By G.D. Zaney, Esq.
Government has been urged to implement
provisions in International Instruments, Conventions and Protocols, to which it is signatory, as well as those in the 1992 Republican Constitution of Ghana to enhance the social good and empowerment of women in Ghana.
Mrs Sheila Menka-Premo, Executive Director, Law and Advocacy for Women-Ghana (LAWA-GH), who made the call, was delivering the key note address at the commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD)in Accra on Friday, March 8, 2019.
Speaking on the topic: Optimizing innovation and technology to reduce the burden of unpaid care work on women and girls, Mrs Menka-Premo noted that removing structural barriers, such as the burden of care on women, as a means of enhancing women’s economic well-being and their ability to contribute meaningfully to development, required the use of technology and innovation.
Dr Comfort Asare, Director of Women, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSP), who spoke on the topic: Relevance of International Women’s Day and its theme, said the objective of IWD was to express love and gratitude towards women’s contribution to society and to honour the power and struggle of women who had broken all barriers and reached the pinnacle of success in every sphere of life, such as politics, education, social work, corporate, sports, IT, research and development, and innovation, among others.
Dr Asare, therefore, stressed the need for women and girls to be given opportunities to contribute to making real change and to help shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impacted their lives.
“When we put the focus on those who are least heard and least visible, whether individuals or those hundreds of millions of informal sector workers who currently have little or no presence in official planning or financial protection that will sustain them in health child care or older age, we are tackling some of the deeper-reaching social problems and can make the progress we want to see,” Dr Asare added.
In a statement, Ms Margaret Brew-Ward, Women’s Rights Co-ordinator, Action Aid Ghana, reiterated the need for government and duty bearers to develop policies to address the burden of unpaid care work.
Welcoming participants to the forum, Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, Executive Director, ABANTU for Development, a gender and policy advocacy Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), urged government to give maximum attention, as well as commit adequate resources, to promoting women’s rights and to bridging the gender inequality gap.
Dr Mensah-Kutin underscored the importance of the role of MGCSP in efforts of promoting women’s rights and empowerment through their representation and participation in decision-making processes.
In an address, Mrs Hamida Harrison, Convener, Women’s Manifesto Coalition (WMC), disclosed that ABANTU, host of WMC, was seeking to work with its partner Organization―ActionAid― and to use IWD 2019, along with industry leaders, game-changing start-ups, social entrepreneurs, gender equality activists and women innovators to examine the ways in which innovation could remove barriers and accelerate progress to gender equality, enhance women’s economic empowerment and their representation, and participation in decision-making spaces.
Mrs Harrison said the women’s rights movement in Ghana was committed to pursuing a future in which innovation and technology would create opportunities for women and girls in Ghana, particularly in the reduction of unpaid care work.
This, she said, would enable women play active roles in building more inclusive systems, especially in Ghana’s economic development and promote the achievement of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on gender equality.
The commemoration of this year’s IWD, which took place on the theme: Think equal, build smart, innovate for change―Reducing the burden of care on women and girls in Ghana, was organized by ABANTU and WMC, with support from ActionAid Ghana.
Apart from its commemoration, IWD 2019 is a project to initiate a campaign that specifically targets women and girls drawn from the innovation and technologies sector to identify strategies for the reduction of unpaid care work.
The project also aims to expose women and girls to the range of opportunities and related challenges in the innovation and technology field and their implications for the promotion of inclusive systems and gender equality.
Present at the forum were the National Women Farmers Movement and the Young Urban Women’s Movement.