Corporate entities have also been urged to support efforts at ending gender-based violence by funding focused campaigns as Ghana prepared to mark the 24th Year of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based violence Campaign in the country.
The 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is globally marked between November 25 and December 10 every year to raise awareness about violence inflicted on women and girls across the world.
It is also a means of taking a stand against the forces that allow women and girls to be victimised because of gendered norms and stereotypes.
Ms Susan Aryeetey, the Resource Mobilisation Manager of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ghana, who made the call at a WiLDAF-media interaction, on Monday. said although there had been some achievements in the campaign against gender violence, there was more to be done by all actors, especially, the government, to ensure that the all forms of violence were eradicated.
She said statistics still reveal numerous gender-based violence and abuses being perpetuated against women and girls, with early marriages, forced marriages and sexual violence being on the increase while many more Ghanaian communities continue to accept child marriages.
Ms Aryeetey said despite Ghana attaining gender parity in Primary schools, there were many girls who did not reach second cycle and tertiary levels of education, explaining that, more girls were also staying out of school because of non-accessibility to washroom facilities.
She called on the media, as a major stakeholder, to help sensitise and educate society at the community level, on early marriage and its effect on girls’ development, as well as on the importance of girls in accessing education.
“The media should also investigate girls living at witches camps and their access to education, and also, girls with disabilities and how they are surviving,” Ms Aryeetey stated.
Ms Patricia Essel, the Programme Manager of the Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) Ghana, explained that the interaction was being used to engage the media ahead of the activism campaign, for the media to recognise and play its role in ending gender-based violence.
The global theme for the 16 days campaign is, “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All”.
Ms Essel said the 16 days selected to be observed include key global days designated to commemorate international events and days like, November 25, which marks International Day against Violence against Women, and December 10, the international Human Rights Day.
She said these international days were marked in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasise that such violence is violation of human rights.
The 16 days also highlights other significant dates such as December 1, which marks World Aids Day, December 3, International Day of the Disabled, and December 6, marking the Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre.
She said the global theme recognised the dire situation for millions of girls and boys, and young women and men whose universal human right to education was daily impacted or cut short due to violence, lack of resources, and discrimination.
“It is our obligation to focus on the unwarranted situation of education for girls and boys, young women and men this year through the 16 days campaign,” Ms Essel said.
“Under this global theme, we all calling on everyone to join in advancing the right to education and challenging violence, discrimination, and inequality in education at the intersection of gender, race or ethnicity, religion, real or perceived sexual orientation, socio-economic status and other social identifiers”.
Miss Precious Naa Shormey Engmann, a Girls Club Member, appealed to the government, the Ghana Education Service, Parents and Teachers to make education safe for all children by providing teaching and learning materials to make studying easier.
Mrs Afua Adotey, a Board Member of WILDAF, who chaired the event, called on everyone to join in the Campaign to eliminate violence entirely while the media did follow-ups on court convictions of the perpetrators to serve as a warning to those who abuse women, girls and the persons living with disabilities.
She advised the media to do more education among the rural communities to protect women and girls from being victimised.
“Education should be made safe for all, especially children in the rural areas, and men who abuse women should be brought to book”, she added.