Political empowerment of women must be encouraged – Minister

Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, John Ackon has called on political parties to empower more women and include them in their activities.

The low representation of women in Parliament, in the minister’s view does speak well of Ghana’s efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), noting a lot more needs to be done to encourage women to take advantage of the opportunities available to them in politics.

He said the inclusion of women during the planning and implementation of policies at the decision making level provides a guiding principle on how to deal with issues concerning them.

The Deputy Minister made these comments at a panel discussion organised by the Australian High Commission in Accra to commemorate International Women’s Day and celebrate the achievement of women across the world.

Mr Ackon noted that although a lot has been done since the Beijing Conference to empower women and their participation in the political, economic and other sectors of the economy, a lot more must be done to champion the cause of women.

He believes that although maternal mortality has improved, there is relatively high incidence of maternal mortality and cervical cancer in the country due to the unavailability of trained nurses and midwives to handle such cases.

In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on women and girls, a review of the achievement of Ghanaian women and the evaluation of the prospect of achieving gender equality in women empowerment must be seriously considered, he suggested.

He said the government of Ghana through the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill will ensure equal participation of women in key positions of government.

Significant strategies are also being put in place to address gender inequality and to empower women at all levels of society.

He therefore called on the National House of Chief to accept the integration of more Queen Mothers for a solid balance at that level.

He indicated that the coordination of a gender-specific policy to provide legal basis and complement all issues concerning women and children is being developed.

Mr Ackon noted that in order to achieve the MDGs the contribution of the entire society at large is necessary since society has partly contributed to the issues.

Graeme Dickson Acting Australian High Commissioner

Acting Australian High Commissioner to Ghana Graeme Dickson said gender equality is central to economic and human development and a priority for the Australian Government, both domestically and internationally.

He also noted that achieving the economic empowerment of women and gender equality will require a sustained effort and close collaboration between governments, donors and civil society organisations.

International Women’s Day is celebrated globally each year on the 8 achievements of women.

Some women representatives who were present at the function called on women to change their thinking and understand that they have choices and until they make those choices for themselves no help offered by anyone will be fruitful.

Participants advised government to ensure policies presented to them for approval address the needs of women before they are passed. Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Naa Sakwaba Akwa | faustine.akwa@myjoyonline.com

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