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QUESTIONNAIRE QUESTIONNAIRE Powered By Docstoc
					                    QUESTIONNAIRE

    FOR THE ELABORATION OF A SHADOW REPORT ON THE
   IMPLEMENTATION OF AFRICAN WOMEN’S HUMAN RIGHTS
RECOGNISED IN THE PROTOCOL TO THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON
  HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS RELATED TO THE WOMEN’S
 RIGHTS IN AFRICA AND IN THE BEIJING PLATFORM OF ACTION
             IN THE WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES.




                                                      1
List of Abbreviations

AU           African Union
AWLA         African Women Lawyers Association
CAT         Convention Against Torture
CEDAW        Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimnation Against
             Women
CHRAJ        Commission on Human Rights and Adminstrative Justice
CMW         International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and
             Members of their Families
CSW          Commission on the Status of Women
DOVVSU       Domestic Violence Victims Support Unit
ECA          Economic Commission for Africa
ECOWAS       Economic Community of West African States
ESP          Education Strategic Plan
FGM          Female Gential Mutilation
FIDA         International Federation of Women Lawyers
GETFund      Ghana Education Trust Fund
GPRS I       Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy I
GPRS II      Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy II
GDHS         Ghana Demography and Health Survey
GLSS 5       Ghana Living Standard Survey 5
HIPC         Highly Indebted Poor Country
I CCPR        International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
I CESCR      International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
LAP          Land Adminstration Project
LEAP         Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty
MASLOC       Microfinance and Small Loans Centre
MOH          Ministry of Health
MOWAC        Ministry of Women and Children‟s Affairs
NEPAD        New Partnership for Africa‟s Development
NHIS         National Health Insurance Scheme
NSPS         National Social Protection Strategy
NGOs         Non-Governmental Organisations
PNDC         Provisional National Defence Council
STME         Science, Technology and Mathematics Education
STEP         Skills Training and Enterpreneurship Programme
WiLDAF      Women in Law and Development in Africa




                                                                                   2
Introduction

On November 2005, the entry into force of the Protocol to the African Charter on
Human and Peoples‟ Rights related to the woman‟s rights mobilised the African civil
society around its effective implementation by the states in order to avoid the states‟
stopping on ratification. WILDAF West Africa, which had already greatly committed
itself in the elaboration, ratification and implementation process of the protocol, has
already produced and presented, in the framework of this follow-up and during the
African Union Summit in 2000, a report on the implementation of women‟s human
rights recognised in the protocol and in the African Heads of States‟ Solemn
Declaration on the equality between men and women. Moreover, it has produced and
disseminated indicators followed by the implementation of the Protocol to the African
Charter on Human and Peoples‟ Rights related to the women‟s rights in Africa and
the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Still for the sake of following up the implementation of the States‟ commitments, the
WILDAF network has taken a very active part in the five-year and ten-year evaluation
processes of the Beijing Platform of Action in the years 2000 and 2005. The network
coordinated the shadow report elaboration process of the West African NGOs on the
implementation of the Beijing Platform of Action. A new evaluation of this Platform of
Action will take place in 2010 during the 54th CSW session. At the level of Africa, the
ECA, United Nations Commission for Africa, responsible for the implementation of
international platforms in Africa, has started a country report elaboration process. An
African Regional meeting is planned in Addis Ababa in the last week of October
before the world meeting in New York.

With the same determination to work for the African States to respect their
commitments, mainly through the Protocol, the WILDAF office for West Africa
initiated the preparation of a report on the implementation of African women‟s human
rights recognised in the Beijing platform of action, in the Protocol to the African
Charter on Human and Peoples‟ Rights related to women‟s human rights in Africa
and in the Heads of States‟ solemn Declaration on the equality between men and
women.

The present questionnaire is intended to collect data on the situation of the
implementation of these instruments and to make a possible assessment of the
progress accomplished by ECOWAS countries in the implementation of women‟s
human rights since 2005, to identify domains in which efforts are still to be made in
order to propose actions the different stakeholders have to carry out in the
implementation of women‟s rights.

We would be very grateful if you fill in this questionnaire with the participation and
inclusion of all the civil society organisations in promoting and protecting women‟s
rights in your country. To have comparative data, you can consult the questionnaire
filled in by the States and intended to the EAC.

The duly completed questionnaire should be returned to WILDAF sub-regional office,
latest on 23rd August 2009.



                                                                                     3
Situational Analysis on Gender in Ghana

Gender profile of the country (demographics, poverty profile with emphasis on
female poverty, school enrolment and retention ratios, among others)

    Women constitute 51% of the Ghanaian population and they contribute
    immensely to the overall social and economic growth and development of the
    country. Yet, women in Ghanaian society are confronted with socio-cultural and
    attitudinal barriers that impede their advancement and their equitable participation
    in national development1

Gender inequality is described as the “archetypal inequality trap” that points to the
differences between men and women in access to assets and opportunities; as well
as in political voice and representation and in economic opportunities 2. Improving
gender equality and empowering women strengthens a country‟s ability to reduce
poverty and to develop. Promoting gender equality is therefore an important
development strategy that seeks to enable all people to get out of poverty and to
improve upon their standard of living3. Benefits of increased gender equality are clear
including mothers having greater control over decision making in the household
which in turn leads to improved well-being for children; where women have better
access to markets, there is increased labour force participation by women,
productivity and earnings. Over the past decade or so, these factors underpin
commitments and various important measures that Ghana has taken towards poverty
reduction and economic growth. Yet, despite an increase in aid from development
partners towards improving gender equality, implementation of gender equality
objectives has been disappointing4.

Poverty can erode citizens‟ enjoyment of rights and is also a major cause of social
marginalization and political exclusion5. Feminisation of poverty is not new to Ghana.
Women make up 51% of the population. Illiteracy is still higher among females
(59.7%) than males (37.3%) in all regions (GLSS 5). Efforts to achieve universal
primary education have led to increased enrolment of children in school. In line with
MDG 3, school enrolment between boys and girls has risen to 92% [GLSS 5]. For
the 2004/05 academic year, enrolment at pre-school for public schools was males –
236,214 and females 271,736. That of private schools for the pre-school levels was
males 201,402 and for females, 196,698. For the same year at primary level for
public schools, males constituted 1,217,099 and females 1,111,225. For the same
level in private schools male enrolment was 308,445 and females 292,763. For the
Junior High School level for public school, male enrolment was 450,597 and females
376,108. For private schools at the same level, male enrolment was 97,559 and
females 90,4826. According tot the GLSS5, attendance rates of females between 19-
25 years is 77% compared to 87.8% for males. Achieving parity in primary schools

1
  Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, State of Human Rights in Ghana, 2002, p. 68
2
  Global Monitoring Report 2007: Millennium Development Goals, Confronting the Challenges of Gender
Equality and Fragile States, p. 9
3
  Engendering Development Through Gender Equality in Rights, Resources and Voice. (World Bank Policy
Research Report) 2001, 1
4
  Global Monitoring Report, p.12
5
  Ghana Democracy and Political Participation, A Review by Afrimap and Open Society for West Africa, 2007
p.8
6
  Interview with Bernice Ofori-Baadu, Economic Statician, Ghana Statistical Service, 12.01.09

                                                                                                            4
coupled with the NEPAD schools feeding programme is commendable. This
notwithstanding, the number of girls dwindles as children progress in education.
Therefore, Ghana is faced with the problem of retention and transition, and low
achievements of girls in schools.

In furtherance of women‟s empowerment, a Ministry for Women and Children‟s
Affairs (MOWAC) was established in 2001 managed by a minister with cabinet
position. It has the responsibility to develop policy guidelines for implementation of
gender mainstreaming at all other ministries and district assemblies7. This it has done
in a comprehensive National Gender and Children‟s Policy (the National Gender
Policy 2004). The overall goal of this policy framework is to bring gender concerns
into every aspect of the national development process in order to improve the social,
civic/legal, political, economic, and cultural conditions of the people of Ghana,
particularly women and children. The specific objectives of the Gender and Children‟s
Policy are: to redress imbalances which arise from existing gender inequalities
through policy review, legal reforms and enforcement of existing legislation; to
provide a national framework on which policies are derived; to implement activities
designed to strengthen women‟s role in economic development; and to promote
women‟s equal accesses to and control over economically significant resources and
benefits.

The Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS I: 2003-2006) acknowledges that
women suffer more from poverty than men. It therefore focuses on economic
empowerment of women, education of the girl-child and reduction of maternal
mortality8. Out of the 10 administrative regions, 4 are categorized as very poor.
These are the Northern, Upper West, Upper East and Central Regions. Overall
poverty in Ghana reduced in the 1990s. The proportion of the population defined as
poor fell from 52% in 1992 to 40% in 19999.The proportion of the population living in
extreme poverty in 1991/1992 was 37%; this figure fell to 27% in 1998/9910. Further,
poverty levels fell from 39% in 1998/99 to 28% by 200611. Per capita income for
Ghana in 2008 was US$600 compared to US$300 in 2000. As a result response to
this poverty trend, the Government of Ghana introduced the Livelihood
Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP) programme in 2008 where very poor homes
received a monthly stipend to cover their living expenses. Today, Ghana has been
touted by development partners as the country that is likely to achieve the global
objective to halve extreme poverty by 2015 (MDG 1)12.

23.7% of women of Ghana are of childbearing age. Fertility rates dropped from 5.5 in
1993 to 4.6 in 1998 and to 4.4 in 200313. Maternal mortality in Ghana is estimated to
be 503 deaths per 100,000 live births, with regional variations as high as 600-800
deaths per 100,000 live births (MOH 2006) partly due to a vigorous effort by
government to meet the global objective of reducing maternal mortality which arises

7
  National Gender Policy and Children’s Policy 2004
8
  Akoben, Vol. 3 February2004. Network for Women’s Rights (a civil society group) issue position papers on
matters of gender. One was on the gender gaps inherent in the GPRS.
9
  Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS - 4)
10
   GLSS – 4. Extreme poverty is defined as the proportion of people whose standard of living is insufficient to
meet their basic nutritional requirement even if they devote their entire budget to food.
11
   Manifesto of the New Patriotic Party, 2008, p. 3
12
   Report of the World Bank at the GJAS meeting on 30 th June 2008
13
   Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS ) 2003

                                                                                                                  5
from highly preventable causes (MDG 5)14. Contraceptive prevalence rate for women
at 1998 stood at 13% and increased to 19% in 200315.

