Remarks at Social, Humanitarian & Cultural Committee. Advancement of women
H.E. MRS. Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee
The Permanent Mission of Ghana to the United Nations
New York City
October 7, 2019
I thank you for giving me the floor.
Permit me to begin by expressing Ghana’s appreciation to the Secretary General for his informative reports under this agenda item. We commend his commitment to gender parity within the United Nations system and welcome in this regard, the various initiatives undertaken at the Secretariat.
Ghana aligns herself with the statements delivered by Zambia on behalf of the Africa
Group and the State of Palestine on behalf the Group of 77 and China.
Forty years after the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the world is still grappling with a host of factors that militate against women’s empowerment and their full participation in socioeconomic and political activity, both of which are prerequisites for sustainable development. The Secretary-
General’s report amply supports evidence that rural women and girls especially, remain most vulnerable and are disproportionately affected by poverty and the effects of climate change; and suffer exclusion and discrimination in access to, and control over productive resources and social services.
As we begin the decade for accelerated action for Agenda 2030, the international community must do more to change this narrative for the better; to recognize women as change agents and to create the conditions for them to take their rightful place in society, if indeed we are to secure the future we need.
The Government of Ghana has over the years, enacted progressive legislation and instituted policy measures and strategies to promote women’s empowerment in all spheres of national life. Our national policy of 3 months’ paid maternity leave and of equal pay for equal work have facilitated significant progress in the advancement of women.
In recognition of the important role of rural women in food crop production and in the fishing sector, as well as in food preservation and distribution, Government has adopted policy measures to enhance their capacity and to protect their rights in the areas of land acquisition and inheritance. Rural women are being educated in their civil and political rights, while girls, by virtue of the Free Senior High School policy have free access to education no matter their economic or social circumstances.
In the area of female entrepreneurship, Ghana has continued to extend access to finance to women through the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC). Out of the 126 beneficiaries of loans disbursed by MASLOC in 2018, 76 recipients were women. Financial institutions have also been encouraged to ensure parity in extending financial services to the public. Ghana’s commitment to enhancing women’s entrepreneurship is based on our conviction that it will contribute to advancing inclusive economic growth, improve nutrition and education, help build human capital and make households more resilient to shocks.
Addressing gender-based violence is a matter of great concern for Ghana. Successive governments have initiated legislation on domestic violence against women and worked to define the broader perspective of access to justice that also allows room for mediation through alternative dispute resolution methods. The establishment of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU), which has been very instrumental role in these efforts, currently has approximately eighty-seven offices across the country, with plans for continued growth.
The Unit provides the main entry point into the justice system and works in close collaboration with relevant sector ministries and NGOs. This partnership has helped to derive significant outcomes including the creation of culturally sensitive workshop curriculums aimed at deconstructing victim-blaming stigmas; educating pupils on the warning signs, and on safe avenues for counseling if assaulted.
Twenty-Five years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 2020 represents a pivotal year for women and girls all over the world, as we review efforts made towards the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women and recommit to renewed action. It is Ghana’s hope that we can unleash the limitless potential that women offer to economies and societies everywhere through concrete and measurable actions.
I thank you for your attention.