The Women’s Manifesto Coalition (WMC) hosted by ABANTU for Development, is today marking sixteen (16) years of the launch of the Women’s Manifesto for Ghana.
The collective resolution in mobilising through an inclusive process to produce this historic blueprint, was very much influenced by the global mandate of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) in 1995.
The framers of the Women’s Manifesto for Ghana believed in the possibility of addressing gender inequality issues as a principal step in democratic consolidation in Ghana.
Sixteen years ago, on September 2, 2004, The Women’s Manifesto for Ghana was developed and launched by a broad constituency of women’s groups and allies nationwide.
The Women’s Manifesto for Ghana is a political but non-partisan document that sets out critical issues of concern to women in Ghana and makes demands for addressing them.
It was necessitated by the insufficient attention given to critical issues affecting women. The issues contained in the document include the limited participation of women in politics and policy making, women’s inability to access resources as land, women’s disadvantaged economic position, and the harmful cultural practices meted to them in the name of culture.
The Manifesto therefore provides a platform of a common set of demands for the achievement of gender equity, gender equality and sustainable development.
There are notable achievements for celebration since the launch in 2004 and the subsequent review in 2016 of the Women’s Manifesto for Ghana. Among others, there has been the passage of landmark gender-related legislation, as well as the heightened visibility of women in public spaces including the appointment of some women into high profile leadership positions.
Notwithstanding the progress made, much more needs to be done in terms of responding to the demands contained in the Manifesto. Ghana continues to grapple with gendered inequality practices such as women’s lack of access to secure livelihoods, low participation and representation of women in public life and harmful cultural practices specifically targeted at women.
As we reflect on the Women’s Manifesto’s sixteen years of existence, we wish to remind government and policy makers about the centrality of women’s rights in promoting democratic governance and national development.
We therefore call on the government, political parties and policy makers to hold themselves accountable to the demands contained in the Manifesto. This is especially critical for women this year, as we prepare for the 2020 national elections.
On our part, the women’s movement in Ghana will continue to work hard to strengthen our networks and coalitions to ensure our collective efforts lead to the full implementation of the demands in the Women’s Manifesto for Ghana.
HAMIDA HARRISON CONVENOR