|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference on Institutional Mechanisms for Promoting
Gender Equality, Women’s Empowerment in Ghana
Constant assessment and improvement of institutions were critically important for the empowerment of women, Ghana’s Minister for Women and Children's Affairs said today.
“Our Ministry recognizes the importance of having appropriate institutional mechanisms and effective collaboration and coordination processes to get the desired results,” Minister Juliana Azumah-Mensah said at a Headquarters press conference. “Therefore the Ministry has prioritized institutional strengthening, including regular internal self-assessment processes and periodic external review to facilitate reengineering,” she added.
Previewing a presentation titled “Beyond Commitment to Responsive Institutional Structures”, which she will give tomorrow, 4 March, at a side event of the Commission on the Status of Women, the Minister said Ghana had decided to share its experience of institutional gender-equality mechanisms because its efforts under the Beijing Plan of the Action had “yielded considerable results” despite great challenges.
The institutional machinery had been able to adapt to working with other parts of Government and with civil society, she said, noting that the aim of tomorrow’s side event was to explore effective institutional structures for empowering women at the national and global levels. The event would also provide an opportunity for representatives of national women’s machineries to explore more deeply the proposed new United Nations gender entity and share their expectations of it.
Describing the critical advances made in Ghana, she said they included those on domestic violence, human trafficking, gender parity in primary-school enrolment and implementation of various international conventions. The constitution adopted in 1992 addressed gender equality and the legal framework had frequently been upgraded, she said, noting that the Government had maintained links with civil society organizations over the past 30 years and supported programmes on women’s training, career promotion and day-care, among other areas.
The Government remained very sensitive to women’s issues and had appointed women to high positions such as Speaker of Parliament and Chief Justice, she continued, pointing out that many ministries had female chief directors. However, there was still much work to be done on institutional arrangements. “Challenges are also there, staring us in the face.”
She said that, while much had been done to increase women’s numbers in Parliament, they had to “fight the men on the podium, and they are not letting go easily”. In addition, civil society must engage better with the Ministry on the delivery of services and local programmes. Women’s access to productive resources also needed improvement, as did HIV/AIDS services and access to the justice system. For those reasons, institutional machinery must be further refined, resources mobilized and Cabinet-level support increased, she said, noting that those factors were being addressed in the current national gender strategy for the period 2009-2010, which was the basis for action by the Ministry and its international partners.
At the United Nations level, the Ministry and Ghana’s women’s organizations looked forward to the realization of the proposed unified gender entity, she said, adding: “It would be good news for women’s empowerment in Ghana in terms of technical and financial support.”
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