Former First Lady and President of the 31st December WomenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Movement (DWM), Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings has called on political leaders to show more commitment to women and childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s issues in 2009.
In a New YearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s message issued in Accra today, Mrs Rawlings said 2009 must be a year for women and childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s issues to be recognised and for politicians to appreciate the impact their policies and actions have on women and children in particular.
Mrs Rawlings said the bitterly contested nature of the presidential elections have exposed very negative traits of politics that we cannot allow to serve as a legacy for our children to emulate.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The political atmosphere has been tainted with accusations and counter accusations, lies, intimidation, insults and acrimony. These embarrassing manifestations of our political dispensation must be exorcised as we start a fresh year,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mrs Rawlings said.
The President of the DWM said in 2008 the movement saw a significant rise in its membership as more women subscribed to its programmes.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We adopted a ward at the Princess Marie Louis Hospital in Accra and it was a joy to see the happiness we brought to the children all year round. Christmas was marked with decorations and other activities and in 2009 we hope to expand our scope.Ã¢â‚¬Â
On the women front we provided credit facilities for women in various levels of small-scale business and we are happy to note that our activities brought joy and empowerment to most women and succour to their families, particularly the children.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Majority of our women are still underprivileged, lack education and are regarded as lacking the ability to become significant breadwinners for their families. The DWM has over the years been working hard to reverse that trend especially in the rural areas and I must say we have made significant inroads and will consolidate those gains in 2009,Ã¢â‚¬Â Mrs Rawlings said.
The DWM boss called on civil society organisations and childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s NGOs to pool their resources to ensure that women and childrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s issues receive adequate attention in all sectors of society particularly the Executive and Parliament.
I also call women to show more interest in political issues. The ratio of men to women in parliament is an indictment on womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s participation in politics. We cannot seek political and economic empowerment if we consistently choose to play second fiddle to our men folk in decision-making, she said.
Mrs Rawlings thanked all diplomatic missions in Ghana for responding positively to the call to send monitors to observe the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
Their overwhelming response is touching and has gone a long way in protecting the sanctity of the election. I dread what the situation would have been if so many international organisations had not shown interest in the ongoing elections.
To all Ghanaians I wish you a happy and prosperous new year.
Signed: Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings