Yesterday, Ghana joined the rest of the world to mark another International Women’s Day, the day set aside to celebrate the economic, political, social and cultural achievements of women across the globe and a call-to-action to progression of gender parity all over the world.
Ghana may have made significant and tremendous progress towards achieving gender parity, but we still have a long way to go.
Inequalities persist everywhere — in business, education, politics, etc. In Ghana, there is low representation of women in decision making, evidenced by a paltry 12.7 per cent representation in Parliament.
Practices such as early marriage, female genital mutilation and witch camps still exist and there are still complex issues concerning male dominance and patriarchy that need to be addressed in order to step up efforts towards achieving sustainable development.
Many women are still victims of inequality, injustice, violence, sexual exploitation and discrimination. Reported incidents of violence against women and girls are on the increase.
That is why the Daily Graphic stands in solidarity with women’s rights activists to help bring these practices to an end. Indeed, we call on all Ghanaians everywhere to stand up and speak out very loudly against the defilement of girls and teenagers. The government should give serious attention to this menace and bring the culprits to book.
We also encourage men to be advocates for women and affirm the invaluable roles women play in society.
This year, the UN chose the theme: “Time is now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives” to draw attention to the rights and activism of rural women, who make up over 25 per cent of the world’s population.
We commend the government of Ghana for adopting the theme: “#WomenToo: Press to Progress as Game Changers to Develop Ghana”, which is informed by the urgent need to refocus attention on institutional and socio-cultural barriers that are preventing rural women from enjoying an adequate standard of living, a life free from violence and harmful practices, access to land and productive assets, food security and nutrition, decent work, education and health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Furthermore, the Daily Graphic commends civil society organisations (CSOs) for the active role they are playing to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are achieved.
SDG Five seeks to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by the year 2030. We all need to work to help reduce inequalities and end gender-based discrimination in all forms to achieve this goal.
We once again exhort all citizens of Ghana to reflect on the state of women, who are our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters, and resolve to respect, protect and promote their rights as citizens in order to harness their full potential for the development of Mother Ghana.
We believe that we can all achieve this if women are given equal opportunities in education, remembering what the renowned African scholar, Dr Kwegyir Aggrey, said: that educating women is tantamount to educating a whole family.
Posterity will not forgive us if we fail to transform the lives of women. We salute our women.