2022 IWD: Let’s push for gender equality for sustainable tomorrow- WOMEC

As Ghana joins the world to celebrate International Women’s Day today, Women, Media and Change (WOMEC) has urged all and sundry to join forces that push for Gender Equality today for secured and sustainable future.

A statement signed and issued by WOMEC on Tuesday March 8, 2022 said “The 2022 IWD should not be celebrated as business as usual. All must join forces that push for Gender Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow. The clock of on women’s rights must move forward!!!!!”.

Statement by Women, Media and Change To Celebrate International Women’s Day
Theme: Gender Equality Today for A Sustainable Tomorrow’
ACCRA: March 8, 2022.

The first International Women’s Day was held in March 1911 when women and men came together to talk about the need for women to have basic rights afforded to them, the right to vote, the right to work, the right to speak out in public and the right to equal pay. As an annual celebration, International Women’s Day provides the opportunity to reflect on the previous year and highlight the work which has taken place to advance gender equality.
The 2022 International Women’s Day is under the theme, Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow. The campaign theme is, #BreakTheBias. Women, Media and Change (WOMEC) has a sub-theme as “Empowering the Girl Child: A necessary tool for closing the Gender Gap”. The question is it possible to achieve gender equality today? Can we break the bias in our time?

The 2022 International Women’s Day today gives as another opportunity to reflect on the issues of gender equality and the promotion of the rights of women and girls. It is also an opportunity to recognise the courage, resilience and fortitude of women across the globe in spite of the discrimination, the violence and abuse they continue to experience on daily basis. The situation has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres rightly pointed out in his message to mark the Day, in too many areas, the clock on women’s rights is moving backwards. Violence against women and girls are on the increase. Many women are out of work due to the pandemic, while many girls have dropped out of school.

However, the pandemic cannot be blamed for the woeful representation of women decision making, politics and public life. The 2021 Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum estimates that it will take 135.6 years to close the gender gap worldwide and 145.6 years to attain gender parity in politics. The situation is worse in Africa, with Ghana not an exception. The 2021 Inter Parliamentary Union ranking of women in politics, Ghana occupies 147th position out of 193 countries. This does not speak well of a country that was the first to gain independence in sub-Saharan Africa. Out of 275 MPs only 40 are women. Of the 49 ministers, only 9 are women. Out of 39 Deputy Ministers, only 10 are women. We have 16 regional ministers, of which only 2 are women. In local governance the situation is not different. Out of the 260 MMDCES, only 38 are female. At this rate it might Ghana over 300 years to attain gender equality for a sustainable tomorrow.

The Constitution of Ghana guarantees equal rights of women and men, yet disparities in education, employment, politics, leadership positions and health for women remain. Article 17(1) and (2) of the Constitution guarantees gender equality and freedom of men and women, girls and boys from discrimination on the basis of social or economics status, religion, ethnic grounds. Sadly, various forms of violence against women still exist in Ghana. Some people still believe that the women’s place is in the kitchen. Many girls are still being subjected to harmful and unhealthy practices like Trokosi and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Women cannot rise to certain leadership positions because they are not regarded as competent or qualified for such positions.
To have accelerated growth, Ghana must take steps to ensure that women and girls are put at the centre of planning and programming. Women, Media and Change (WOMEC) is asking government to integrate gender perspectives into all national laws and policies. WOMEC is also asking Government to take immediate steps to expedite efforts towards the passage the Affirmative Bill into law. The Bill has been on the drawing board since 2011!

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the economic situation of women. The government should introduce economic measures to support women’s businesses and ensure that they have equal access to finance and resources.

Measures must also be introduced to protect girls and provide them quality education. There is need for intense advocacy on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

The 2022 IWD should not be celebrated as business as usual. All must join forces the push for Gender Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow. The clock of on women’s rights must move forward!!!!!

Charity Binka, PhD
Executive Director

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