The Women's Monument
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Photographs by Josh Regnier

Pro-female groups ask for monument to honour women's contributions
Regional News of Thursday, 8 March 2007

"We note that the 50th anniversary celebrations, while recollecting the roles of key figures and various social groups in our pre-and post-independence struggles, have not adequately recognized or honoured the contributions of women," a joint statement issued on Wednesday by three groups to mark International Women's Day which falls on Thursday said.

"A monument to women would be in order and we urge the government and people of Ghana to take up this proposal," Network for Women's Right (NETRIGHT), National Coalition on Domestic Violence Legislation and the Coalition on the Women's Manifesto said in their statement. "Even more importantly, the contributions of women should become recognized as a central part of our history rather than a footnote," they said.

The coalitions congratulated the many forgotten heroines for their sacrifices and immense contributions to the founding of Ghana and the 50 years journey to build an independent country and an equal and just society.

The coalitions said they had added cause to celebrate the passage of the Domestic Violence Bill into law.

They said although this was not the only panacea to "the destructive and deadly grip of domestic violence (it) represents a preliminary step to end impunity for domestic violence and offer protection to all who are victimized by it".

They lauded women and children who shared their stories of violence, abuse and survival for work to begin on the draft legislation. They also commended those who fought tirelessly for the law to be passed and the parliamentary committee for their work.

"We call upon the President to act in the same spirit and to sign the law into effect without further delay."

The Coalitions noted that issues ranging from women's low participation in governance, poor access to resources critical for livelihoods and the unacceptably high rates of maternal mortality and violence against women, which had been demanded in the colonial period, continued to be made today.

"In today's Ghana, women are in the majority in the survivalist sections of the informal economy and regularly experience livelihood insecurities and state harassment.

"Women continue to do the bulk of housework and related functions without adequate social support in the form of child support, day care centres and labour saving devices.

"Women continue to be poorly represented in politics and in public and in many spheres of decision making..."

The Coalition noted that the current economic dispensation of "competing for scarce resources" raised fundamental questions about the implementation of any gender specific law or policy, including the Domestic Violence Law.

"We call upon the people of Ghana to look critically at the advances made in our history ... as a means of charting a concrete independent, equal, self-sustaining and collectivist path for the future vision of Ghana, Africa and all nations," the statement said. It said the country must seize the Golden opportunity provided by the Golden Jubilee to begin to make a real difference in the lives of ordinary women in Ghana.

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