Abolish outmoded cultural practices: Traditional authorities urged

Traditional authorities have been urged to take positive steps to abolish outmoded traditional and cultural practices that militate against women.

The acting Eastern Regional Director of the Department of Gender and Children’s Ministry, Madam Jane Kwapong, who gave the advice during this year’s Eastern Regional celebration of the International Women’s Day. It was organised by the region’s ladies’ wing of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) for teachers in the Akuapem North municipality at Akropong-Akuapem over the weekend. She also urged female teachers and other corporate women to upgrade themselves academically.

 About 300 female teachers and women from other identifiable organisations in the municipality attended the meeting during which they were schooled on their rights and other issues affecting women.

 Madam Jane Kwapong said with the current trend in the global socio-economic advance, women could not continue to relegate their roles to the background and play the role of second fiddle.

She said the perception that some female professionals, particularly teachers, tended to be satisfied with their positions and as such were not willing to pursue courses that would place them at the top should change.

 With regard to outmoded customs such as widowhood rites and dehumanising cultural practices against women and children and women’s inability to own and access land and other landed property in some traditional areas, she told the gathering that it was time for such customs to be modernised.

    “Although women have to blame themselves for being satisfied with their economic condition and social status, outmoded customs which prevent them from owning property such as land and widowhood rites continue to militate against their welfare and the only way out is to modernise such customs to conform to modernity,” Madam Kwapong stated.

 The Eastern Regional Secretary of GNAT, Mr John Gyimah Amamoo, who also addressed the gathering, advised women not to shirk their responsibilities and also support one another, especially those in top positions,  and in times of difficulties.

Mr Amamoo also urged the female teachers to effectively protect the rights of schoolchildren entrusted into their care, and urged them to always strive to be role models for female students.

 The Eastern Regional GNATLAS Co-ordinator, Madam Beatrice Gyadu, who welcomed members, was hopeful that female teachers would live up to expectation.

In another development, the Network for Women’s Right (NETRIGHT) has called for a critical appraisal of actions and inaction that tend to undermine women’s rights and derail efforts to promote gender equality.

It said the organisation believed that the role of the state notwithstanding, sections of the society such as the media, religious institutions, as well as traditional authorities, needed a thorough appraisal of their current roles.

In a statement to commemorate International Women’s Day, which was observed on March 8, NETRIGHT asked all to rededicate themselves to the fight for women’s equality, with the belief that it seeks to bring progress to the nation and to humanity at large. 

According to the statement, “The Ghanaian media is rife with negative representations of women and numerous stories of violence against women, rape, defilement, genital mutilation and spousal violence like acid burns, murders and forced child marriages”.

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