Women Voice Crucial To Policy & Decision Making For Democratic Development.
A Feature by thefourlens.com
Banda-Ahenkro, July 19, 2023
Stronger women rights to land and productive assets enhances their status and improve living conditions, better nutrition and food sovereignty.
It improves the health and education outcomes, give the women higher earning and better protect them from gender violence.
It is believed that globally, women own less land and have less secure rights over land compared to men, because averagely, less than 20 per cent of global women are landholders, though make up estimated 43 per cent of the agricultural labor force.
Further, “more than 400 million women work in agriculture, but 60 to 70 per cent of such women were those employed to work in the agricultural sector”.
Mrs Esther Foriwaa, the Executive Director of Women In Livelihood Development (WILD) indicated in a welcome address at a training workshop organized to empower women to take active part in policy formulation to help them contribute effectively towards national and democratic development at all levels.
WILD is a women led Civil Society Organizations (CSO) working on women and gender issues in Banda, Tain and Wenchi in the Bono Region and Obuase, Afigya Kwabre and Kumasi Metropolis and other Municipal and District Assemblies in Ashanti Region.
It aimed at “Improving Livelihoods Among Rural Women and Deprived Communities” in the country.
According to Mrs. Foriwaa, there is lack of consistent national data on the full scope of women who have access to land to enable them monitor and enforce their rights, despite their crucial role in agriculture, food production, and land-based livelihood improvement.
She observed that women lack control over the land they depend on and are less likely to be included in decision-making about lands.
Women In Political Space
“Let us encourage our women with the needed support to participate and take up effective decision making spaces to promote equity in resource utilizations for holistic development”.
Mrs. Foriwaa noted and highlighted that “women representation and participation is low in Governance and Leadership at the District Assembly level where critical development decisions are made”.
It is therefore critical that, all stakeholders join forces to ensure that women rights situate well as Human Rights and use such mind set for development.
Mrs Foriwaa in that regard pleaded with opinion leaders to support women to contest and win as Ghana prepare for the 2023 District Assembly Elections.
The three-day training workshop, from last Wednesday to Friday was held at Banda Ahenkro in the Banda District of the Bono region, with financial support from the STAR-Ghana Foundation.
It was on Human Rights and Media Advocacy on equality for resources ownership and the rights for women to participate in decision-making, under the theme: “Promoting women’s access to control and use of land and other productive resources to promote and participate in decision making”.
In attendance were Traditional Authorities, the District Chief Executive, Member of Parliament, other Officials from government institutions and women leaders from various communities and religious denominations in the area.
The training aimed at helping and equipping the women to have laud voice to influence programs and policies which always discriminate against them.
It also created awareness and sensitized the women on right to inheritance and resources ownership.
The workshop gave participants sufficient knowledge on how to effectively engage and uses the media space as strong tool to advocate for women rights, demand accountability from duty bearers and how they could work in a free environment.
PNDC Law 111
The women rights advocates went through series of training to enhance their understanding in areas such as the provisions of the Interstate Succession Law (PNDC Law 111).
The PNDC Law 111 spells out how properties should be shared among families and siblings, as well as the need to allocate resources to women to promote gender equality.
Women have the right to equality in the enjoyment of all their rights, including the right to access, use, inherit, control and own land”.
Unfortunate Situations Of Women
According to some women in the area, in most cases women are typically not considered as land-owners or farmers, they are usually excluded from extension and agricultural support programmes and financial credit and loans which are necessary for effective use of land.
They observed that in the absence of secure tenure rights, women may be ejected from their home upon the death of the husband, saying, women lose access to firewood, fibers, food or medicine from forests which were designated as conservation areas.
Women lack recourse when an abusive partner kicks them out, they are excluded from decisions about the sale or lease of their land and have no claim to compensation when the land is taken by an investor, corporation or the government.
Twenty (20) beneficiaries after the workshop geared up to embark on ‘Women Rights Advocacy’ in the area to help protect all women from all forms of abuses and strengthen their civil and socioeconomic rights to make them independent.
They were poised to changing the status quo.
On behalf of the group, Eva Nyamekye thanked WILD leadership for the eye-opening training on their rights, saying “we didn’t know we women have the right to many things including land ownership as well as much provisions of the Law”.
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