Introduction of the National Health Insurance Law in 2003 that led to implementation
of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is a law that addresses gender
inequality. The NHIS addresses women‟s health needs as well as that of their
children, thereby enabling them to engage in more productive work because burdens
associated with health have been reduced16.

All three (3) arms of government are guided by the Directive Principles of State Policy
which contains a set of political, economic, social, educational and cultural objectives.
The principles emphasize the importance of ensuring respect for human rights and
freedoms and dignity of the person, regional and gender balance in development and
the elimination of cultural practices which are dehumanizing and injurious to the
health and well-being of the human persons17.

The Ghanaian Constitution of 1992 guarantees equality before the law to all, and
explicitly bans discrimination on grounds of gender18. Generally, laws of Ghana‟s
laws are gender neutral although memoranda on the rational for certain laws are in
recognition of the apparent discrimination against women 19. Women and men have
equal access to property, to education, health and employment20. Polygyny is an
entrenched socio-cultural and religious practice in Ghana. It has implications for
distribution of property upon death intestate of a man. Yet, not much has been done
about its abolishment though it is discriminatory.

Government has appointed women to head key institutions including the positions of
Chief Advisor to the President, Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice, and Acting
Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and
Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast. Despite these laudable efforts,
women‟s representation in decision making positions at the national and local levels
remains low.

To improve women‟s access to justice, the government has introduced court-related
dispute resolution mechanisms, more court units have been constructed throughout
the country and more magistrates recruited for the district courts which make up the
majority of courts in the country. To aid women to access justice in relation to their
children, more family courts have been established. The family courts in Accra now
sit throughout the week. Ghana also has weekend courts to deal with matters
including family-related issues such as domestic violence.




14
   Government of Ghana received a 42.5 British pounds in 2008 to deal with maternal mortality.
15
   Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, 1998
16
   Interview with Professor Ardayfio-Schandorf, University of Ghana, 15.01.09
17
   1992 Constitution, Chapter 6
18
   1992 Constitution, Article 17
19
   Intestate Succession Law, 1985; Domestic Violence Act, 2007
20
   1992 Constitution, Chapter 5

                                                                                                 6
I. First Part

Legal and institutional framework

1.1 Legal framework

1.1.1 Situation of ratification of the women‟s rights protection instruments

     Instruments           Ratification         Deposit of             Existence of
                              date             ratification             reserves
                                               instrument
Convention on the 1986                      Yes in 1986           No Reservations
Elimination     of   all
Forms                 of
Discrimination against
Women
Optional Protocol to 2009                   2009                  No
CEDAW
Protocol to the African 2007                2007                  No
Charter on Human
and Peoples‟ Rights
related      to     the
women‟s rights

1.1.2 Existence of reserves related to the ratification of women‟s rights protection
      instruments

   Instruments        Articles which the      Actions carried         Results of these
                      reserves carry on      out since 2005 to           actions
                                             waive the reserve
Convention on the -                         -                     -
Elimination of all
Forms              of
Discrimination
against Women
Optional Protocol -                         -                     -
to CEDAW
Protocol to the -                           -                     -
African Charter on
Human           and
Peoples‟      Rights
related    to    the
women‟s rights




                                                                                         7
1.1.3 Situation of commitments taken through these instruments

  Instruments            Harmonising            Measures taken            Periodic
                          international          since 2005 at           reporting
                        provisions with         national level for
                      internal legislation      implementation
Convention on the       - Human                   - Domestic         1st & 2nd Reports
Elimination of all           Trafficking Act,        Violence        in 1992;
Forms           of           2005                    Victim          3rd, 4th & 5th
Discrimination          - Labour Act                 Support Unit    Reports in 2006
against Women           - Disability Act             established
                        - Intestate                  in 2001
                             Succession           - Women‟s
                             Law (1985)              Empowerme
                        - Registration of            nt Fund in
                             Customary               2001; Micro-
                             Marriage and            Finance and
                             Divorce     Law         Small Loans
                             (1985)                  Scheme
                        - Domestic                   (MASLOC)
                             Violence     Act
                             (2007)
                        - FGM a crime
                             (1998)
                        - Cruel
                             widowhood
                             (1998) rites a
                             crime
                        - Trokosi a crime
                             (1998)
                        -
                        -
Beijing Platform of                             A number of laws 2000 & 2005 State
Action                                          have been passed Reports
                                                to deal with some
                                                of the critical areas
                                                e.g.        Domestic
                                                Violence          Act,
                                                Human Trafficking
                                                Act.
Optional Protocol                               The Protocol was -
to CEDAW                                        ratified in July 2009
Protocol to the         -   Same as under           - Domestic         - NGO
African Charter on          CEDAW                       Violence Act     Shadow
Human         and           because                     2007             Report in
Peoples‟   Rights           internal  laws          - Property           2007
related to the              under CEDAW                 Rights      of
women‟s rights              applicable to               Spouses Bill
                            provisions of               2009
                            Protocol                -

                                                                                     8
Heads of States‟       - Gender     and -                      Not known
Solemn                   Children‟s
Declaration on the       Policy 2004
Gender Equality
1.2 Institutional framework

1.2.1 Existence of institutional provisions in favour of equality between men and
      women, equity and women‟s empowerment

 Institutional provision  Year of setting up                   Function(s)
Ministry for Women and 2001                           It has the responsibility to
Children‟s Affairs                                    develop policy guidelines
                                                      for    implementation     of
                                                      gender mainstreaming at
                                                      all other ministries and
                                                      district assemblies.
                                                      It is also to promote the
                                                      survival,     development,
                                                      protection and increased
                                                      participation     of    both
                                                      women and children in the
                                                      development process of
                                                      Ghana.
Commission on Human 1993                              CHRAJ           investigates
Rights and Administrative                             complaints of violations of
Justice                                               fundamental rights and
                                                      freedoms
Domestic Violence Victim 1998                         A special unit of the
Support Unit                                          Ghana Police Service
                                                      which listens to complaints
                                                      on domestic violence and
                                                      violence in general
Ghana Legal Aid Board      1979                       The Board is responsible
                                                      for the provision of legal
                                                      aid and advice on matters
                                                      of civil law to persons
                                                      unable to fund such
                                                      services from their own
                                                      resources.
                                                      The Legal Aid Board does
                                                      not provide legal aid in
                                                      criminal matters.
Special Court to deal with 2008                       This District Court has the
Domestic Violence cases                               responsibility of handling
                                                      only cases on domestic
More courts to deal with                              violence.
children‟s          non-
maintenance cases in the                              Family     tribunals     sit
capital city Accra.                                   throughout the week to
                                                      deal with cases relating to

                                                                                 9
                                                               non-maintenance           of
                                                               children.
National            Labour 2005                                The commission is to
Commission                                                     facilitate the settlement of
                                                               industrial disputes




1.2.2 Functioning of institutional provisions

 Institutional provision            Concrete results             Constraints to good
                                obtained since setting              functioning
                                            up
Ministry for Women and        Passage       of    Domestic     Low budget
Children‟s Affairs            Violence Act,                    Unstable      decentralised
                              Passage of the Human             organs in the regions,
                              Trafficking Act,                 Lack of enforcement of
                              Passage of legislative           provisions of the criminal
                              instruments        on      the   code      on    Traditional
                              Children‟s Act,                  practices
                              Early Childhood care and
                              Development policy,
                              National      Gender      and
                              Children‟s Policy,
                              Gender budgeting from
                              2005
Commission on Human           Launched audio versions          Over     burdened      with
Rights and Administrative     of CHRAJ and Disability          several cases
Justice                       Acts,                            Limited staff
                              Initiated the national anti-
                              corruption action plan,
                              Developed           simplified
                              human rights manual for
                              basic schools,
                              Developed guidelines on
                              conflict of interest,
                              Heard, investigated and
                              resolved several human
                              rights violations in Ghana
Domestic Violence Victim      Has helped increased         Inadequate staff
Support Unit                  victim/survivor‟s access to  Limited      capacity     and
                              justice                      resources
                                                           Unit still not available in all
                                                           police stations and posts
Ghana Legal Aid Board         Pro-bono               court Overburdened              with
                              representation for clients   several cases

                                                                                         10
                                                             Limited     staff    and
                                                             resources
National                 Labour Successfully         settled Several complaints to
Commission                      disputes between workers investigate
                                and their organisations      Inadequate resources to
                                                             educate the public on the
                                                             labour law




State of ratification, signing and implementation of the international human
rights treaties and conventions

The 1992 Constitution has provided a stable democratic environment where there is
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and for the rule of law. Although
Ghana has not ratified a number of United Nation treaties, it has nevertheless
adhered to important standards for respect for human rights21.

Ghana ratified CEDAW in 1986 without reservation. In 1990, Ghana was the first
country to sign and ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It has further
domesticated this Convention in a Children‟s Act, 1998, Act 560. Ghana further
signed and ratified the Rome Statute on the International Criminal Court in 1998/99.
In 2000, it signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR), the Convention against Torture (CAT), the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the International Convention on
the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW).

At the African Union level, Ghana acceded to the African Charter on Human and
People‟s Rights in 1984. It has also ratified the Protocol establishing the African
Human Rights Court in 2004, and has signed the Protocol to the African Court of
Justice in 2003. It ratified the African Refugee Convention and the African Charter on
the Rights and Welfare of the Child in 2005. Ghana ratified the Protocol on the Rights
of Women in African in 200722.

At the ECOWAS level, Ghana ratified the Protocol on Democracy and Good
Governance in 2001. It also ratified the ECOWAS Initial Plan of Action against
Trafficking in Persons in the same year.

Ghana recognizes the competence of the Committee on Elimination of all Forms of
Racial Discrimination, the Human Rights Committee and the Committee against
Torture. These treaties allow individuals to bring communications against the country
before them. Despite this, Ghana has not ratified the Optional Protocol to CEDAW
thereby it is not subject to the jurisdiction of CEDAW where the Committee can
receive individual complaints of rights violations.


