The Department of Gender of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), has held a national consultative meeting to solicit views towards the revision of the National Gender Policy (2015).
The meeting, sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and held on Thursday, September 16, 2021 in Accra, was also to review the strategic implementation plan of the policy.
The stakeholders included the Ministries of Gender, Education, Youth and Sports, and Interior, UNICEF, National Youth Authority, Global Affairs Canada and the Regional Coordinating Councils from across the country and Civil Society Organisations.
After the meeting, there would be regional and district consultative meetings until November 2021, for qualitative and quantitative data to be gathered from citizens nationwide.
Ms Vivian Alandu, a Consultant for the Stakeholder Consultation Meeting, said since 1998, the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, had handled over 180,000 cases in 100 offices nationwide.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice collaborated with DOVVSU in that regard to curtail harmful practices against women such as widowhood rights.
As of 2013, she said data collected suggested that women constituted only 29 per cent out of Ministers of State, 22 per cent, their Deputies, 24 per cent, Chief Directors of Ministries, and 8.2 per cent, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.
Ms Alandu said majority of the 92 per cent labour force in the informal sector were women and employing the services of males was higher than females except in elementary services.
She mentioned economic opportunities, gender roles and relations, women’s rights and access to justice, women’s empowerment and livelihood and women’s leadership and accountable governance as some of the key commitments of the consultative meetings, explaining that the exercise would review what had been done within those areas and assess what could be done to improve them.
Speaking on the approach to the implementation of the policy, she said there would be a budgetary allocation from Parliament and the Ministry of Finance for the exercise.
Moreover, there would be partnerships with International Grant Agencies and monthly updates on progress of the exercise would be shared with the public.
Ms Faustina Acheampong, Director of the Department of Gender, said there was room for improvement on the policy after five years of its implementation to enable it to reflect the current state of gender issues in the country and create more room for women and girls to appreciate their full potentials.
To her, it was prudent that the Department worked with stakeholders to ensure significant increase in gender equity, and equality to close the gender gap.
Mr Niyi Ojuolape, the Country Representative of the UNFPA, said while gender inequality had placed females in disadvantaged situations and thereby curtailing their growth and development, it had also compromised the optimal utilisation of human capital in various countries.
He said, therefore, the Policy’s vision of building a gender-just society in which all women and men enjoyed equality and equity and participated as equal partners in the development process of the country was bold, smart and compelling.
Statistics from the Accra Regional Office of the DOVVSU, as of August 2020 revealed that 31.9 per cent of Ghanaian women had faced at least one form of domestic, physical, economic, psychological, social or sexual violence.
“It is therefore our hope that the review of this document and its strategic framework will meet the expected goals of our advocacy efforts for women’s and girls’, combating abuses, discriminatory practices and challenging the roles and stereotypes that affected inequalities and exclusion.
Dr. Hafisa Zakaria, the Chief Director, MoGCSP, said the exercise would enable the stakeholders to have a common understanding of issues pertaining to mainstreaming gender and preventing pervasive discriminatory practices against women including stereotypes and women’s participation in political spheres of the nation.
She said women and men were entitled to enjoy same economic resources, political participation, leadership and decision making platforms, and employment opportunities.
She called on CSOs to engage men and women as advocates to play pivotal role in closing the gender inequality gap.