Ghana, South Africa dialogue on women empowerment

The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, has met with her South African counterpart to discuss ways of empowering women and girls in their respective countries.

The meeting, which was on the sidelines of the on-going United Nations Conference on the Status of Women (CSW), discussed how the two ministries could come out with a mutually beneficial memorandum of understanding (MOU) to benefit both countries.

In the yet-to-be-agreed MOU, it is expected that the two ministries would collaborate to empower women and girls in the areas of education, skills training and political participation.

According to Nana Oye, over 80 per cent of the world’s women population work in the informal sector and there is, therefore, the need to empower them to venture into sectors of the economy that are more financially sound.

She, therefore, said economic empowerment would be one of the key pillars in the MOU that was yet to be signed.

South Africa is a shining example in terms of ensuring gender equality to other African countries as it has a gender-based violence conviction rate of 60 per cent.

According to the minister, with a conviction rate of about one per cent, Ghana had a lot to learn from South Africa in ensuring that issues concerning women were given equal attention and priority.

Ghana’s achievements
She said although Ghana had put in place laws, such as the Domestic Violence Law, the Human Trafficking Law and also has the Criminal Code, it was yet to achieve full protection for women.

With the eminent passage of laws on Affirmative Action, Property Rights of Spouses among others, Ghana would be on the right track to protect more women from gender-based violence.

She said so far, Ghana was on track in eliminating poverty among the pro-poor in society by putting in place social intervention programmes such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) and the Labour Intensive Public Works  under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

South Africa’s intervention
The South African Minister of Women, Children and People with Disability, Ms Lulu Xingwana, said her ministry was working at encouraging young girls who dropped out of school to learn male- dominated non-traditional skills.

This, she said, would help to empower them financially so that they could be assertive in their relationships.

According to her, there was an intersection between gender-based violence and poverty because when women are financially constrained,  they become susceptible to gender-based violence.

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