21
   Ghana Justice Sector and the Rule of Law, A Review by Afrimap and Open Society Initiative for West Africa,
2007, p.17
22
   Ghana Justice Sector and the Rule of Law, supra p. 19

                                                                                                          11
What remains challenging though is that government‟s reporting obligations to
mechanisms established under the various human rights treaties is not impressive.
Under CEDAW, Ghana missed its initial report which was due in 1987. It submitted a
cumulative 3rd, 4th and 5th Periodic Reports in February 200523. It has missed both
reports under the CAT. However it reported on time to the Universal Periodic
Secretariat in April 2008.24 Though some of these reports are unduly delayed, overall
assessment of the reports showed remarkable progress being made by government
and civil society to move the gender agenda forward.

Under the African Union, reporting to the African Commission is no different. Its first
report was submitted in September 1992 instead of January 1991. It combined four
overdue reports for 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999 in March 2000 25. Since ratifying the
Protocol on Rights of Women, it has not submitted any report as yet 26. Since the
Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality was adopted by Ghana, civil society has
submitted a report on implementation of some of the provisions as they relate to the
African Charter Protocol on Women‟s Rights27. The report found that despite
measures taken to improve women‟s rights, there were other areas that required
action such as in women‟s representation in decision-making and domestic violence.
In reaction to the poor reporting record, Ghana was urged by the African Peer
Review Mechanism to adopt a „deliberate plan to clear outstanding reports and
institute a mechanism for automatic compliance with reporting obligations‟28.

Additionally, a number of treaties have not been domesticated which affects the
capacity of the courts in developing appropriate jurisprudence29. This
notwithstanding, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and
the courts have played a key role in upholding and interpreting the Constitution when
there are rights violations. Ghana is a dualist state that is expected to take legislative
or executive action to incorporate ratified international treaties into national law30.
Very few treaties have been domesticated or incorporated into national laws. These
include the Convention on the Rights of the Child which has been incorporated in the
Children‟s Act of 1998, (Act 560) and the Juvenile Justice Act of 2003 (Act 653). The
African and UN refugee conventions are incorporated into the Refugee Law of 1993
(PNDC Law 305D)31. Furthermore, the Human Trafficking Act of 2005 conforms to
the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons though the
latter has not been signed, or acceded to. Neither has the country ratified the
Protocol.




23
   Documented as CEDAW/C/GHA/3-5
24
   Documented as ishr.ch/hrm/Council/upr/upr_2nd_Session_2008/UPR_002_ghana.final.pdf accesses on 10 th
Jan. 2009
25
   Ghana Justice Sector and Rule of Law, supra p. 20
26
   Interview with Mabel Cudjoe, Research Officer at Dept. of Women, MOWAC on 8.01.09
27
   WiLDAF West Africa Report on Implementation of Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in 7 West
African Countries, Jan. 2007.
28
   APRM Country Review Report and Programme of Action of the Republic of Ghana, 2005 p.17
29
   Ghana Justice Sector and Rule of Law, supra p. 17; Interview with John Burke, Lawyer on 13.01.09
30
   The process requires that for international instruments to be legally enforceable they must be ratified in
Parliament with a majority vote and assented to by the President.
31
   OAU Convention Regarding Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in African and the UN Convention
Relating to the Status of Refugee (1951), UN Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees (1967).

                                                                                                                12
Even without going through the process of domestication, international law principles
could have effect32. Article 40 of the Constitution obliges the government to promote
respect for international law, treaty obligation and the settlement of international
disputes by peaceful means and adhere to the principles enshrined in the treaties of
all international organization that Ghana is a member. Further, Article 75 enjoins the
government „to conduct its international affairs in consonance with accepted
principles of public international law and diplomacy in a manner consistent with the
national interest of Ghana‟33. In this regard, the Courts in Ghana have affirmed that
the principles of international treaties on human rights are enforceable as long as
they are in line with the provisions set out in Article 33 (5) of the Constitution. The
latter provision allows the courts to rely on other human rights principles in addition to
those set out in Chapter 5 of the Constitution34. Sadly, this principle has been
applicable only in politically motivated cases that have gone before the law courts
and not cases relating to discrimination against women which have been left for
resolution by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice
(CHRAJ)35.

Ghana has also taken steps to amend existing law to incorporate relevant provisions
of various international treaties. For example it criminalizes female genital mutilation,
cruel widowhood rites and „trokosi‟ or customary servitude36.




32
   Ghana Justice Sector and Rule of Law, supra p. 23
33
   Ibid. pp. 22-23
34
   1992 Constitution, Article 35 (5) provides that ‘The rights, duties, declarations and grantees relating to the
fundamental human rights and freedoms specifically mentioned in this Chapter shall not be regarded as
excluding others not specifically mentioned which are considered to be inherent in a democracy and intended to
secure the freedom and dignity of man’.
35
   NPP v. Attorney General (The CIBA Case), [1996-97] SCGLR 729; NPP v IGP [1993-94] 2 GLR 459
36
   Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 1998 criminalizes customary servitude and cruel widowhood practices;
Criminal Code (Amendment Act) 1994 criminalizes FGM

                                                                                                               13
1.3 Legal instruments (national laws, policies and strategies) for gender
    equality and equity


Customary practices

Article 26 (2) of the 1992 Constitution provides that „all customary practices which
dehumanise or are injurious to the physical well-being of a person are prohibited‟

The Criminal Offences Act (Act 471) was passed in 2007 to criminalize some
discriminatory practices, including female genital mutilation (FGM). Previously, FGM
was classified as a misdemeanor which attracted a sentence of 3 years 37. Act 471,
however, classifies FGM as a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The list
of offenders has also been expanded to include parents of the victim or the persons
who gave permission for the performance of the procedure, persons who supported
(physically held) the victim during the exercise and the one who performed the
procedure.

The Criminal Offences Act also outlaws widowhood rites, ritual servitude (trokosi) and
forced marriages, which are all discriminatory against women. While widowhood rites
are outlawed by the Criminal Offences Act, some old ladies still believe that these
rites have to be performed to prevent bad omen, and therefore ensure that they are
performed38. Some organizations pay fetish priests for the release of the ritual
servants or trokosi to enable these girls to be trained in vocations. This approach has
had a backlash effect, with more priests increasing their demands for the release of
the servants as a means of enriching themselves. This is the result of non-
coordination of activities and plans, poor monitoring of efforts and lack of
evaluation39.



Marital Rape

Section 42g of the Criminal Code provided that force was justified by virtue of
consent. This has been interpreted by gender equality advocates as allowing rape
within marriage because a women having consented to marriage, cannot report a
case of rape to the police40. Section 4 of the Domestic Violence Act 2007, Act 732
states that violence is not justified by virtue of consent. Based on this therefore, it can
be said that the Section 42g of the Criminal Code is null and void automatically.

Though all the laws of Ghana are subsumed under the Constitution of Ghana, some
cultural and religious laws differ from constitutional provisions. For instance Cap 129
on Mohammedan marriages endorses what the Koran provides where a man can
marry four women on condition that all the women would be equally loved and

37
   See Criminal Code (Amendment) 1998
38
   In 2008, 3 widows in their 70s and 80s, whose husband, a chief, had died were in confinement for 9 years.
They refused to leave confinement until the final funeral rites of their deceased husband had been performed.
Their case received media attention, advocacy by the Women’s machinery and NGOs and politicians. Eventually
the family of the deceased performed the required rites which led to the release of these women.
39
   Interview with Mabel Cudjoe on 15.01.09
40
   The Criminal Code of 1960 was amended by the Criminal Offences Act, 2007

                                                                                                          14
catered for. Customary marriage is also potentially polygamous which is
discriminatory on the basis of gender.

Intestate Succession Law

Promulgation of the Intestate Succession Law, 1985 (PNDC Law 111) addressed the
practice where women were disinherited at the death of husbands. The law provides
for substantial allocation of property to the surviving spouse(s) and children. The
Intestate Succession Law (PNDC Law 111) is also currently undergoing amendment
to take into account challenges that had arisen in its application. For instance
definition of who a spouse is has been expanded to cover persons who have
cohabited for a number of years41.

Women and Land

The Land Administration Project (LAP) received immense input from the Ministry of
Women and Children‟s Affairs to ensure that gender discrimination was eliminated in
land tenure and ownership systems. However, it was detected that most of the
problems that women faced with regard to land ownership stemmed from cultural
beliefs of both patrilineal and matrilineal societies of Ghana which did not permit
women to own land. The LAP, which had the mandate to resolve the bureaucracy
surrounding land ownership and titling has not been able to provide the needed
resolution to gender discrimination in land ownership. This matter can only be
resolved through dialogue with traditional leaders42. Additionally, the LAP has to
recognize that women access and use land differently. If land is commercialized
which will provide equal opportunities for men and women to equally own land, it has
to be realized that women‟s low economic power and ways of owning land through
family and marriage ties will disadvantage them43.


Registration of Customary Marriage and Divorce Act, 1985, (PNDC Law 112)
and its amendment in 1993

This law sought to protect women in polygamous unions. It gave the option of
registration of customary marriages as a means of forestalling any challenges to the
existence of the marriage by family members. Though a commendable law, many
people do not register their customary marriages. This among others could be
attributed to the fact that many people do not know about the existence of the law.

Sexual Offences

In general, the 1998 amendments to the Criminal Code (now Criminal Offences Act)
went far to redress the sexual exploitation of children (especially girls) by increasing
the criminal age of sexual responsibility and introducing the offence of indecent
assault. Consent cannot be given by a 16 year old for a sexual offence 44.There are
also provisions addressing defilement (statutory rape), procreation of a person under

41
   Instate Succession Bill, 2008
42
   Interview with Francesca Pobee-Hayford on 15.01.09; Interview with Dzodzi Tsikata on 13.01.09
43
   Interview with Dr. Nana Akua Anyidoho, ISSER, University of Ghana 14.01.09
44
   Criminal Code Amendment, 1998, Section 14 (2) (a)

                                                                                                   15
21 years of age into prostitution and holding the owners or managers of premises
liable if they assist or permit defilement. The amendments were in the right direction,
as they have brought Ghana closer to her goal of complying with the various
international standards and codes protecting women from violence and sexual
exploitation.

