WiLDAF features in TV3's IWD Programme
Reflecting on this year's theme of "empower rural women, end hunger and poverty" in an interview, WiLDAF's Communication Officer, Mercy C. Adjabeng commented on the socio-cultural norms of rural communities which might limit women's development, particularly their education. She stated that because rural communities are more secluded, they are not typically exposed to the diversity of thought as more urban areas. As a result, male supremacy continues to be reinforced in many rural communities. Ms. Adjabeng described the particularly high levels of maternal mortality in rural regions as a result of lacking infrastructure and education.
Ms. Adjabeng applauded the role NGOs have played as the most effective advocates of women's rights in Ghana. According to Ms. Adjabeng, WiLDAF's Rural Women's Empowerment Project, has made progress in improving women's status in rural communities in the Ga West Eastern Region. Though it aimed at empowering women on their legal rights, it has resulted in many women claiming their rights, being empowered economically and taking on leadership roles.
She urged the government of Ghana to put pragmatic measures in place to reflect the various commitments to the equality of women and children it is signatory to. These include the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which ought to be more apparent in policy.
She admitted that the recently instituted Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs (MOWAC) is a positive move in this direction. However, in order to meet the need, the government ought to commit more substantial resources to MOWAC and empowerment initiatives, such as the Affirmative Action Bill. The Bill seems to be the only effective proposal for dramatically improving the gender disparity in political representation.
Earlier on, the interview had sampled expert views on women's leadership roles in conflict resolution. Both the Director of Plans and Programme at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Center, Levenia Addae-Mensah and the President of the alliance for Migration and Leadership Development, Ndioro Ndiaye emphasised the necessity for women's leadership in peace-building and conflict-prevention. They stressed that women are better placed to offer a unique understanding of the needs of women and children involved in conflict given the needed capacity building in leadership development.
Following the interaction with experts, views were also sampled from the general public, in light of this year'sInternational Women's Day theme. The interviews focused on the impact of poverty and hunger on the status of women with particular attention to rural women, in view of the 2012 theme. While poverty and hunger pose challenges to female populace, these challenges are not specifically a gendered issue, but rather a universal human right. Hunger and poverty are certainly necessary elements for human prosperity, but it is a low threshold for women's rights to consider these as a gendered issue. Challenges to women's rights are caused primarily by issues specific to women.
The TV3 program demonstrated a variety of perspectives, and so, a variety of prescriptions for the improvement of women's conditions in Ghana. While women have made strides, clearly there is still a long road to run to achieve gender parity.