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STATESMAN OPINION: Achieving Gender Equality At The GRASSROOTS
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Another special day has come and gone--International Woman's Day, a day to bring the world's awareness to the achievements, challenges, strengths and injustices that live on in the world of women.

This year, the global theme is "Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50/50 by 2030 - Step It Up for Gender Equality".

Speaking to Parliament yesterday, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Otiko Afisah Djaba, announced, "We in Ghana, however, have varied this theme slightly to take cognizance of our peculiar challenges and also address our special national aspirations. Consequently, the theme for the 2017 IWD in Ghana is 'Economic Empowerment of Rural Women: A Tool for Sustainable Development in a Changing World of Work'."

This variation of the international theme can be considered insightful. Although Ghana has made big strides in issues surrounding the female population since breaking free of colonial rule, massive complexities and unresolved issues are still at play, visible to the outside world but more often than not, hiding behind closed doors.

This bleeds from the private domain into the public, where it is often swept under the proverbial rug (probably by the proverbial female house-help, herself).

Of course, these matters multiply in rural areas where traditions and cultural practices are still strictly abided by, many of which oppress gender equality and women's rights. Among other things, this could be attributed to the fact that rural areas often lack formal education.

"...it is an indisputable fact that Ghanaian women, like the majority of women in the developing world, suffer from discrimination, destitution, under-representation and marginalization," Madam Djaba stated.

"Conversely, women are over-represented in all the indices of poverty, disease and illiteracy. The fact that a preponderance of Kayayei are women is the most graphic indication of the plight of women in Ghana."

These are the women of Ghana. These are the women who have largely missed out on the progress of equality in their country, and struggle in a space of gender imbalance, simply because the areas they live in are isolated from the education, infrastructure, and technology that supports the empowerment of women. In a male-dominated society, these women are being oppressed while the world around them climbs the ladder of equality.

We here at the Daily Statesman believe that by spreading knowledge and amending obsolete practices and traditions, women in rural areas can feel empowered. These changes will focus on gender-balanced leadership and equal male and female contribution in home and work life.

By going grassroots, Ghana can lift those marginalized women to the same level as those who have benefited from equality progress in other areas of the country. On the idea of grassroots and justness, it could be helpful to remember that all of us are human. We all deserve fair treatment.

The self-tailored theme of this year's IWD is the right step for Ghana to work towards the global goal of Planet 50/50 by 2030.

Although International Women's Day has come and gone, let's remember that these issues and ideals alike lose no ounce of monumental importance any other day of the year. Let us keep our eyes on the prize, and empower the women of our nation—our mothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, grandmothers, friends and wives
Source: Daily Statesman

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