She said stereotype roles and discriminatory practices, as well as social beliefs that women were supposed to serve men, had undermined their initiatives to take up leadership positions and participate in governance and decision-making.
She made the call in Accra at the training of 27 journalists selected from various media organisations in the Upper East, Northern, Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra regions for three-day training on promoting effective reporting of women’s rights issues.
The training, which was under the centre’s “Women in Leadership” project, was aimed at enhancing the knowledge of the journalists to better understand gender and human rights issues.
The project is being implemented in three districts, Atwima Mponua, Wenchi and Dangme East, where it is expected to impart leadership skills and mentor 15 women per district and 60 young women from selected universities and senior high schools.
At the end of the four-year project, it is expected that there would be an increase in the capacity of women to advocate their needs and proposals at the local level; women leaders would demonstrate improved responsiveness and push for increased accountability to the female constituents and increased opportunities for women’s participation in protecting and promoting women’s rights and development.
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According to Ms Coker-Appiah, despite many international conventions and domestic legislation to protect women, violations of their rights were on the increase in the country. She, therefore, called on the government to be committed to the implementation of constitutional provisions that aimed at protecting women’s rights.
She also called on the journalists to take to analytical reporting, feature article, documentary and commentary writing, particularly on women’s rights issues.
That, according to her, would erase the misconception that men are heads of the households and chief breadwinners, while women are nurturers and caregivers.
She adds that when journalists demonstrate enough competencies in their profession, it would help address the social, cultural, educational and economic barriers that relegate women to the background.
A Programme Manager at the Gender Centre, Ms Evelyn Nuvor, said the low participation and representation of women in governance processes and structures in the country led to the marginalisation of women and the vulnerable, who make up over 50 per cent of the country’s population.
By Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho/Ghana