Ghana strengthening efforts to improve life of rural women- Otiko tells UN

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The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, has given the strongest affirmation that the Government of Ghana has deepened efforts to improve the life of rural women and girls in the country.

Outlining the interventions Government had done to improve the lives of women, the Gender minister said Ghana continues to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into its national development frameworks, plans and policies.

She made the statements during the opening session of the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62), at the United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA.

Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world are attending the session on the theme: ‘Challenges and Opportunities in Achieving Gender Equality and The Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls”.

Addressing the delegates and participants at the General Assembly, chaired by H.E. Ms. Margaret Kobia, Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba noted that since the nomination of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in July 2017 as the African Union Gender Champion, he has championed and promoted efforts at achieving gender equality and women participation in decision making.

According to her, Ghana has enacted a number of laws that protect rural women and girls and guarantee gender equality and participation in national development. Citing the Land Bill, which has a gender component developed to support women to have access to land, has tremendously improved the lives of rural women.

“Illegal gold mining called "Galamsey" which has polluted major water bodies thereby compounding the woes of rural women and girls has been banned to protect water supply and provide access to clean water for rural women who often walk long distances to fetch water for domestic use,” the Gender Minister said.

Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba intimated that as part of steps to increase women’s participation in decision making, the Affirmative Action (Gender Equality) Bill has been revised after extensive consultations with stakeholders including Parliamentarians and re-submitted to Cabinet for approval.

“The Government has launched a policy to allocate 30 per cent of all procurement from local businesses to entities owned by women and persons with disability and those established under the Youth Enterprise Fund.  This intervention will help eradicate poverty among the PWDs and rural women. 

The Government of Ghana has strengthened efforts to improve the living conditions of rural women and girls and to protect their rights and interests. Last year, financial assistance by Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) targeted 70% of women to increase their access to financial resources. 

Government has also introduced a Free Senior High School system which will impact the lives of rural girls positively by increasing their chances of attaining higher education.

The Ministry has increased sensitization on harmful socio-cultural practices in communities identified to have prevalence of these unacceptable practices. 
A twenty-six-member delegation from Ghana led by the Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister is attending this year’s CSW62 from 12th – 23rd March 2018.

Ghana||Regina Asamoah||New York