Women's Manifesto for Ghana

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The Women's Manifesto for Ghana is a political statement by Ghanaian women demanding rights and equality. The statement was issued in 2004 and continues to influence feminist organizing in Ghana.

Background[edit]

The Manifesto came out of increased women's organizing in Ghana, particularly around a Domestic Violence Bill and the 2000 elections. This organizing also coincided with a number of murders of women in Accra, which triggered protests at Osu Castle. Activists also opposed the creation of a Ministry of Women's Affairs, which they believed would ghettoize women's issues[1]

The mobilizing campaign was supported by NETRIGHT, the Network for Women's Rights in Ghana, and by ABANTU for Development, an NGO founded by African women in Europe.[2][3] Organizers refused support from donors who wanted to alter the parameters of the campaign.[1]

A meeting was held to convene women from Ghana's 110 districts, and discover similarities and differences in women's issues across the country. These meetings generated a long list of cultural practices, such as inequality in marriage and education, that the group wanted to change. Three organizers said in an interview that they were surprised by the group's ability to reach consensus on the goals of the women's movement while drafting the document.[1]

Contents[edit]

The Manifesto calls for equal female participation in the government of Ghana, demanding that the legislature become 30% female by 2008 and 50% female by 2012.[4] It also stipulates equal female participation in leadership of political parties.[4][5]

The document also describes everyday conditions for women in Ghana, and demands that the government takes steps to ensure women's human rights by 2010.[5] It demands that the government ensure women's access to safe and effective reproductive health care, including abortions.[4]

The Manifesto recognizes the role of economic inequality in maintaining oppression of women and poor people, and demands a minimum income for all Ghanaians.[6][7]

The Manifesto describes the special needs and challenges of women with disabilities: difficulty in accessing necessary resources and increased rates of sexual abuse.[8]

Launch[edit]

The Women's Manifesto for Ghana was released at the Accra International Conference Centre on 2 September 2004. The document gained wide publicity despite the government's release of a new gender policy on the previous day.[1] The manifesto sought to know and solve the problems that were affecting women.

Effects[edit]

The group that created the manifesto called itself The Coalition of the Women's Manifesto. This group remains active in promoting women's rights in Ghana.[9] Since the Manifesto's creation in 2004, the Ghanaian government has passed the Domestic Violence Act, the Human Trafficking Act and the Disability Act, and has banned female genital mutilation.[10] The Coalition, along with NETRIGHT, held demonstrations in 2007 to protest the exclusion of women from Ghana's 50th independence day celebration.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Interview with Manifesto organizers Dzodzi Tsikata, Rose Mensah-Kutin, and Hamida Harrison, conducted by Amina Mama: "In Conversation: The Ghanaian Women's Manifesto Movement", published in Feminist Africa 4, 2005.
  2. ^ "Gender and Governance", ABANTU for Development, accessed 27 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Women's Leadership: Abantu For Development", Global Fund for Women, accessed 27 October 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Tamara Winfrey Harris, "What American Women Can Learn from Ghanaian Feminists", Clutch, 28 September 2012.
  5. ^ a b GNA, "Women's Manifesto document launched", Modern Ghana, 2 September 2004.
  6. ^ Ghana Social Watch Coalition, "No Hope for the Poor", Social Watch, 2007.
  7. ^ Manifesto (2004), p. 23: "Other elements of social development include food security, social security (such as pensions), housing and economic services such as transport infrastructure. In any case, a more comprehensive approach to social policy and social development must also include access to a minimum level of income for all citizens of working age and all families. In Ghana and elsewhere, the ability to earn an income is the defining feature of each individual. Those who are unable to do so find themselves at an enormous disadvantage and have some of the lowest status in society. As the majority of people in this situation are women, no comprehensive, progressive social programme can exclude the provision of minimum levels of income for all citizens and for women in particular."
  8. ^ Denise M. Nepveux, "Reclaiming Agency, Ensuring Survival: Disabled Urban Ghanaian Women's Negotiations of Church and Family Belonging", Disability Studies Quarterly 26(4), 2006.
  9. ^ "Women's Manifesto celebrates one year in Ghana", GhanaWeb, 4 September 2005.
  10. ^ Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho, "Five years after ‘Women’s Manifesto’", Daily Graphic, 1 September 2009, p. 11, accessed at Pathways of Women's Empowerment on 27 October 2012.
  11. ^ Emmanuel Akyeampong and Ama de-Graft Aikins, "Ghana at Fifty: reflections on independence and after", Transitions 98, 2008, accessed via Project Muse on 27 October 2012.

External links[edit]