them against such habit in order not to fall victims to rapists.
A curtain was drawn on the event after social interactions and networking session which witnessed various insightful questions, comments and contributions from participants all geared towards trouble shooting and professing solutions on how to deal with women’s issues.
The forum was attended by representatives of various Civil Society Organizations(CSOs), NGOs, human rights activists, lawyers, teachers and students of UPSA, academicians, members of the Amnesty International Ghana, government officials including other stakeholders and women’s rights advocates in the country.
By Joseph Kobla Wemakor|Human Rights Reporters Ghana