GNAT urges Government to ratify ILO convention on maternity protection

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has called on Government to ratify the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention on maternity protection as a sign of commitment towards its implementation.

This, it said, was crucial to the health and well-being of women as well as their children and to provide a measure of job security for the concerned women to make them more efficient and effective at the workplace.

The Convention which was adopted in the year 2000 states among other issues that maternity leave for working women should be 14 weeks instead of 12 weeks under the defunct Convention 103 as adopted in 1919 to enable them recuperate well after delivery. 

It is premised on the assumption that women should not suffer unequal treatment at the workplace due to their reproductive functions.

Even though Ghana is a signatory to the Convention, it was yet to ratify it into its laws despite numerous labour agitations.

Madam Helena Awurusah, the GNAT National Co-ordinator for Gender, made the call during the maiden Biennial women empowerment summit of the Gomoa District GNAT-Ladies Society (GNAT-LAS) on Wednesday.

The summit provided the platform for lady teachers to deliberate on an array of pertinent issues affecting them.

Madam Awurusah, who was speaking on the topic: “Rights, responsibilities and benefits in the female teacher’s field of work” said the maternity protection encompass five major areas which included maternity leave but many were silent on them.

She said by the convention, women were entitled to cash benefits, job security, free healthcare for mother and child and non-discrimination at the workplace.

Madam Awurusah alleged many female teachers and other female workers were forfeiting their maternity leaves for fear of losing their position and this has led to various complications including the loss of lives.

She urged the ladies to strive to take leadership positions in the Association and also serve as role models for the young girls they teach.

Madam Phillipa Larsen, Acting National President of GNAT, said the campaign for the ratification of the Convention by Ghana was a just and legitimate social action because its provisions covered a wide range of issues which would enhance the performance of the female worker. 

She said there is the need to make provision for child-care facilities such as special rooms for breastfeeding or crèche for the care of pre-school children at workplaces to support working mothers. 

Madam Larson urged the female teachers to continue to upgrade themselves and sharpen their technological and methodological skills to enable them to take up leadership roles.

Ms Linda Abena Kwakyewaa, Gomoa District GNAT-LAS Coordinator, said women were more resourceful and better managers and urged Government and other educational stakeholders to create the enabling environment for them to excel. 

Source: GNA

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