Prostitution

It is an offence to traffic or procure persons less than 21 years of age for purposes of
prostitution in Ghana or elsewhere through threats or intimidation, false pretences or
false representations. However, this offence is deemed a misdemeanour, which
attracts only a minimum fine and imprisonment not exceeding 3 years45.

Domestic Violence Act

The Domestic Violence Act was passed in 2007. It is divided into three parts, with
provisions concerning domestic violence, civil protection, and related other topics.
The first part defines domestic violence and identifies the types of domestic violence
prevalent in Ghana. A domestic relationship is also defined. This is essential as it
sets the tone for what the Act considers as domestic violence even though it makes
provision for the use of discretion by the court to determine what a domestic
relationship is.

Unique features of the Bill include the mandatory duty placed on the police in the
enforcement of the domestic violence legislation. The Act also provides for civil
protection orders, and defines sexual harassment. It places a duty on the Minister of
Justice to make regulations for the training of court and police officers, as well as the
education and counselling of victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

The Act also provides that a board be set up; the Victims of Domestic Violence
Management Board with the responsibility of making recommendations for a national
plan of action against domestic violence as well as advice the minister.

Human Trafficking Act

Ghana now has a Human Trafficking Act, 2005 (Act 694) to deal with cases of
trafficking of persons. Under the Human Trafficking Act, two key institutions are to be
set up. These are the Human Trafficking Fund and the Human Trafficking
Management Board. The Human Trafficking Board has been established.



II- Second Part

Effectiveness of women’s human rights

With the increase in the number of offices for the Domestic Violence Victim Support
Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, the number of reported cases on
45
  Criminal Code, 1960, Section 107. Note the Criminal Code was recently amended in 2007 to be called the
Criminal Offences Act.

                                                                                                           16
domestic violence has increased significantly46. National totals for defilement in 1999
jumped from 15 to 392 in 2006; rape cases were 23 in 1999 increasing to 345 in
2006; and assault cases jumped from 95 in 1999 to 3,573 in 2006 and 4,709 in 2007.
In 2008, there were 713 cases of defilement, 320 cases of rape and 2,99247 cases of
assault. In all of these, men were mostly the perpetrators48. Other legal institutions
established to deal with civil cases include Ghana Legal Aid Board which is currently
implementing community legal aid centres in some areas of the country. Cases that
enhance protection and promotion of the rights of women form a major part of the
work of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice.

The Criminal Offences Act criminalises rape, defilement, incest, abduction and forced
marriage49 in conformity with the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against
Women (DEVAW) and Article 4 of the AU Protocol on Women.

In response to perceptions that the Criminal Code (now Criminal Offences Act)
inadequately criminalised domestic violence, the Law Reform Commission in 1999
undertook an examination of the phenomenon of domestic violence and came up
with proposals for legislation. Research conducted by Gender Studies and Human
Rights Documentation Centre (an NGO) in 1999 revealed that over 90% of victims of
domestic violence are women and children. The types of violence against women
that exists in Ghana include physical violence, psychological violence, economic
violence, harmful traditional and cultural practises, and sexual harassment. This NGO
examined the prevalence of violence against women in Ghana, social responses to
the violence, implications for the status of women in Ghana and the way forward.
According to the Report approximately three in four women and girls (70%) have ever
been insulted or shouted at angrily. One in three women in Ghana admit to having
been beaten, slapped or physically punished by a current or most recent partner.
Subsequently civil society organisations drafted legislation on domestic violence
shortly afterwards, and the Ministry of Justice took over the drafting of the Bill and
consolidated the NGO drafts in 2001.

The Domestic Violence Act was finally passed in 2007. The Act, 732 is divided into
three parts, with provisions concerning domestic violence, civil protection, and other
related topics. The Act provides for the setting up of a management board and
putting in place certain measures to ensure the effectiveness of the Act.

Female Genital Mutilation is a particularly insidious form of violence against women,
as it is often practiced as part of long-standing cultural tradition. In some parts of
northern Ghana the practice is widely found. According to the Ghana Democratic
Health Survey Report of 2003, 5% of women are circumcised. Female circumcision
remains prevalent even though it is now a criminal offence. Attempts being made to
stop the practice include community empowerment, adoption of alternative rites of
passage without circumcision, advocacy and education, sensitisation and social
mobilisation of community leaders, policy-makers, and lawmakers, continuous
dialogue with women and men within the community.

46
   There are currently over 50 offices of DOVVSU across the country
47
   Statistics from DOVVSU, Accra
48
   As it is by law rape and defilement are perpetuated by men. However, according to the records men were the
highest perpetrators.
49
   Criminal Code (Amendment) Act, 1998, Act 554

                                                                                                            17
Sexual harassment is prevalent in the workplace as well as the home. The African
Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) in August 2003 conducted a survey on the
incidence of sexual harassment in academia and the workplace. A total of 789
women responded to the Survey, which found that a majority of respondents (about
63%)) have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace or
academic environment50. These forms of unwelcome sexualised conduct included
comments on physical appearance, questions about marital status, gender-based
insults, and repeated requests for dates and sexual assault. Respondents in the
lowest income bracket group accounted for the highest number of respondents who
experienced some form of sexual harassment. The majority of people who sexually
harass women in Ghana are overwhelmingly male. 82% of respondents stated that
they had been harassed by men, though some stated they had been harassed by
both sexes. 73% of those harassed did not report the incident to a superior officer51.
In 1998 CHRAJ gave a classic recommendation on sexual harassment that was
upheld by the High Court; that sexual harassment was discrimination on the basis of
gender under Article 17 of the Constitution52.

Ghana now has a Human Trafficking Act, 2005 (Act 694) to deal with cases of
trafficking of persons. Even with the law in place, human trafficking is still prevelant
as the two key institutions to be set up under the Act are yet to function fully. These
are the Human Trafficking Fund and the Human Trafficking Management Board, of
which the Board is in place.

2.2.5. Statistics of violence

Type      of                                     Yearly statistics
violence       2004              2005           2006         2007              2008        2009
Violence                                                                                 Yet to be
against      10746            11781         10805           15088         12256          compiled
women
Women
trafficking
Rape         181              206           345             417           320            Yet to be
                                                                                         compiled
FGM
Indecent       74             106           138             141           99             „‟
assult
Threat         435            560           691             1142          725            „„


2.3- Right to marriage

International provisions on family and marriage include Article 16 CEDAW and Article
6 of the AU Protocol of women which assures that men and women enjoy equal
rights and are regarded as equal partners in marriage. Laws exist to regulate the
50
   AWLA, 2003. Sexual Harassment in Academia and the Workplace
51
   Ibid, 2003
52
   Manso v. Norvor, August 1998 affirmed by the High Court in The Commissioner, Commission on Human
Rights and Administrative Justice v. Prof. Frank Awuku Norvor, Suit No. FT (HR) 6/2001

                                                                                                      18
three types of marriages in Ghana. They are the Marriage of Mohammedan
Ordinance (CAP 129), the Marriage Ordinance (Cap 127) and the Registration of
Customary Marriage and Divorce Law (PNDCL112).53 The Matrimonial Causes Act
also regulates dissolution of marriages in Ghana. Section 14 of the Children‟s Act of
1998 makes it a criminal offence to force a child to be betrothed, to be subject to a
dowry transaction and to be married. It fixes the age of marriage of whatever kind at
18 years. Abductions of girls for marriages are, however, still going on, especially in
the northern sector of Ghana. In 2008, 10 cases of forced marriages were recorded
by the Domestic Violence Victim Support Unit54. Registration of customary marriages
has still not caught on 23 years after the promulgation of PNDC Law 112 primarily
because it is not compulsory; there is lack of documents for registration the districts
and most marriages are contracted in rural areas. The practice of polygyny though
lawful under customary law and Islam is discriminatory and increases women‟s
insecurity and vulnerability in married life55.

In relation to Article 16 of CEDAW and Article 6 of the AU Protocol on Women, Article
22 of the 1992 Constitution states that a spouse shall not be deprived of a
reasonable provision of the state of a spouse whether or not the spouse died having
made a will. It provides further that Parliament shall, “as soon as practicable after the
coming into force of the Constitution, enact legislation regulating the property rights of
spouses”. It also states that spouses have equal access to property jointly acquired
during marriage and assets jointly acquired during marriage shall be distributed
equitably between the spouses upon the dissolution of the marriage. By inference
therefore persons in cohabitation are excluded from any of the benefits outlined
under the Constitution. In 2008, under the auspices of the Ministry of Women and
Children‟s Affairs and the Attorney General‟s Office a bill on Property Rights of
Spouses was presented to Parliament. The bill seeks to protect persons in
cohabitation who are treated like spouses upon satisfaction of certain conditions56.

There are three forms of marriages in Ghana-customary, statutory and Islamic. Laws
exist to regulate the three types of marriages in Ghana. They are the Marriage of
Mohammedans Ordinance 1907 (CAP 129), the Marriage Ordinance 1907 (CAP
127), and the Customary Marriage and Divorce Registration Law, 1985 (PNDCL112).
About 70% of marriages contracted are under customary law. Marriages under
customary law and Islam are potentially polygamous. Polygamy continues to be a
source of discrimination against women.

Section 14 of the Children‟s Act of 1998 makes it a criminal offence to force a child to
be betrothed or to be subject to a dowry transaction and to be married. It fixes the
age of marriage of whatever kind at 18 years. Abductions of girls for marriages are,
however, still going on, especially in the northern sector of Ghana. In 2008, DOVVSU
reported 10 cases of compulsory marriage.

The convention in Ghana is that once married under the Ordinance the woman often
changes her maiden name and adopts her husband‟s name. There are a number of
cases where the woman still maintains her maiden name.

53
   All the laws on marriage and divorce have been consolidated into the Marriages Act , 1884 - 1985
54
   Statistics from DOVVSU
55
   Ghana Constitution, Art. 17 on non-discrimination on the basis of gender. Women’s Manifesto 37
56
   Property Rights of Spouses Bill, 2008, Section 3

                                                                                                      19
Some men commit bigamy with impunity by combining polygamous marriages under
customary law with ordinance marriages. This offence is a misdemeanor under the
Criminal Code. Between 2004 and 2005 only 13 cases of bigamy were prosecuted by
the Domestic Violence Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service.
Women are unable to challenge bigamy in court as they are faced with multi-pronged
issues- confusion, unwillingness and attitude of society to a woman who goes to
court over bigamy.

