A two-day media forum of the Women, Peace and Security Institute (WPSI), is underway in Accra, with a call on the media, government and other stakeholders, to be solution seekers to women?s participation in leadership and peace issues.
The forum also called for competence in the personal ability, expertise and subject experience in performance, and not gender.
Ms C Pat Alsup, Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy, made the call on Tuesday at the official opening of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) Women, Peace and Security Institute (WPSI) Media Forum.
She said the media, which is an important piece to the solution of empowering women, has a role in promoting women to be actors and stabilizers.
?Sharing referral information, creating safe spaces for people to run to, applauding those in authority who act, convict and sentence and noting when responsible actors fail to perform their duties are all critical media responsibilities,? she said.
She said after some 14 years of the passage of the United Nation?s Security Council Resolution 1325, more than 35 per cent out of approximately 125,000 peace-keepers are women, participating fully in peace-keeping operations.
?We recognize and salute Ghana for being one of the top five nations contributing female uniformed personnel in peace-keeping operations, with a total of 167 female Ghana Armed Forces soldiers and 85 police officers,? she said.
She also commended Ghana for formulating a National Action Plan for the implementation of UNSCR 1325.
The Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy to the USA, said there is however much work to be done in achieving gender equality both domestically and internationally, and called for collaborative vital roles amongst all, especially the media, in ensuring international policy and law framework works for women.
?As half of those who bear the brunt of war and conflict, women also play a vital role in creating and maintaining conditions for stability and peace,? she added.
Explaining the rationale behind the engagement with Journalists, Major General Obed Akwa, Commandant of KAIPTC, said the forum which was on the theme ?Partnering with the Media to Promote the Full Implementation of the UNSCR 1325 and Women?s Greater Participation in Governance and Peace Processes,? aimed at providing opportunity for the media to reflect on its role in raising awareness, and the monitoring of the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and related WPS resolutions.
He said the forum also sought to draw attention to the persistent gap between policy and action with regards to the role and contributions of women to peace processes and their representation in leadership.
He said although it could be said women had made some significant gains since the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women and the platform for Action, the level of women?s participation in peace processes had remained low.
?Their representation and visibility at the upper reaches of state institutions, including the security services have also remained low,? he added.
He, therefore, urged stakeholders to come out with strategies that would promote vibrant partnership between them and the media for the aspirations of women, peace and security agenda, which was also fundamental to the attainment and consolidation of lasting peace.
Dr Izeduwa Derex-Briggs, Country Representative, UNWOMEN, South Sudan, observed that women issues needed to be at the centre of all policy formulation, and called for concerted efforts amongst all stakeholders, to efficiently help promote women issues and their rights in the country, as it was an essential commodity for a country?s development.
She tasked journalists to holistically accord women stories with the needed attention, and also see them as equal partners playing the good roles of helping to promote people?s rights, especially those of children.
The participants called for collaborative and pragmatic measures amongst KAIPTC, WPSI, government, institutions and all stakeholders, to help curb injustices imposed on women, and rather accord them the room for leadership roles.
UNSCR 1325 is a landmark international legal framework that addresses not only the ordinate impact of war on women, but also the pivotal role women should play in conflict management, conflict resolution and sustainable peace.