Vice-President John Dramani Mahama says the government will ensure that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are well resourced to enable them to address challenges confronting women.

Consequently, he said, the government was taking gender mainstreaming and gender responsive-budget seriously, and had directed the MDAs to reflect these in their sector policies and budgets.

Speaking at a forum in Accra Tuesday to climax the revived Women’s Week celebration, the Vice-President also stressed the government’s commitment to ensuring that the fundamental rights and freedoms of women were protected as enshrined in the Constitution.

He said advocacy on harmful practices that impaired or discriminated against women would be stepped up, to complement existing laws and policies to safeguard the rights and dignity of women.

The celebration, organised by the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs on the theme, ‘Women and men working together for a better Ghana’, was revived after an eight-year lull.

The forum brought together representatives of various women’s groups and organizations, members of the diplomatic corps and former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, who has been at the forefront of women’s empowerment through the 31st December Women’s Movement.

Vice-President Mahama observed that as a country, Ghana had not done badly in the empowerment of women, especially in the area of achieving gender parity at the basic level of education.

However, challenges still remained, he said, adding that “as a nation, we still need to work hard on the area of maternal health, as mortality figures and all other associated risks and ill health conditions are still too high.

“We will critically examine the situation and take urgent steps to reduce these levels and fashion out solutions and appropriate policies that would tackle these situations once and for all,” he said.

The Vice-President noted that since 1975, gender issues had taken centre-stage in the global development agenda due to the realisation that countries could only achieve sustainable development and peace when women’s empowerment and their rights are respected.

He mentioned the increased number of women appointees in top positions since the government assumed office, which he said, was in line with the NDC manifesto of addressing the inequalities and inequities facing Ghanaian women.

Ms. Akua Sena Dansua, Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, said the ministry’s intention to institute national awards was to recognise women and women NGOs that had made outstanding and significant contributions to the empowerment of women and children.

She said the details of the criteria for the awards would be announced in due course.

Ms. Dansua also announced the institution of the Justice Annie Jiagge Memorial Lectures from next year.

In her remarks, Nana Konadu underscored the importance of women empowerment, which she said, was indispensable for the country’s socio-political and economic advancement.

Source: The Ghanaian Times