The Intestate Succession Law and Wills Act have by and large assisted many women
to get property settlements in their favour. Divorce can be obtained by either the
husband or the wife under statutory law57. A petition for divorce may be presented by
either party to a marriage58 and the sole ground for granting the petition for divorce
shall be that the marriage has broken down beyond reconciliation59.


2.4- Right to nationality

Citizenship is the foundation for the right to participate in the affairs of one‟s country.
There is no systematic discrimination against any particular ethnic group in the
recognition of citizenship. The 1992 Constitution generally lays down the procedures
for establishing citizenship rights60. There is also a Citizenship Act, 2000 (Act 591).
The Constitution was further amended to allow for dual citizenship. Both men and
women can pass on citizenship to other foreign spouses and their children. Despite
this, the CEDAW Committee in its recommendations, following the submission of the
3, 4 & 5th Periodic Report of Ghana, called upon the government to amend the
citizenship law to address the discrimination where a foreign man married to a
Ghanaian woman must be permanently resident in Ghana to acquire citizenship,
while a foreign woman married to a Ghanaian man does not have to61.




2.5- Access to justice, equality before the law, woman’s judicial capacity

In conformity with Articles 2 and 14 of CEDAW and Article 18 (3) of the African
Charter, Ghana‟s Constitution bans discrimination toward both men and women,
stipulating that “all persons shall be equal before the law” and “shall not be
discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion,
creed or social or economic status”.62 Chapter 5 of the Constitution guarantees the
fundamental human rights of all persons in the country. Article 12 (2) states inter
alia: “Every person in Ghana, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinion,


57
   Bowman, Cynthia and Kuenyehia Akua, Women and Law in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2003
58
   Section 1(1), Matrimonial Causes Act, 1971, Act 367.
59
   Section 1(2), Matrimonial Causes Act.
60
   1992 Constitution, Articles 6 - 9
61
   Ghana Democracy and Political Participation, A Review by Afrimap and Open Society Initiative for West
Africa 2007, p. 7
62
   1992 Constitution, Article 17 (2)

                                                                                                           20
colour, religion, creed or gender shall be entitled to the fundamental human rights
and freedoms …..”

CEDAW Committee in its concluding comments called on the government to „include
in its Constitution, or in its gender equality law, which is currently being drafted, a
definition of discrimination in line with Article 1 of the Convention, encompassing both
direct and indirect discrimination‟63. So far the government is not considering a
gender equality bill or a review of the discrimination provision in the Constitution64.

These equality articles in the Ghana Constitution do not specify exceptional human
rights of women. This was done deliberately to ensure that the rights of both men and
women were adequately catered for under the non-discrimination principle65. It has
also been argued that the principles of gender equality may not have been clearly
understood by the members of the Consultative Assembly at the time of framing the
1992 Constitution since at the time the country was emerging from military rule 66.
Gender equality was therefore, not given weighty consideration in the design of the
Constitution67. Further, the Constitution guarantees the representation of gender and
regional balance in the selection and appointment of people to hold executive
positions. But it falls short of giving a quota on what percentage of government
appointments should constitute women68.

With the exception of laws that are promulgated to address specific types of abuse
against women; most laws are gender neutral thus providing equal protection for
men and women69. The neutrality of law may sometimes lead to discrimination
against women because these laws are not assessed to determine whether there
are provisions that discriminate against women70. An example is the Domestic
Violence Act of 2007 and establishment of a Domestic Violence Victim Support
Unit (DOVVSU) which now caters for men and women71.

Women in Ghana are accorded the same legal capacity as men, they can on equal
basis with men conclude contracts, administer property and this is reinforced by
some customary laws that recognise the separate identity of the married woman
and her capacity to own property. There are no statutes that have the effect of
restricting the legal capacity of women.

Though de jure equality exists for men and women, the de facto practice is that
women in certain cases are discriminated against. In spite of constitutional and
legal frameworks assuring women of their equal rights, women still play a
63
   CEDAW/C/GHC/CO/5 paragraph. 14
64
   Interview with Agnes Quartey-Papafio, State Attorney, Attorney General’s Office (Drafting Section) on
12.01.09
65
   Interview with Mr. Djeitror, Principal Clerk (Legal) of Parliament, 16 .01.09
66
   Ghana had been under the PNDC regime led by Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings
67
   Interview with Mr. Henry Tackie, Senior State Attorney, Attorney General’s Office, 15.01.09
68
   Interview with Francesca Pobee-Hayford, Director of the Dept. of Women, Ministry for Women and
Children’s Affairs, 15th Jan. 2009
69
   Domestic Violence Act and Persons with Disability Act are gender neutral. Laws against FGM cruel
widowhood rites are specific to women.
70
   Interview with Dzodzi Tsikata, Lecturer at Institute for Statistical, Social and Economic Research 14.01.09
71
   Domestic Violence Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) was formerly called Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU).
With the change to a neutral name, men are also reporting cases of violence. Increasingly the media attention on
reports by men is covering the fact that most perpetrators of violence are men.

                                                                                                             21
subservient role to men. Like many African countries, Ghana operates under a
plural legal system, with the statute law operating side by side with customary law.
Under the Ghanaian customary system, women are expected to give precedence
to men, with men taking decisions affecting the family. Wives are expected to
assist their husbands, financially or materially to acquire property. However when
there is dissolution of the marriage at court, the legal requirement is to establish
„substantial contribution‟ to property that one may be claiming72. The emerging
trend now for new laws is recognition of the material and non-material contribution
of partners in a relationship whether formalised or not73. Until 1985, when the
Interstate Succession Law (PNDCL 111) was passed, a widow, whether under a
patrilineal or matrilineal system of inheritance, was not considered part of the
husband‟s family and therefore was not entitled to any of the property of her
deceased husband. Also under customary law, men are usually appointed as
family heads, even when there is an older female. This situation leads to a situation
where land and other family property are controlled by men.

There is no gender-disaggregated data to determine the numbers of men and
women instituting legal action in formal courts in Ghana, which would help
determine the extent women utilise the court processes to resolve disputes.
However, women are more likely to use informal conflict resolution mechanisms to
resolve disputes. More women also institute action at the Family Court, particularly
concerning the maintenance of children, matrimonial causes, and inheritance
disputes74.

Legal counsel is available to both men and women in Ghana. However, access to
counsel is unequal, principally for financial reasons. Many women who face gender
discrimination, violence and gender-related problems seek legal counsel. However,
they are unable to pay the legal fees. There is a Legal Aid Board, with several legal
aid offices opened in all regions of Ghana. Groups of women lawyers, including
International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Women in Law and
Development in Africa (WILDAF) and African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA)
do provide free or subsidized legal services for needy women. Many women are
unable to pay for the cost of case registration and transport to and from court. While
these services have been available over several years, lawyers are generally
unmotivated in providing free services due to the costs they incur75.


2.6- Participation in the political process and decision-making

There are no specific laws on political rights and public participation of women in
Ghana. The Ghanaian constitution however makes mention of the participation of all
and not to be discriminated on the basis of ethnicity or gender. Article 7(a) CEDAW
provides that all appropriate measures shall be taken to eliminate discrimination
against women in political and public life and that the States Parties shall ensure to
women, on equal terms with men, the right to vote in all elections and public
referenda. Article 9 of the African Charter‟s Protocol obliges the States Parties to the

72
   Matrimonial Causes Act 1971, Act 367
73
   See Intestate Succession Bill, 2008
74
   Sam B., Insaidoo M., A Quick Guide to Violence against Women and Property Rights of Spouses, 2003, p. 30
75
   Interview with Francesca Pobee-Hayford and team at Women’s Department of MOWAC, 15.01.09

                                                                                                         22
equal participation of women in the political life through affirmative action, enabling
legislation and other measures.

Despite the ratification of international Conventions, adoption of Declarations and
Platforms for Action, women still remain under-represented in political and public life
in Ghana. Since independence 51 years ago, women‟s representation in Parliament
has been around 10%. Women‟s lack of participation in politics is generally blamed
on lack of education, lack of resources to finance their political careers, lack of
confidence produced by the entrenched inequitable system, and religious factors76.

Despite Article 277 of the 1992 Constitution that defines a chief as a person hailing
from the appropriate family and lineage and has been validly enstooled or installed
as a chief or queen mother in accordance with the relevant customary law and
usage, queen mothers are still not admitted into the National or Regional Houses of
Chiefs.

For the first time in Ghanaian public administration history women have filled the
following positions:
     Government Statistician, Ghana Statistical Service
     Director General, Ghana Education Service
     Deputy Inspector General of Police
     Acting Inspector General of Police
     Commissioner, Ghana Immigration Service
     Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service
     Commission, Ghana Insurance Commission
     Director-General, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation
     Editor, Ghanaian Times Corporation
     Acting Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative
       Justice
     Chief Justice
     Speaker of Parliament
     Chief Advisor to the President
     Executive Director, National Development Planning Commission
     Vice Chancellor, University of Cape Coast.


Article 3 CEDAW obliges States Parties to take measures, including legislation to
ensure the full development and advancement of women, for the purpose of
guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental
freedoms on a basis of equality with men. And Article 4 of CEDAW states that the
adoption of temporary measures aimed at accelerating de facto equality between
man and women shall not be considered discrimination as long as the objectives of
equality of opportunity and treatment have been achieved. Nor shall special
measures protecting maternity be considered discriminatory. Article 9 of the AU
Protocol on Women mentions affirmative action as a means to promote participatory
governance and the equal participation of women in the political life.



76
     Interview with Dzodzi Tsikata on 13.01.09; Interview with Ama Kpetigo Ayittey, Lawyer on 12.01.09

                                                                                                         23
Article 35(6) (b) of the 1992 Constitution stipulates that the state shall take
appropriate measures to achieve reasonable gender and regional balance in
recruitment and appointment to public office. Government in 1998 adopted an
Affirmative Action Policy Guideline that called for 40% representation of women in
decision making positions. Another affirmative action directive issued by government
required that half of 30% government appointees to the District assemblies should be
women as well the decision that 20% of the District Assembly Common Fund should
be directed towards poverty spending that targets women77.

