General News of Wednesday, 9 March 2011
Tamale, March 9, GNA - Ms Miriam R. Iddrisu, Gender Officer of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has called for an end to inhuman cultural practices such as female genital mutilation, widowhood rites and forceful marriages in Ghana. She said the country's laws did not favour such practices and that there was the need to prosecute those who engage in such acts to serve as deterrent.
Ms. Iddrisu said this in Tamale on Tuesday during the International Women's' Day celebration in Tamale. The International Women's Day which falls on 8 March every year is a global day designated to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women.
The occasion which was organized by the Department of Women under the theme: 93Equal Access to Education, Training and Science and Technology, Pathway to Positive and Reproductive Health and Decent Work for Women".
It was preceded by a procession by women and school pupils through the principal streets of the Tamale Metropolis aimed at sensitizing the public particularly women and the girl-child on the need for them to take their rightful places in society. Ms Iddrisu said it was only when girls enjoyed equal access to education and their right to sexual and reproductive health that the nation could achieve equity for all.
"When women and couple can plan their families, balance work and family life as they desire, when a pregnant woman no longer fear losing her job and maternity no longer continues to be a source of discrimination in employment, we can advance equal right between men and women", she said.
Ms Iddrisu expressed regret about the high rate of abortions and maternal mortality in the Northern Region and called on the government to make reproductive health education for young girls and expectant mothers a priority. According to her the recent review conducted by the Ghana Health Service in the region, recorded 81 maternal deaths in 2010, 96 in 2009 and 91 in 2008.
Mr. Issahaku Patrick Seidu Zakari-Saa, The Northern Regional Director of the Department of Women, called on stakeholders in the fight against domestic violence to collaborate to ensure that violence against women and children were addressed. He said the status of women in any society reflected its commitment to social development and called for the support of Ghanaians across the social and political divide to support affirmative action that uplifted the image of women. Mr. Zakari-Saa said men must be part of the move in promoting the rights of women since they would be the ultimate beneficiaries in such an effort.