Issues of the child marriage and teenage pregnancy have become foremost in the fight for equality for women in society.
According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s CHILDREN 2016 Report, 21% of Ghanaian girls are married before they are 18, with the rates being as high as 39% in the past.
Speaking at the 23rdF Zonta International District 18 conference, First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo said although government has done a considerable amount of work in the area, there is much left to be desired.
There has been a growing concern about child marriage in Ghana mainly from civil society organizations, the government and other donors.
Although recent data shows that the practice is reducing, one in five young women get married before the age of 18.
Speaking at Zonta International District 18 conference under the theme Empowering women through education on safe motherhood and advocating against teenage pregnancy and early child marriage of girls, First Lady Rebecca Addo urged all women to join the fight against child marriage and teenage pregnancy. “When women come together, we are a formidable force to reckon with.
“This formidable force made up of our collective energy, wisdom, political consciousness, passion and Doggart persistence is needed even more in the coming years,” she said.
She referred to the 2030 target for the attainment of the SDGs as an international acknowledgement of the power of women across the world.
Speaking on the goals of the new NPP government in gender issues, the first lady assured the public that although the government has made strides in women’s issues, there is still much more to achieve.
“We have a good number of women in our current government as Members of Parliament, Ministers and in other key positions, but we all know we can do better.”
She said, “Our president Nana Akufo-Addo has made gender equality a priority by assuring the nation that the affirmative action bill will be passed soon.”
Speaking to JOY BUSINESS, Zonta Conference Coordinator Oppeibia Omaboe said the conference is a great avenue for stakeholders to discuss ways in which the practice and occurrence of teenage pregnancy and child marriage can be reduced and eventually eradicated.
“This is a forum for all women to come together and address the issues. We must be doers and not just speakers of the words we preach”
The conference brings together over 200 and like-minded organizations from across the continent to push the fight against discriminatory practices against women.