In 1995, the Beijing Women‟s Conference called for at least 30% representation of
women in national governments. In 2000, at the UN Millennium Summit, world
leaders pledged to „promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. Article
7 of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women
(CEDAW), calls on State Parties to take measures to eliminate discrimination against
women in political life and this Ghana has ratified. Ghana also adheres to the
Commonwealth Plan of Action for Gender Equality (2005 - 2015). Critical Area 1 on
Gender, Democracy, Peace and conflict calls for “at least 30% representation of
women in decision making in parliament and local governments by creating an
enabling environment for women to seek and advance political careers and by other
measures such as encouraging political parties to adopt a 30% target for women
candidates as part of their manifestoes…”

At the Africa level, Ghana has ratified the African Charter Protocol on the Rights of
Women in Africa and signed the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality, and the
ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. These treaties provide a
framework that ensures that women participate on equal terms with men in political
life and in decision making.

In 2006, a survey carried out by WiLDAF on the implementation of the Solemn
Declaration in 11 West African countries pointed that in Ghana, despite efforts made
by the Government of Ghana to promote women‟s rights, low representation of
women in political life and decision making was still a concern78.

Although there is no law in Ghana that prevents women from participating in politics
or in areas of Ghana‟s economic or social life, women are generally under-
represented in politics and in public life. There seems to be no long-term strategic
framework put in place to address this failure which has been attributed to a lack of
political will and a deficient commitment to gender equality among political parties 79.
Yet, to avoid being branded gender insensitive all political parties have women‟s
wings which is a means of legitimising a parties‟ stance for canvassing votes of
women who make up majority of the voting public.

All the political party Manifestos for the 2008 general elections contained provisions
on increasing women‟s representation in executive positions80. Though the often
mentioned excuse has been the lack of a pool of eminent women, there is now a

77
   Under Ghana’s decentralization system, 70% of district assembly members are elected and 30% appointed.
78
   Implementation of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality – Shadow Report of West African Civil
Society Organisations, 2007 p. 2
79
   African Peer Review Mechanism, Country Review Report of the Republic of Ghana, June 2005, 24.
80
   See the 2008 Political Party Manifestos of the NDC, NPP, CPP, PNC

                                                                                                            24
women‟s directory that has been developed by the Ministry for Women and
Children‟s Affairs81.

Articles 17 on non-discrimination and 21 (3) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, enjoin
all citizens to participate freely in political activities. Under Article 35 (5) and (6), the
State has a duty to remove, through law reform and affirmative action, all forms of
discrimination. In 1998, a government White Paper on Affirmative Action Policy
Guideline stated that there will be 40% representation of women in decision-making
positions. Because this was not a policy, the government has not been held
accountable to this initiative. Therefore, despite the continuous call on the
government of Ghana to implement its international commitments, the number of
women in decision making positions in Ghana remains low.


Women in Ghana’s Parliament
Table 1: Number of Women fielded and those elected into Parliament from the First
to the Fourth Republic
 Year           1960     1965   1969       1979   1992    1996     2000     2004      2008
 No    of 104            104    140        140    200     200      200      230       230
 Seats
 Women          10        19    9          19     23      57       95       104       103
 who
 contest
 ed
 Women          10*      19*    1          5      16      18       19       25        20
 who
 won
 %     of 9.6            18.2   0.7        3.5    8.0     9.0      9.5      10.9      8.7%
 Total
*This was due to an affirmative action scheme put in place by the first President Dr.
Kwame Nkrumah



         Women in Decision making Positions in Ghana in 2007
                                       Total      Men    Wome       % Women
                                                         n
         Category
         Ministers                     10         7      3          30
         Cabinet Ministers             19         16     3          16
         Non-cabinet Ministers         5          4      1          20
         Regional Ministers            10         10     0          0
         Deputy Reg. Ministers         10         7      3          30

81
     Women’s Directory, 2008

                                                                                            25
     Deputy Ministers           23        15        8        35
     Chief Directors            35        29        6        17
     Ambassadors/High           48        44        4        8
     Commissioners
     Council      of     State 25         22        3        12
     Members
     Parliamentarians           230       205       25       10.9
     District            Chief 138        126       12       9
     Executives
     District   Assemblies 1956           1401      555      28
     Appointees
   Source, Ministry for Women and Children‟s Affairs

Women in Decision-making Positions 2009
Category            Total number       Number of women            % of women
Ministers           37                 8                          21%
Deputy Ministers    27                 5                          18.5%
Council of State    23                 3                          13.04%
MMDCEs              164                12                         7.18%
Chief Directors     25                 6                          24%
Justices of the 10                     2                          20%
Supreme Court
Council of State    25                 3                          12%
Source: Department of Women, July 2009

Other females holding key positions in Ghana include the Chief Justice, the Acting
Commissioner of Human Rights and Administrative Justice, the Vice Chancellor of
the University of Cape Coast and the Speaker of the 5th Parliament of the 4th
Republic.

Some government appointed boards for certain public institutions are yet to meet the
UN minimum threshold of 30% women in public decision-making.

Institution            Total membership    No. of women           % of women
University         of          5                   1                    20%
Ghana council
Ghana            Civil         8                    2                   25%
Aviation Authority
Electricity company            8                    0                    0%
of Ghana
Volta           River          8                   17                   12.5%
Authority
Ghana education                5                    1                   20%
service council
National      service          7                    2                   28.6%

                                                                                 26
board
Ghana      Maritime                    13                            2                        16.6%
Authority
Intercity                               8                            0                          0%
State     Transport
company (ISTC)


Women in the Decentralized Government Structures

The introduction in 1988 of district assemblies as part of a strategy to decentralize
governance also provided an opportunity for women to become more involved in
politics. Two entry points into the district assemblies were available: as part of the
70% elected members into the assemblies or as part of the 30% appointed by
government. Government policy on the latter was to ensure that at least half of the
government appointees would be women. Since this was a non-partisan system, any
woman ready to serve the district could contest. As the figures below show, this
affirmative action directive has not worked.

Percentage of women who participated in District Assembly Elections since
1998
Year       Total of Total of Total of Percentage      Percentage    of
           Members Men       Women      of men        Women
1998       4,820    4,624    196        95%           5%
2002       4,583    4,242    341        93%           7%
2006       4,691    4,248    443        90.6%         9.4%
Source: WiLDAF Ghana


Several factors account for these low levels of female representation in such key
decision making positions. These include financial difficulties, subtle discrimination
within parties, little support from male colleagues and intolerance from males in the
parties who do not understand why women should be contesting 82. At the district
assembly level some of the factors hindering equal participation of women include
high levels of illiteracy amongst women and cultural stereotypes that view certain
positions as typically male.

Women‟s involvement in the formal sector is generally low. Women in the formal
sector who carry out the same type of work as men receive equal pay. The case is
however different in the private sector where women often earn lower incomes than
men83. In line with International Labour Organisation Conventions and the 1992
Constitution, a Labour Act of 2004, Act 651 provides for paid holidays, sick leave,
and maternity leave. Despite this national law, not all employers especially those in
the informal sector comply with the law. For instance in some employment, full
maternity leave is not paid; and women are prevented from getting pregnant within
the first 12 months of employment or else they lose some entitlements. Those private

82
   ‘The Role of Women in Politics and Public Offices in Ghana, 2000 – 2004’. Paper presented at a press
conference at FES by Beatrix Allah-Mensah on 11 Nov. 2004
83
   CEDAW/C/GHA/3-5, para.140

                                                                                                          27
organisations that have collective bargaining agreements, incorporate provisions of
the Labour Act thus enabling employees to receive the benefits84.

Many women are confined to the informal sector of the economy as a result of their
low or non-existent professional qualifications and limited job-openings. Women
make up 50% of the labour force with about 73% of the female workforce estimated
to be self-employed.85 Main areas of occupation include agriculture, retail trading,
service provision and manufacturing, traders, food processors and distributors. In
2000, women comprised 49% of labour force in the agricultural sector.86 Women
produce 70% of total subsistence crops and 90% of production, processing and
distribution of food are carried out by women87.

Women‟s unequal access to land affects their access to economic resources such as
credit, and their economic, social and political status. Under Article 36 (7) of the
1992 Constitution, the State guarantees the ownership of property and the right to
inheritance. Though women have the right to own property including land, for the
majority who live in rural agrarian communities access to land is tied to marriage. In
situations of marital conflict or divorce the insecurity of a wife‟s interest in land
belonging to the husband is quite obvious. Ghana‟s patrilineal and matrilineal
systems of inheritance are to the disadvantage of women who in either situation
cannot inherit property from the husbands. This increases women‟s social
vulnerability and poverty. Passage of the Intestate Succession Law in 1985, current
land reform under the Land Administration Programme and application of equity at
divorce before the law courts are efforts that have addressed these challenges albeit
not satisfactorily88.

Rural women play an important role in the production and development processes.
Women in poor rural households have less access to health care, food, education,
training and access to credit and technology. They also have limited access to
decision making positions because of traditional and cultural beliefs 89. Their health
suffers from frequent childbirth, they work long hours (16-18 hours per day), have
malnutrition and poor diets. About 70% of the rural population depends directly on
agriculture for survival. As a result of these challenges, there is migration from the
rural areas to the urban areas in search of employment90. It is a common
phenomenon for girls from the poor northern regions of the Ghana to migrate to
market centres in the urban areas as „kayayei‟ or porters.

Role of NGOs

Since 2000, women‟s rights groups in Ghana have engaged with duty bearers and
political leaders to get more women involved in the electoral processes. Further, a lot
of attention was paid to getting more women elected into parliament. These efforts
resulted in 19 women in 2000, 25 in 2004 and 20 in 2008 being elected into

84
   Ibid. paragraph. 141
85
   Ibid. paragraph 142
86
   2000 Population and Housing Census
87
   CEDAW/C/GHA/3-5 para144
88
   It is for such gaps in the law and policy that a Property Rights of Spouses Bill has been advocated for.
89
   Ibid. paragraph 190
90
   Ibid. paragraph. 190

                                                                                                              28
parliament91.

