The Defence for Children International (DCI) and its partners implementing the “She Leads” Project in the Ashanti Region want government to take steps to eliminate structural and legal obstacles that hinder girls’ and women’s participation in politics and decision-making at all levels.
They also called on government to enforce international agreements, guidelines and protocols that sought to reduce harassment and violence that prevented women from ascending leadership positions.
These were in a statement jointly issued by DCI, Rights and Responsibilities Initiatives Ghana (RRIG), and Erudite Women Empowerment Foundation (EWEF) in commemoration of the International Day of the African Child.
The three Civil Society Organisations are local implementing partners of the “She Leads” project which seeks to raise awareness on the harmful practices and negative gender norms affecting girls and young women in the Ashanti Region.
It is an initiative of Plan International Netherlands, Defence for Children – ECPAT the Netherlands (DCI-ECPAT), African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), and Terre des Hommes the Netherlands (TdH), with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The statement also called on the private sector to support women’s leadership in the workplace through greater inclusion in executive positions and on corporate boards.
According to the statement, boys and young men must have more progressive attitudes towards gender equality and a more equal gender and age role division.
“Progressive traditional leaders, religious leaders, district assemblies, unit committees, and opinion leaders should play an important role in encouraging people to change their attitudes and beliefs on traditional gender and age role division,” part of the statement read.
It also urged the media to ensure equal visibility of female politicians and decision-makers and promote a more inclusive representation of leadership, while creating a safe and enabling political environment in which all girls and women could participate.
Women’s equal participation in politics, the statement said, was a crucial step toward achieving gender equality, the Sustainable Development Goals, and progress for all.
It said closing the gender gap by upholding girl’s and women’s right to political participation requires cross-cutting approaches to national and local issues and specific actions from key institutions, including the government, CSOs, media, academia, local communities, and the private sector.