By Gifty Amofa, GNA
Accra, Jan. 16, GNA - Mrs Comfort Asare, Director, Gender Department of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has called for more awareness creation and sensitization of women and girls on their rights.
She said some women and girls lack understanding of their rights and do appear to quarrel with state and non-state institutions who seek to support them to enjoy their rights.
Mrs Asare said this on Wednesday during the launch of the Maputo Protocol score card for Ghana on Articles Four (Right to life and dignity of the person); and 13 (Social and Economic Rights) by the Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED).
The production of the report was supported by Girls Advocacy Alliance (GAA), Plan International and Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE).
Maputo Protocol guarantees comprehensive rights to women including the right to take part in the political process; to social and political equality with men, improved autonomy in their reproductive health decisions and an end to female mutilation.
It was adopted by the African Union in the form of a protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights in Maputo in Mozambique.
“Without proper sensitization and education, Ghana will still record low marks, and education of girls is key to empower them,” she said.
She expressed discontent with the inability of some women and girls to use the skills they have acquired but rather migrate to become head porters “Kayayei”.
Such girls, she said, often fail to speak-up when their rights are being trampled upon due lack of confidence and lack of education.
She said a high percentage were also getting pregnant by some teachers leading to school drop-outs and this would not augur well in the effort to empower women.
The Director said some also refuse to accept those rights due to their socialisation and existing traditions and cultures.
She urged girls to take advantage of the free Senior High School (SHS) to get themselves enlightened.
Parents should be responsible for the upbringing of their children, especially the girl-child adding that there is no need to overburden the girl with family chores among others to enable them get enough time to study and become independent and useful, she said.
She said the Gender Ministry has a five-year plan to address adolescent pregnancy and commended Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) for their support in complementing government’s effort.
All hands must be on deck to support girls to complete school in the bid to bring women on board national development as the country would suffer if they are left behind, she said.
Juliet Kimotho, GAA Programme Coordinator, FAWE- Kenya, said the rights of girls have far advanced in the African sub-region as 14 countries are currently implementing it.
She said though some of the countries have reservations on some aspects, Ghana on the score card has done well with the help of CSOs.
Miss Esther Tawiah, Executive Director for, Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED), called for stiffer punishments for teachers who impregnate girls adding that this is more important than transferring them.
Mr Frank Wilson Bodza, Programme Manager-in-Charge of Governance, Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF) Ghana, launching the report, said Ghana has enough laws, policies as well as institutions in implementing the Maputo Protocol but Ghana’s bane was empowering them to work.