The 2004 elections presented another opportunity to consolidate efforts of NGOs with
a focus to enabling women‟s voices to be heard in the process and ultimately to
increase the number of women in parliament in excess of the 19 of 2000. Activities
therefore included training of candidates, voter education, working with the media
and consultative meetings. In the same year, the 2004 Women‟s Manifesto was
developed by civil society groups. It outlines 10 thematic areas around which political
parties and the government must take action to address92.These interventions
resulted in a marginal increase of 25 women elected into a parliament of 230
members.

During the 2008 elections, interventions towards getting more women elected into the
Legislature by the Ministry for Women and Children‟s Affairs was almost negligible.
Though the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) and the 2008 Budget
Statement calls on the women‟s ministry to promote the participation of women in
politics, the Ministry did not embark on any large-scale programme towards getting
more women elected into Parliament. Most of the advocacy interventions towards
getting more women elected into Parliament were done by non-governmental
organizations93.


2.7- Right to education and training

Illiteracy is still higher among females (59.7%) than males (37.3%) in all regions, but
worse in the rural savannah at 75.3% broken down into 84.2% for women and 66.9%
for men. 38.3% of women as opposed to 22.3% of men (a ratio of 3:2) have never
been to school (GLSS 5). Rural female illiteracy is 73.3% compared to 51% for men.
60% of female adults in urban areas and 80% of male are literate (GLSS 5).

Though government talks about free primary education, parents still incur high cost of
books and related expenses. For some women from the Upper West Region who are
in polygamous unions, they are saddled with child care and cannot afford to provide
books and associated expenses for their children‟s education. Too many children fail
the Basic Education Certificate Examination. In many communities across the
country girls are being asked to drop out of school when there is economic hardship
so that they can help parents to look after their male siblings who are in school94.

In Ghana, boys and girls are entitled to the same educational opportunities under the
law. To improve upon enrolment of girls and boys in schools, the Government of
Ghana introduced a number of measures. These include construction or rehabilitation
of educational facilities in all the districts of Ghana. As at August, 2005, there had

91
   Interview with Melody Darkey and Gifty Dzah, Programme Officers, WiLDAF Ghana, 12.01.09
92
   Women’s Manifesto of Ghana, 2004. The 10 thematic areas are Women’s Economic Empowerment, Women
and Land, Women, Social Policy and Development, Women in Politics and Decision-making, Women, Human
Rights and the Law, Discriminatory Cultural Practices, Women and Media, Women, Conflict and Peace, Women
with Special Needs, Institutions with the Mandate to Promote Women’s Rights
93
   WiLDAF Ghana and four (4) NGOs implemented the ‘We Know Politics: Hearing Women’s Voices in the
2008 Elections’; and ABANTU for Development are some of the few women’s rights groups that implemented
projects.
94
   Consolidated Concerns of Women, WiLDAF Ghana, 2008 p. 6

                                                                                                     29
been more than 3000 newly constructed schools and more than 200 rehabilitated
ones95. In 2007, a new educational programme introduced 2 years of kindergarten
education starting at 4 years. This plus the capitation grant and schools feeding
programme have significantly increased enrolment at the primary levels. In 1998/99
female pre-school enrolment trend was 49.6% whilst that of boys was 50.4%. This
increased in 2001/2003 to 50% for girls‟ enrolment, whilst that of boys for the same
period was also 50%96. Current school enrolment rate for girls in primary school is
over 90% however retention and quality of education still remain challenges 97.

Some efforts to improve quality of primary education include increase in the District
Teacher Sponsorship Programme, incentive packages for teachers in deprived areas
and access for non-college trained teachers to gain admission into teacher training
colleges.

An Education Strategic Plan (ESP) 2003-2015 provides a capitation that is
graduated in favour of girls to cover costs that are prescribed under school levies,
which minimizes the real cost to families98. A Girls‟ Education Unit established in
1997 is responsible for facilitating and advocating for education of the girl-child.
Some of the programmes developed under this Unit include reviewing the school
curricula to remove information that was gender biased against girls. The same unit
established a scholarship scheme for girls funded by the Ghana Education Trust
Fund (GETFund). Various district assemblies and traditional leaders also have similar
scholarship schemes or Endowment Funds to promote children‟s education
especially that of girls. A Science, Technology and Mathematics Education (STME)
clinic for girls in second cycle schools was implemented for a number of years.

The gender gap between boys and girls widens at the second cycle and tertiary
levels. At the secondary school level, out of the entire population of students, females
constituted 33% and males 67%99. During the 2003/2004 academic year, student
enrolment at the universities comprised 67% boys and 33% girls. In the same year,
the polytechnics recorded a 78% male and 22% female enrolment. Females still
congregated in the arts subjects than science subjects. For example in the
2003/2004 academic year whilst there were 32% females reading Arts, 23% read
science, particularly applied science (catering, fashion)100.

According to the 2000 Population and Housing Census, 54.3% of females have
never been to school. Promotion of non-formal education is therefore of paramount
importance to the government. A School for Life literacy and numeracy programme in
Northern Region of Ghana has contributed to reducing illiteracy among children and
women. In 2002, 3,300 females graduated under the School for Life Programme in 8
districts of the Northern Region101. In 2003 the functional literacy programme
enrolled 2,023,672 people with women making up 60.8%102. Subjects covered under

95
   Ibid. paragraph. 119
96
   Ibid. paragraph 113
97
   Statement by the former Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs at the launch of the Directory on Women
in October, 2008
98
   Ibid. paragraph 118
99
   Ibid. paragraph 123
100
    Ibid. paragraph 123
101
    Ibid. paragraph. 126
102
    Ibid. paragraph. 130

                                                                                                          30
the programme include nutrition, family planning, health and hygiene, agriculture,
environment and civic awareness. Yet, women make up a high number of those who
drop out during the course of the programme which may be attributed to women‟s
reproductive roles, as well cultural and traditional factors.

There has been a steady increase of females entering vocational institutions as a
result of the creation of more schools, provision of hostel facilities and introduction of
new trade areas. Despite this females are more in the catering, and dressmaking
trade areas and fewer in areas such as auto mechanic, plumbing and machining 103.

From 2003 to date the Ministry for Manpower, Youth and Employment has been
implementing the Skills Training and Entrepreneurship Programme (STEP) which
provides skill training to out-school unemployed youth. The Ghana National
Functional Literacy Programme has been instituted by the Non Formal Education
Division of the Ministry of Education to provide literacy for school dropouts and
illiterates. The statistics show, that more women enrolled than men in this
programme. From 1998 to 2004, the total number of men who were enrolled was
271,218, as compared to 425,409 for women. Whilst 32,623 women dropped out,
only 14,863 men dropped out104.

Sexual harassment of girls is one of the barriers to girls‟ education. It affects girls‟
performance and retention in schooling. In a study on violence against women in
Ghana, 6% of more than 2000 women and girls interviewed in 20 districts across
Ghana had been threatened by a teacher or school principal that their schooling
would suffer if they did not have sex with them. Teenage pregnancy is also another
barrier to girls‟ education105. Girls who get pregnant whilst in school are allowed to
continue their studies and participate in all necessary examinations.

2.8-    Economic right and social protection

Though articles 13 of CEDAW and 13 of the AU Protocol on Women provide that
states should take measures around women‟s economic benefits, there are no
specific laws in Ghana regulating women‟s right to economic benefits.

According to the Women‟s Manifesto, biases against women under the Structural
Adjustment programme still remain within the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy
(GPRS I & II). Despite clear findings that women suffer disproportionately from
poverty, the economic sectors where women are in the majority are not priority areas
for the GPRS. The Women‟s Manifesto continues that in urban areas, whereas men
occupy the majority of positions in the shrinking public and private formal sector,
women are mostly found in the informal sector where they engage in trade and other
service activities. Even in the formal sector of the economy with better-established
law, women suffer disadvantages106.



103
    Ibid. paragraph. 134
104
    Ibid. paragraph 132
105
    See Coker-Appiah and Cusack ed. Breaking the Silence: Violence against Women and Children in Ghana,
1999
106
    Women’s Manifesto 13

                                                                                                          31
Similarly GPRS measures do not address gender issues systematically. The GPRS
has a focus on growth of the private sector, which unfortunately is an area where
women do not congregate. Although the GPRS makes reference to the informal
sector, the measures proposed for dealing with the problem does not pay much
attention to the fact that men and men have different locations in the informal
economy107.The GPRS also identifies broad areas for poverty alleviation but falls
short of specifically incorporating the numerous proposals on gender equality and
women‟s empowerment that had been made by women‟s advocacy groups during its
preparation108.

A study on women in agriculture finds that 48.7% of the total female population of
Ghana is self-employed and that women account for 70% of total food production in
Ghana109. Women also remain the centre pieces of food security. The key findings
are that:
 Women farmers belong to an occupation with low occupation prestige level and
   stand the double risk of being discriminated against on basis of gender and low
   perception of their status as farmers;
 Rural women engage in many invisible activities that affect their productive lives
 As predominant food growers, women farmers constitute the poorest among the
   poor
 Compared to men, women have the least access to the factors of production
 Women‟s access to and control over land for instance has been largely influenced
   by customary land and the limited role of women in original acquisition an
   leadership in traditional authorities
 Women farmers do not have access to the requisite financial resources to
   develop or expand their farms
 Women farmers have been affected by the limited effectiveness of the extension
   service delivery
The Study concludes that women in agriculture face both direct and indirect forms of
discrimination in their work that serves as barriers to their advancement110.

The Ministry for Women and Children‟s Affairs (MOWAC) established a Women‟s
Development Fund in 2002 to provide credit for women for economic activities
especially those who concentrate on small -scale ventures. Women who access this
fund which is administered through the rural banks do not require collateral. Since
2002, the Women‟s Development Fund had disbursed GHC11.3 million (about
US$10 million) to 168,800 women countrywide111. Another credit scheme instituted
by government is the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC). This is to
improve the economic status of women, which was recognized as extremely low in
the Ghana Living Standards Surveys. The Micro-Finance and Small Loans Scheme
(MASLOC) has largely benefited both men and women on a near-parity basis.

