This year’s commonwealth day celebration, which falls on March 14, aims at promoting understanding of global issues and international cooperation to improve the lives of citizens of member states.
The day, which would be on the theme: “Women as Agents of Change”, underscores their important role, as well as the need for continued investment in women and girls to accelerate socio-economic and political progress.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration on Friday, said activities for the celebration would include dance and sketch performances by students, mock Commonwealth administration meeting on women’s right as well as question and answer sessions between students and the Ark Foundation, a non-governmental organization.
It said with women and girls making up over half of the world’s population, the idea that their issues raised awareness of broader human concerns in the whole process of development could not be over-emphasized.
The statement stated that women empowerment had become an important tool for development and was crucial for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
It noted that the Commonwealth since its inception had as part of its agenda the principle of equality between the sexes and it was not surprising that the Commonwealth had dedicated this year’s celebration to women as agents of change in recognition of the crucial role they played.
The statement said for years, the Commonwealth had run programmes aimed at addressing issues relating to women leadership, entrepreneurship and access to health as well as education.
It explained that globally, through individual leadership and collective action, significant progress had been made in advancing gender equality through landmark agreements such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as well as the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women.
“The United Nations, recently created the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women to provide a platform to give a strong voice to women and girls at the global, regional and local levels,” it noted.
The statement said in Ghana, efforts continued to be made to mainstream gender perspective into the decision making process and a number of policies had been adopted to deal with discrimination against women.
It cited the Intestate Succession Law PNDCL 111(1995) and the consolidated Criminal Code, which protected women from harmful traditional practices including the female genital mutilation and thedemocratic violence law passed in 2007.
The statement lauded the adoption of the Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality (2005 to 2015) to reaffirm its commitment to gender equality, focusing on Gender, democracy, peace and conflicts; Gender, human rights and law; Gender, poverty eradicationand economic empowerment and gender and HIV and AIDS.
It said these initiatives and activities had raised awareness, built confidence and spread ideas which had changed gender politics and policies nationwide.
They also encourage the Commonwealth and the world at large to fight against all forms of discrimination as well as other factors which prevent women and girls form realising their aspiration and fulfilling their God–given talents.