Govt urged to operationalise law to protect the right of women

Young women group in the Upper East Region called “Young Urban Women Movement (YUWM)” has called on the government to as matter of urgency take deliberate steps to ratify and enforce the effective operationalisation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 (C190); which protects the rights of women.

According the women group the move would help to protect women workers against harassment and abuse.

They further called on the government to implement the Recommendation 206 (R206) and other international treaties and national laws to ensure that women’s rights at workplaces were recognised and protected against gender-based violence.

The YUWM made the call at Bolgatanga in a petition rooted through the Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Yakubu to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo after embarking on a route march through the principal streets of the regional capital on Thursday.

The move was facilitated by Action Aid Ghana, an advocacy Non-Governmental Organisation.

The Regional Chairperson of YUWM , Ms Dorcas Zoogah who read the petition on behalf of the women in the region, noted that a study conducted by Action Aid Ghana in 2018 revealed that the abuse, harassment and violence against women especially young women at workplaces was prevalent in the informal sector and needed urgent attention.

The research which focused on young urban women in the informal sector showed that 44 per cent of the young women in the sector suffered repeated sexual oriented behaviour such as rubbing, touching or groping, 49 per cent had been sexually abused in the world of work and 44 per cent had been harassed more than once.

The Regional Chairperson noted that the plight of young women was compounded by the emergence of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the situation had increased domestic violence and violence at workplaces.

“We have observed an alarming surge in cases of domestic violence worldwide due to the effects of confinement measures and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new urgency. While the attention of government of Ghana is imperative for saving lives and livelihoods under the threat due to this unprecedented pandemic, we urge the government through the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to also as matter of urgency ratify and implement the C190 as part of measures to curb the effects of this pandemic.”

The Upper East Regional Programmes Manager, Action Aid Ghana, Mr Alhassan Sulemana, said the issues of various forms of harassment and abuses at workplaces against women were worrying and government needed to treat the matter with all the seriousness it deserved to enable women work in decent environment.

Upon receiving the petition, the Regional Minister assured the women that he would forward the petition to President Akufo-Addo and expressed optimism that the President would act on it.

He, however, advised the women especially those harassed and abused at workplaces or homes to report to the appropriate authorities as there were national laws that dealt with perpetrators of such acts. 

The ILO C190 on violence and harassment is an international declaration that was adopted by the global community on June 21, 2019, and it sought to eliminate all forms of violence, intimidation and harassment at workplaces and ensure better condition of service for workers.

It is to also enhance the rights and freedoms of workers and prevent employers from taking advantage of their employees.

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA

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