The Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Della Sowah, has assured the Commonwealth of Ghana’s commitment to promote gender equality.
The meeting, held on the theme: ‘Gender equality through sustainable development in an inclusive commonwealth,’ was to exchange views and build consensus on commonwealth issues and develop a unified position on the topic.
Mrs Sowah further stated that the issue of working towards gender equality had moved from rhetoric to action under the current Ghanaian administration, stressing, “For the first time in our history, an Affirmative Action Bill has actually been given Cabinet approval awaiting passage into law by Parliament.”
She also cited the National Gender Policy which was launched in 2014 as one of the numerous legal frameworks and the policies the government had put in place to promote gender equality in Ghana, explaining that the policy, among other initiatives, would ensure the mainstreaming of gender issues into national development.
Touching on the important role Information and Communications Technology (ICT) played in national development, Mrs Sowah suggested that it should be included in the agenda of the Commonwealth, for women’s empowerment. She said the use of ICT by some traders in Ghana was yielding great dividends.
She also advised countries to come up with frequent data to empower their action plans that would equip them to take the correct decision, and said: “It is important that countries have data to power our action plans.”
“I will share Ghana’s recent experience in domestic violence with you. We had worked for several years on a plan of action for domestic violence, targeting men as perpetrators.”
“But with support from the Department for International Development (DFID), there was another research after some years and the realisation was that we needed to look at the targeting again. We found that more men than women said it was wrong for husbands to beat their wives,” she said.
For her part, the Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland, said, “Unless the world pays particular attention to violence against women and girls, the world’s development goals will not be achieved.”
Kenya will host the next WAMM conference in 2019.