On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Wednesday, March 8, 2018, the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) celebrates women for their immeasurable contribution to the social, economic, cultural, and political development of Ghana.
The theme for this year’s celebration, “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives,” provides an opportunity to reflect on the efforts and struggles of women activists to change positively, the overall status and circumstance of women and girls in Ghana. While we commend the significant strides made in the fight for women’s rights, justice, and equality, and the various other attempts at bridging the gender gap in Ghana, CDD-Ghana notes, with concern, that progress towards gender parity remains slow.
This inequity is especially prevalent in women’s participation in politics, in spite of the policies introduced to increase women representation in key government offices. A recent Afrobarometer survey indicates that a large majority (72%) of Ghanaians “agree” or “agree very strongly” that women should have the same chance of being elected to political office as men. However, women are rarely encouraged to compete for such positions. This was evident in the 2016 elections where there was only one female presidential candidate and only one female running mate, representing 14.3% as opposed to 85.7% male. Though there was an uptick in women representation in Parliament in the elections (37, compared to 29 in 2012) – the highest in the country’s history – this is still very low, compared to 238 elected male parliamentarians.
Further, Ghanaian women – both in the rural and urban settings – are confronted with peculiar challenges which threaten their socio-economic and political development. In spite of the contributions of rural women to agricultural production and the economy, most agricultural and economic policies are not women-inclusive. They continue to face diverse challenges, such as limited access to land, lack of access to credit, poor access to healthcare – particularly maternal healthcare.
With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Index indicating that it will take an estimated 102 years for Sub-Saharan Africa to close its overall gender gap, we hope the nationally-adopted theme for this year’s celebration, “#WomenToo: Press to Progress as Game Changers,” will aptly motivate women and all stakeholders to strive for the much desired change anticipated in the lives of women.
The Center believes that appropriate policies and measures must be introduced and implemented to accelerate the realization of gender equality in Ghana. Paramount among these is the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill, which will ensure 50:50 representation of women in key public appointments. We also call for gender-responsive provisions in key government programs such as the Planting for Food and Jobs Program which has the potential to positively impact lives of millions of Ghanaian women, and the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Program. Such efforts will enable women to overcome existing barriers to economic emancipation while realizing socio-economic potentials.
Accordingly, CDD-Ghana calls on women-interest stakeholders, particularly the Government of Ghana, the Parliament of Ghana, the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection, civil society organizations, the media, and the public to intensify efforts at addressing challenges confronting women in Ghana. We also urge and encourage women to participate actively in politics, at all levels of government, and demand the adoption and implementation of policies and programmes that will unburden and transform the lives of women.
For more information, please contact:
Efua Idan Atadja
CDD-Ghana Communications Officer