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Women advocate tells Bolga forum There will be no development if…

2009-09-02 22:52:29
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THE ACTING Upper East Regional Director of Department of Women, which is under the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC), Ms. Mercy Atule, has observed that it would be very difficult for Ghana to achieve its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) if gender equality was not given the needed attention that it deserves.

She said no meaningful development could be achieved if women who constitute more than 50 per cent of the country’s population are discriminated against.

The acting director, who made the observation at a community forum organized by her outfit at Pelungu in the Talensi-Nabdam District, expressed worry about the spate of early and forced-marriages of young girls in the rural areas of the region.

Themed - “Uniting to End Gender Based Violence in Upper East Region”, the forum was aimed at sensitizing the participants on how to curb the high incidence of Domestic violence, particularly gender based violence in the Region.

Ms. Atule further observed that the situation where some parents forced their daughters and even sometimes withdraw them from school and gave them out for marriages on economic, social and cultural grounds constituted gender based violence, and thus contravenes the domestic violence Act 732, 2007. According to her, psychological, emotional, mental, and medical traumas were some of the dangers associated with early and forced-marriages.

These, she said, were partly responsible for the high rates of maternal mortality in the Region as well as the increasing sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS among victims of such marriages.

She admonished community members, especially victims of domestic violence not to hide domestic related crimes because of shyness, but report such crimes to the appropriate authorities for action to be taken.

Ms. Atule expressed her displeasure over situations where some Members of Parliament (MPs), Assembly Members, Opinion leaders who should have rather helped curb the incidence of domestic violence in their respective communities, rather interfered with such cases.

The acting director emphasized the need for all stakeholders including Domestic Victims of Violence Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Department of Social Welfare, Healthcare providers, MPs, Assembly Members, Opinion leaders and Department of Women and Children to collaborate with her outfit in its attempts to deal with gender related cases.

The Talensi-Nabdam District Chief Executive (DCE), Mrs. Vivian Anafo, whose speech was read on her behalf revealed that recently a 12-year-old Junior High School pupil was betrothed to a man in Kumasi.

The matter was reported to the district assembly and the girl was subsequently traced and brought back to continue with her education.

She appealed to the traditional Authorities in the district to sensitize their communities to stop withdrawing their female children from school and give them out for marriages.

She said there were a lot of benefits that could be derived from girls when their parents provide them with the quality education that every child deserves. Mrs. Anafo called on traditional authorities to modify certain cultural practices; including widowhood rites, Female Genital Mutilation and developments that were injurious and dehumanizing.


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