Promotion of gender equality, essential part of violence prevention – Samira
Mrs Samira Bawumia, the Wife of the Vice President, on Friday said the promotion of gender equality is an essential part of violence prevention.
She said, all over the world, a clearer path for the realization of the rights and empowerment of women was through political, economic and technological empowerment.
Mrs Bawumia was speaking at a meeting in Accra organised by the Coalition of People against Sexual and Gender-based Violence and Harmful Practices to commemorate the International Women’s Day on the theme: “Think Equal, Build Smart and Innovate for Change.”
It is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide and to accelerate gender equality.
“It is a fine feeling to know that globally, the strides of women are being glorified to a point of being appreciated, awarded and honoured on a special day dedicated to us,” Mrs Bawumia said.
She said almost half a century ago the role of women was limited to the home, caring for her husband and children but that role had changed as women had demonstrated the desire and ability to lead and take up tasks preserved for men.
Mrs Bawumia, however, explained that a balanced world would be a better place for everyone, adding; “A balanced world creates unprecedented opportunities for women and girls to play an active role in building a more inclusive society, efficient services and sustainable infrastructure to accelerate the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals and gender equality.”
She said global estimates by the World Health Organisation reported 35 per cent of women around the world had experienced either physical or sexual-partner violence or non-sexual partner violence.
In Ghana, between 2000 and 2013 an estimated 177,840 cases, including rape, defilement, incest and compulsory marriages were reported to the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service.
“Let’s focus on innovative ways to enhance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, accessing public services and sustainable infrastructure,” Mrs Bawumia said.
She called on stakeholders to leverage on the skills, expertise and network to think equal, build smart and innovate for change.“It is imperative to continuously play a critical role in helping to forge a gender balanced world as we work for Balance for Better”.
She urged the public to continue to advocate because the results achieved were evident enough that with perseverance more could be done.
She said ending Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) was important to achieving a balanced world where no woman or girl would be left out.
Madam Anne-Sophie Ave, the Ambassador of France, in her welcome address, said 49 countries have no laws that specifically protected women from SGBV, adding that one target of the SDG-5 is to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in the public and private spheres.
She said as part of the celebration of the Day, the French Embassy would hold a play hinged on gender-based violence.
Ms Erika Goldson, the United Nations Population Fund Deputy Representative, said the Day reaffirmed women’s quest in ensuring equality, equity and achievements globally.
She said there had been massive enhancement in the pursuit of gender equality, with more girls in school, access to decent paid jobs for women and a decrease in harmful practices.
She called for public support for DOVVSU’s planned one-stop centre of services that would include police station, juvenile cell, and social welfare office.
Mrs Evelyn Borbor, the Director of DOVVSU, noted that the current environment in which the Unit operates does not offer victims much privacy to narrate their ordeal to aid investigations.
She, therefore, called on the Government to commit more resources towards social protection in the country.