Mahama dialogues with heads of women’s groups

The European Union has provided $50 million to support Ghana’s move to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

The President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, made this known when he interacted with heads of women’s groups in Ghana at the Flagstaff House in Accra yesterday.

The meeting, which was at the instance of the President, was part of a presidential dialogue with various groups in the country to enable the government to infuse their concerns into its policies.

Issues raised at the meeting included gender-based violence, children’s recreational needs, juvenile crime, youth education, unemployment, skills development opportunities, security of women and girls, adoption of gender-friendly laws and access to justice.

The rest were women’s health nutrition, oil and gas, socio-economic rights of women and political participation of women and affirmative action.

Responding to issues raised on gender violence, the President stressed the need for the security services to respond to issues of rape and defilement the same way they did to murder, drugs and robbery cases.

‘While we sensitise the police, we as activists should ensure that justice takes its course. Let’s continue to educate that rape and defilement are major issues just as murder, robbery and defilement,’ he said.

On women’s participation in governance, the President said his  administration had made conscious efforts to offer 30 per cent ministerial appointments to women as promised in the party’s manifesto, adding that ‘the women we gave the opportunity are doing very well’.

President Mahama, however, urged the women groups to maintain women solidarity and come to the aid of any woman in politics who came under attack for any reason.

He pledged his commitment to the passage of the Affirmative Act, which would increase women’s participation at all levels.

President Mahama further indicated that the government was currently finding ways of reducing the risk of maternal mortality to its barest minimum.

According to him, although the country’s maternal mortality had dropped from  450 per 100,000 live births to 350, the rate of the drop was not as swift as expected, adding that the government was committed to reducing it to the barest minimum.

He identified challenges causing the delays in the swift reduction and said ‘we have put in place measures to ensure that we reduce the problem of maternal mortality’.

On oil and gas, the President said some training institutions had been opened in Takoradi to support the training of women in that respect and announced that a number of young girls had been recruited and were being trained in the  Airforce.

Commenting on the recent fires that ravaged some markets in the country, President Mahama called on city authorities to give first option to those whose stores had been affected.

He said the Fire Service had been equipped with modern firefighting equipment and expressed the hope that it would be used to fight the fires.

By Timothy Gobah/Daily Graphic/Ghana

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