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ASWIM calls for commitment to women’s empowerment

BY: Graphic Online
Mrs Mavis Kitcher - Interim President of ASWIM
Mrs Mavis Kitcher - Interim President of ASWIM

The Association of Women in the Media (ASWIM) has called for a commitment to women's empowerment.

In a message signed by its Interim President, Mrs Mavis Kitcher, to mark international Women’s Day today, ASWIM said for decades, there has been agitation for the empowerment of women and girls across the world, primarily because in most societies women in practice are not equal members of their communities.

This year’s celebration of the International Women’s Day is taking place at a time when women’s voices are rising around the world through various campaigns, such as #MeToo, Planet 50-50, etc.

Below is a full copy of ASWIM's Statement

For decades, there has been agitation for the empowerment of women and girls across the world, primarily because in most societies women in practice are not equal members of their communities.

This year’s celebration of the International Women’s Day is taking place at a time when women’s voices are rising around the world through various campaigns, such as #MeToo, Planet 50-50, etc.

The theme for this year is: “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”, and according to UN Women, the theme will focus on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.

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In many societies in the world, there are women who do not have the power to decide when to marry, who that person should be, how many children to have, whether she would have access to education or not, and if she would be recognised for her capabilities and not perceived as a sex symbol.

Although currently the situation has changed tremendously in most societies, there still remains a lot to be done to balance the participation of women and men in all societies.

Obviously, the level of women’s participation is prime and critical to the development of societies around the world to ensure equity.

Cases for gender equality

The economic and business case for gender equality is now overwhelming. Evidence is mounting that having more women in boardrooms and senior management positions is positive for the bottom line and for society.

While there has been progress toward increased educational opportunities and greater participation of women in the world of work, there still remains under-represented levels of women at the top of companies around the world.

Women are not rising to the top in business, as there are fewer CEOs, compared to men.

Globally, statistics indicate that there are 22 women in ministerial and parliamentary roles for every 100 men.

Gender diversity has been shown to increase an organisation’s performance, as well as improve morale, recruiting and external image. McKinsey’s Women Matter research also found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 per cent more likely to have financial returns above the average in their national industry.

Clearly, the lack of women in positions of political power has a cost for society, too, because women often have different priorities and can be more effective where it matters most to the family, communities, society and the nation.

For instance, one cross-country study found that greater representation of women in parliaments led to higher expenditure on education as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Deeply rooted attitudes

Despite all these data, deeply rooted attitudes stand in women’s way, as studies have found a strong link between attitudes that limit women’s potential and actual gender equality outcomes in a given region.

In Ghana, the day is being commemorated with the global campaign theme: “#Balanceforbetter”, which will focus on building a gender-balanced society from grass-roots activism to national actions and also provide a unified direction to guide and galvanise continuous collective action.

The choice of the theme for this year’s celebration of IWD in Ghana is apt as it is at the core of the discourse on women’s empowerment.

Women constitute more than half of the population and so their participation and involvement in all sectors of society is crucial for progress at the family, community and national levels.

ASWIM joins women around the world in celebrating this important day as we reflect on the progress made on women’s rights.

We pay homage to the countless Ghanaian activists and advocates who have blazed the trail and those still working hard to ensure that there is equitable representation of women in all spheres of life.

The National Gender Policy aims at mainstreaming gender equality concerns into the national development processes by improving the social, legal, civic, political, economic and socio-cultural conditions of the people of Ghana.

Governance processes

The policy articulates issues from gender perspectives, ensuring that women and men, girls and boys, as well as the vulnerable, the marginalised and persons living with disabilities, participate and have a voice and decision-making power in governance processes.

Furthermore, Ghana achieved a historic feat when, on June 9, 2016, the Affirmative Action Bill was approved and is currently going through legislative processes.

ASWIM notes that there are countless laws which have been passed, policies and campaigns that have been embarked upon in this country to achieve gender equality.

Nonetheless, there is still a gender gap in the social, legal, civic, political, economic and socio-cultural aspects of life, while laws to improve the status of women are either not fully implemented or totally ignored.

An example is the Domestic Violence Act (2007).

As we celebrate yet another IWD, ASWIM calls on all stakeholders to show commitment to the laws and policies that empower women.

ISSUED BY: MAVIS KITCHER

INTERIM PRESIDENT

ASWIM