On occasion of International Women’s Day: First Lady acknowledges role of women in national devt.

The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo has urged women to support each other to consolidate gains made in pursuing the empowerment of women and girls all over the world.

In a message to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD), Mrs Akufo-Addo recognised the contributions of Ghanaian women to the country’s development particularly “amazing women who often go unnoticed”.

“Let us support one another to consolidate our gains and strive for more,” she urged.

This year’s IWD on the theme, ‘I am generation equality: Realising women’s rights’ sought to rally all people around the globe to ensure a gender-equal society, 25 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platforms for Action which aimed at empowering women and girls.

According to the United Nations (UN) 25 years after the declaration, “it’s time to take stock of progress and bridge the gaps that remain through bold and decisive actions.”

“Together, we want to mobilise to end gender-based violence. We are calling for economic justice and rights for all, bodily autonomy, sexual and reproductive health and rights and feminist action for climate justice.

“We want technology and innovation for gender equality and feminist leadership and we believe small actions can have big impacts in making this vision a reality,” it said.

Meanwhile scores of world leaders, civil society organisations and women groups have called for deliberate actions to accelerate gender equality.

The UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka called on everyone to tackle the persistent barriers against gender equality as the world celebrates IWD.

“Around the world and through the decades, we have all shared in the global struggle for gender equality. Regardless of our age, country, background or gender, the fight for equal rights has collectively defined our lives and we must take action together to achieve it.

“This IWD, the UN Women’s multi-generational campaign, ‘Generation Equality’, brings together past and present advocates to demand gender equality in this generation,” she held.

Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Ms Josephine Nkrumah shared in the highlights of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterre’s speech to mark the day arguing that, “there is no justification for women’s continued exclusion from global development”.

“Generation equality cannot be generation gradual improvement or generation incremental change. Generation equality means equal rights and opportunities for all women and girls, now,” she said.

The Chairperson thus called for equal opportunities, representation of more women in public and private spaces and access to all needed resources for Ghanaian women.

The Hope for Future Generation (HFFG) in a statement commended the many Ghanaian women who have risen to key positions and led institutional change as part of contributing their quota to the country’s development.

It however used the occasion to urge government to fast-track passage of the long-awaited Affirmative Action Bill which it believed would go a long way to empower women and end discrimination in decision-making processes.

“It is unacceptable that in a country where over 50 per cent of the population are females, only 38 of 275 parliamentarians are women.

The Ghanaian woman has the qualities to excel, so in line with goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), let us ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making whether at home, politics, economic and public life,” it maintained.

The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911 and was supported by over one million people.

Even though significant gains have been made globally, gender inequality continues to hold women and girls back and deprives them of basic rights and opportunities.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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