The Network for Women’s Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) has suggested that the government is not doing enough to enhance the issues that relate to the development of women and other marginalized groups in the country.
It said while other countries in Africa continue to show shining examples of political will and deliberate action to ensure women’s representation and participation in decision-making, Ghana continues to lag behind in that regard.
President Akufo-Addo, while speaking on a panel recently during the 2019 Women Deliver conference in Canada said there was not enough dynamism and activism on the part of women in Ghana to ensure they find space at levels of national decision-making.
But the comment has become controversial with many taking on the president for placing full responsibility on women despite the fact that there are systemic barriers and structures that make it difficult for women to get to levels of decision-making.
The Presidency has in response to the backlash on various platforms and various communications articulated the government’s position on promotion of women issues and all it has done to protect women in the country but NETRIGHT, which is made up of about 100 civil society organizations believes the government can do far better if there is political will.
NETRIGHT in a statement said, “[it] believes that the conditions of marginalized or disadvantaged groups, including
women, can never be improved solely through their own efforts, no matter how dynamic they might be. Systemic barriers and structures of male privilege and dominance maintain the status quo, and undermine the ability of women to realize their potential. In contemporary thinking, it is recognised that states have an obligation to create the enabling environment for all citizens to thrive and contribute to development. States such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa and Senegal provide examples of political will and leadership on women’s representation and participation in decision-making. This is in contrast to the situation in Ghana where women continue to lag behind in many sectors of public life and decision-making.”
Challenging Akufo-Addo’s claims that women were not being forceful or doing enough to push themselves up, NETRIGHT highlighted its many activities and achievements over the years, saying that there were many other projects they were embarking on to promote the development of women in the country.
The network, however, indicated that despite its efforts, bodies such as the Parliament of Ghana had failed to among other things consider its 2014 Women’s Manifesto which called for increased representation and participation of women in decision-making and demanded that the legislature become 30% female by 2008 and 50% female by 2012.
“As of 2019, women’s representation in Parliament remains at an abysmal 13.7% and women constitute only 18.55% of all ministerial appointments,” it lamented, noting that, “for the first time since its creation, the Gender Ministry no longer has cabinet status.”
NETRIGHT also observed that sexual and gender-based violence remained a major problem in the country despite the existence of the Domestic Violence Act.
“Budgetary allocations for effective implementation of the law is low,” it noted.