The Women’s Manifesto Coalition (WMC), hosted by ABANTU for Developmentꟷ a gender and policy advocacy Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has commemorated the eighteenth anniversary of the launch of the Women’s Manifesto for Ghana.
In a statement signed by Ms Hamida Harrison, Convener, WMC, to mark the occasion, WMC called on government, to immediately pass the Affirmative Action bill into law, noting that theCoalition was persuaded into developing the Women’s Manifesto by the conviction that change was possible in Ghana just as it was in other countries where women’s rights and gender equality had become strategic priority issues.
According to the Statement, Ghana would benefit from the full inclusion of the expanded experiences of women in ways that were truly democratic and define genuine and equal ownership as demanded in the Women’s Manifesto for Ghana.
The Statement said the Women’s Manifesto was an initiative that had created a platform for demanding and promoting women’s rights and gender equality in Ghana, adding that the collective resolution of mobilising to produce the historic blueprint was highly influenced by the global enthusiasm and resolve generated by the women’s movement and the mandate for gender equality since the International Women’s Year was declared in 1975.
The framers of the Women’s Manifesto for Ghana, the Statement said, believed in the possibility for consolidating democracy and social justice through demanding equal gender relations in the governance system.
According to the Statement, the demands contained within the ten Sections of the Women’s Manifesto were directly aligned with the principles and commitments in Ghana’s Constitution and through its membership of the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS).
The Statement said, WMC wished to appreciate the notable achievements that had been accomplished, namely the passage of the landmark gender-related legislation and the heightened visibility of women in high profile leadership positions, eighteen years after the launch and subsequent review of the Women’s Manifesto for Ghana. This, the Statement said, was a testimony to the capacity of the country to tackle deeply-entrenched biases and structural inequalities and, in turn, facilitate the promotion of women’s rights, gender justice and social transformation.
Notwithstanding the progress made, the Statement added, there still existed multiple and systemic impediments which created conditions for women’s marginalisation and vulnerability.
The Statement noted that Ghana continued to grapple with gender-inequality practices in women’s lack of access to secured livelihoods, low participation and representation with huge gaps in the number of women able to access public leadership and harmful cultural norms that are women-specific.
The nation, the Statement said, was yet to see the creation of a total enabling economic, political and cultural environment relating to the nature of democratic governance that creates equal space for all citizens.
The Statement noted that anniversaries were opportunities for recollections of the years gone by and positive reflections for the years ahead.
For that reason, the Statement said, as WMC reflected on the Women’s Manifesto’s eighteen years, the Coalition took into account the difficulties embedded in the processes that aimed at a fundamental reassessment of social arrangements to eliminate deeply-entrenched biases and structural inequalities for a new social architecture.
According to the Statement, eighteen years ago, on September 2, 2004, The Women’s Manifesto for Ghana, developed by a broad constituency of women’s groups and allies nationwide, was launched.
The development of the Manifesto, the Statement explained, was necessitated by the failure to place emphasis on tackling the underlying causes of myriads of deeply-entrenched socio-cultural inequalities and disparities by the state, its agencies and political parties.
The Statement identified the limited participation and representation of women in politics and policy making, women’s inability to access such central livelihood resources as land, women’s disadvantaged economic positioning, aid dependency and diminishing welfare provisioning, inability to access justice, vulnerable employment in labour markets and harmful cultural practices promoted in the name of culture among the issues of concern.
The Manifesto, the Statement concluded, was, therefore, intended to provide a platform within Ghana’s context that would progressively draw attention to the magnitude of these inequalities and demonstrate how these barriers affect the various dimensions of women’s productive lives as citizens.
Source: G.D. Zaney, Esq.