COVID-19 exerbates inequalities, health, socioeconomic condtions – High Commissioner

The Acting High Commissioner of Canada to Ghana, Ms Kathleen Flynn-Dapaah says the outbreak of the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities and further expose vulnerabilities in health, socioeconomic conditions and political voice.

She said it had also shone a light on existing injustices in the society.

The high commissioner disclosed this during a two-day national consultation on NGO shadow report to Ghana’s 8th and 9th periodic reports to United Nation (UN) Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) committee organised by Women in law and development in Africa (WiLDAF), Ghana in Accra yesterday.

The consultation aimed to discuss the extent of the implementation of the CEDAW Treaty in Ghana and agree on critical areas of concern for consideration by the CEDAW committee during its review of Ghana’s 8th and 9th periodic reports which is due next year. 

It was funded by Plan International Ghana, OXFAM in Ghana, Crossroads International and Women’s Voice and Leadership in Ghana 

According to the high commissioner, new data from UN women suggested that the pandemic could wipe out 25 years of increasing gender equality, employment and education opportunities could be lost, and women may suffer from poorer mental and physical health in the long-term because of the consequences of the pandemic.

“This picture makes it critical that, at this point in time, we take stock of our international human rights obligation. Identify gaps that contribute to inequalities for women and girls and forge new ways of bridging them.

This requires collaborative efforts at all levels and by all actors. And it will continue to be necessary to do so for a long time, given other trends we observe around the world that threaten women’s rights,” she added.

Ms Flynn-Dapaah expressed Canada’s support saying “Canada recognises the critical role that non-state actors, WROs, CSOs, NGOs play in helping to ensure that we protect the progress that has been made in relation to women’s rights and gender equality.”

The National Programmes Coordinator, WiLDAF Ghana, Ms Melody Darkey said WiLDAF Ghana’s contributions and relationships nationally, regionally and internationally placed it at a unique position to lead the process of coordinating the NGO shadow report to the CEDAW committee.

She expressed optimism that, the consultation would reach a consensus and increased knowledge on the CEDAW and its reporting processes.

The consultation was attended by Non-governmental organisations (NGO), civil society organisations (CSOs), Women’s Rights Organisations (WROs), queen mothers and policy makers.

CEDAW often referred to as the “Women’s Bill of Right” or “Every Woman’s Treaty” is one of the core international human rights treaties of the United Nations treaty system, which requires member states to undertake legal obligations to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.

The convention provides basis for realising equality between women and men through ensuring women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in political, economic, social, cultural and civil rights.

Shadow report is a report produced by NGOs, CSOs and other partners that directly comments on the State Reports to the CEDAW Committee. 

Ghana is due to submit its 8th and 9th periodic report to be reviewed by the CEDAW Committee next year. As a result, WiDALF Ghana is leading  coalition of interested WROs, Coalitions and Networks, CSOs and NGOs to prepare a shadow report to support a comprehensive review of the situation of women in Ghana by the CEDAW Committee.


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