By Doris Amenyo, GNA
Accra, March 10, GNA – The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has observed the International Women’s Day with a call on society to support the progress of women in all spheres of life.
Mrs Joyce Afutu, the Director of Communications and Cooperation of the NCCE, said the Day was an opportunity to evaluate and celebrate the progress that women had made in all scopes of life, be it political, social or economic and to commit to continually press for progress by translating the theme into action.
The Day, also known as the United Nations Day for Women’s Right and International Peace, is observed annually on March 8 to celebrate the socio-economic and political achievements of women globally. The theme for this year is; « Press for Progress-PFP ».
Mrs Afutu said the occasion was also a time to reflect on the various ways in which women had been set back and their rights denied, and to celebrate the ‘fighters,’ who sometimes at the peril of their own lives, stood up and spoke out as voices of voiceless women pressing for progress.
Ghana as a member of the global community celebrated the Day on the theme: « Women Too – Press for Progress as Game Changers ».
Mrs Afutu said the role that women played in the economic, social, and political development of Ghana could not be overemphasised, yet, there was remarkable under-representation of women in leadership, especially public life.
« As we strived to translate this years’ theme; ‘Press for Progress’ into action, we hope to galvanize government and citizens to be committed to ensuring that women were able to exercise their full complement of rights as guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution, » she said.
Article 36(6) of the 1992 Fourth Republican Constitution clearly provides the foundation for the role of women in governance and nation building.
It stated that ‘The State shall afford equality of economic opportunity to all citizens; and, in particular, the State shall take all necessary steps so as to ensure the full integration of women into the mainstream of the economic development of Ghana’.
Mrs Afutu said this was a constitutional requisite and on International Women’s Day, it was imperative to remind government and policy makers to create the enabling environment for women to contribute meaningfully to national development.
Over the years the NCCE had undertaken several advocacy campaigns on gender equality including research on « Witches Camps in Ghana » in 2010 « Women in Traditional Governance » in 2011, « Status of Women in Ghana » – 2012 and « Child Early and Forced Marriage » – 2014.
« As a country we must understand that the continued exclusion of a large portion of our citizenry (women) from decision-making does not create a strong and healthy democracy, » Mrs Afutu said.
She said in order for the nation to successfully achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), « we would need the active involvement of women. »
« We must rope in women, especially those in rural communities, to ensure an acceptable standard of living, violence free society, elimination of harmful cultural practices among women, food security and nutrition, decent work, accessible education, and guarantee right to health including sexual and reproductive health.
« We call on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the African Union Gender Champion for 2017 to expedite the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law as a matter of priority and urgency.
« Women’s rights activists, Civil Society Organizations, and all well-meaning Ghanaians should renew the clarion call for the enactment of this bill, » she said.
The NCCE on International Women’s Day celebrates Ghanaian women and reminds the State to fulfil the dictates of Article 36 (6) of the 1992 Constitution.
The NCCE urged women to relentlessly « #PressforProgress, » fight for equal rights and fight to end all forms of abuse against women in Ghana and across the world.