It is generally acknowledged that social protection mechanisms are non-
discriminatory. These are reflected in the application of the non-discrimination
principles embedded within the national laws on education, health care, health
107
    Interview with Dzodzi Tsikata, 13.01.09
108
    Interview with Professor Ardayfio-Shandorf, University of Ghana, 15 .01.09
109
    Beatrice Duncan, Women in Agriculture in Ghana 2004, p.103
110
    Ibid p. 103
111
    NPP Manifesto, p. 14

                                                                                 32
insurance and provision of assistance for the socially disadvantaged. The National
Social Protection Strategy (NSPS), which was designed in 2008, recognizes the level
of vulnerability and need of women as adduced in the Ghana Living Standards
Survey (GLSS-4 and 5). One of the programmes of the National Social Protection
Strategy is the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty (LEAP), which provides
direct cash grants to the poorest households within the country. The LEAP takes into
account the effects of gender power relations, and therefore specifically includes poor
lactating women as beneficiaries of direct cash assistance112.

There are laws and institutions that protect the rights of women, however, these laws
could work to the benefit of women if they are better disseminated and understood.
Most of the laws of Ghana have not been well disseminated to all communities to the
benefit of the citizens. Due to lack of adequate monitoring and evaluation of gender
equality programmes initiated by the Ministry for Women and Children‟s Affairs
(MOWAC) capacity building that was provided to women on micro-finance have not
been adequately appraised, and micro-credit amounts have been continually
provided to no known effect. It is discrimination when most women are confined to
micro-credit and basic training113.

The 2008 National Budget was a pilot gender-responsive budget. Additionally three
ministries had been requested to undergo gender-budgeting with the hope that future
budgets could be made more gender-responsive114.



2.9- Right to Succession

Women have a right to succession at the death of a spouse under the Intestate
Succession Law and the Wills Act. Additionally there is a bill before cabinet – the
Property Rights of Spouses Bill, 2008 which among others looks at the issue of
property distribution during the subsistence of a marriage. This invariably protects a
woman‟s rights throughout the marriage and at the death of the partner.


2.10- Widows Rights

Widows are protected under the laws of Ghana. Promulgation of the Intestate
Succession Law, 1985 (PNDC Law 111) addressed the practice where women were
disinherited at the death of husbands. The law provides for substantial allocation of
property to the surviving spouse (s) and children. The Intestate Succession Law
(PNDC Law 111) is also currently undergoing amendment to take into account
challenges that had arisen in its application. For instance the definition of who a
spouse is has been expanded to cover persons who have cohabited for a number of
years. The Criminal Offences Act also outlaws widowhood rites

2.11- Right to health and to the checking of reproductive functions

112
    Interview with Hon. Frema Osei-Opare, Deputy Minister, Ministry for Manpower, Youth and Employment
on 14.01.09
113
    Interview with Mabel Cudjoe, Research Officer, Dept. of Women on 15 01.09
114
    Interview with Francesca Pobee-Hayford, Director of Women’s Dept. on 15.01.09

                                                                                                     33
Article 12 of CEDAW provides that men and women have the same right to access to
health care services, including those related to family planning. Article 14 of the AU
Protocol on Women ensures the respect and promotion of the right to health of
women, including sexual and reproductive health.

Although the Constitution‟s Directive Principles of State Policy refer generally to a
right to health care, no provision in the Constitution specifically guarantees that right
to women, nor speaks specifically about women‟s health issues. What the
constitution contains are general provisions that applies to all people in Ghana that
every person has the right to enjoy good health. Some protections are offered under
Article 30 which stipulates that a person who by reason of sickness or any other
cause is unable to give his consent shall not be deprived by any other person of
medical treatment, education or any other social benefit by reason only of religious or
other beliefs. Women are also guaranteed maternity leave under the Constitution of
1992 and the Labour Act of 2003.

Introduction of the National Health Insurance Law in 2003 that led to implementation
of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is a law that addresses gender
inequality. The NHIS addresses women‟s health needs as well as that of their
children, thereby enabling them to engage in more productive work because burdens
associated with health have been reduced115.

There are comprehensive policies and strategic frameworks for ensuring access to
healthcare in Ghana. These include the 5- Year programme of work for 1997-2001,
and 2002 –2007, The National Reproductive Health Policy of 1997 that was revised
in 2003, the Adolescent Reproductive Health Policy and the Population Policy that
was revised in 1994. The reproductive health components of the National
Reproductive Health Policy are safe motherhood including infant health, family
planning, prevention and management of unsafe abortion, prevention and treatment
of reproductive tract infections including STIs. Discouraging harmful traditional
practices, violence against women, information and counselling on responsible
sexual behaviour, and sexual health have been added as components of the revised
reproductive health policy.

In 2000, the Ministry of Health reviewed and analysed the overall health status of
Ghanaians116. According to the Report, there was 2.2% as much Under Five
Mortality in children of women with no education as those of women with higher
education and that infant mortality rates are highest amongst women with low
educational status. Maternal mortality rates were also highest in the northern belt and
in women with lower education. HIV related deaths in women were also
proportionally higher in women than in men. Pregnancy and gynaecological disorders
accounted for about 16% of outpatient attendance among females‟ aged 15 to 44
years, 44% were admitted for spontaneous deliveries.

The Report also identified lack of gender sensitiveness of healthcare providers at
service delivery points including lack of privacy. There was also a large outflow of

115
    Interview with Professor Ardayfio-Schandorf, University of Ghana, 15.01.09; Interview with Frank Bodza,
WiLDAF Ghana, 12.01.09
116
    Health of the Nation reflections on the First Year Health Sector Programme of Work 1997-2001.

                                                                                                              34
staff and this is accelerating. According to the Nurses and Midwives Council there
was a loss of 328 nurses from the Register in 1999 rising from 198 in 1998. This
figure is approximately the numerical equivalent of the entire output of the State
Registered Nurses School in Ghana in 2000.

The Ghana Health Service provides annual Reports on implementation of its
Reproductive Health Programme. According to its 1999 Report, the number of
women who received antenatal care was 86.4% in 1999 compared to 87.55 in 1998.
Post natal coverage rose from 37.75 in 1998 and 43.1% in 1999, it rose to 47.6% in
2000.

As of 2006, only 49.7% of women were medically assisted by skilled birth attendants
to give birth (MICS 2006). Maternal mortality in Ghana is estimated to be 503 deaths
per 100,000 live births, with regional variations as high as 600-800 deaths per
100,000 live births (MOH 2006). 68% of pregnant women are estimated to be
malnourished. Unhealthy and malnourished mothers tend to give birth to underweight
and sick babies. Overall 9.1% of infants born in 2006 were low birth weight infants.
(MISC 2006). 70% of these deaths are due to haemorrhage, eclampsia, and
complication arising out of pregnancy. 30% of maternal deaths are due to abortions.
Fertility rates have also declined from 5.5 in 1993 to 4.4 in the preliminary 2003
Ghana demographic and Health survey (GDHS). Medically assisted deliveries also
rose from 40% in 1998 to 47% in 2003117.

The HIV pandemic is affecting more women than men in Ghana. For every man
infected by the HIV virus, two women are infected. Mother to child transmission is the
second major form of transmission accounting for 15% of transmission. It was
estimated that the prevalence rate among pregnant Ghanaian women in 2002 was
8%118.

Hospital statistics show that the incidence of cancer amongst women in Ghana is
higher than men119.The statistics indicate that women account for 75% of cancers
seen in the hospital120.

Some challenges still remain, care for the aged and the disabled, addressing
maternal mortality rates in Ghana and health support for victims of violence against
women.

 Economic Rights

Though articles 13 of CEDAW and 13 of the AU Protocol on Women provide that
states should take measures around women‟s economic benefits, there are no
specific laws in Ghana regulating women‟s right to economic benefits.

According to the Women‟s Manifesto, biases against women under the Structural
Adjustment programme still remain within the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy
117
    Preliminary Ghana Demographic and Health Survey 2003
118
    Second Progress Report on Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action 2004, 20
119
    Statistics from the Cancer Registry of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra
120
    Second Progress Report 20

                                                                                           35
(GPRS I & II). Despite clear findings that women suffer disproportionately from
poverty, the economic sectors where women are in the majority are not priority areas
for the GPRS. The Women‟s Manifesto continues that in urban areas, whereas men
occupy the majority of positions in the shrinking public and private formal sector,
women are mostly found in the informal sector where they engage in trade and other
service activities. Even in the formal sector of the economy with better-established
law, women suffer disadvantages121.

Similarly GPRS measures do not address gender issues systematically. The GPRS
has a focus on growth of the private sector, which unfortunately is an area where
women do not congregate. Although the GPRS makes reference to the informal
sector, the measures proposed for dealing with the problem does not pay much
attention to the fact that men and men have different locations in the informal
economy122. The GPRS also identifies broad areas for poverty alleviation but falls
short of specifically incorporating the numerous proposals on gender equality and
women‟s empowerment that had been made by women‟s advocacy groups during its
preparation123.

A study on women in agriculture finds that 48.7% of the total female population of
Ghana is self-employed and that women account for 70% of total food production in
Ghana124. Women also remain the centre pieces of food security. The key findings
are that:
 Women farmers belong to an occupation with low occupation prestige level and
   stand the double risk of being discriminated against on basis of gender and low
   perception of their status as farmers;
 Rural women engage in many invisible activities that affect their productive lives
 As predominant food growers, women farmers constitute the poorest among the
   poor
 Compared to men, women have the least access to the factors of production
 Women‟s access to and control over land for instance has been largely influenced
   by customary land and the limited role of women in original acquisition an
   leadership in traditional authorities
 Women farmers do not have access to the requisite financial resources to
   develop or expand their farms
 Women farmers have been affected by the limited effectiveness of the extension
   service delivery
The Study concludes that women in agriculture face both direct and indirect forms of
discrimination in their work that serves as barriers to their advancement125.


2.12- Access to Real Estate Property, Agricultural Credit

Following customary and statutory laws, all lands in Ghana can be acquired by any
citizen or a stranger under one of the four categories. Though land ownership
acquisitions are being transacted, majority of the land market is largely informal
121
    Women’s Manifesto 13
122
    Interview with Dzodzi Tsikata, 13.01.09
123
    Interview with Professor Ardayfio-Shandorf, University of Ghana, 15 .01.09
124
    Beatrice Duncan, Women in Agriculture in Ghana 2004, p.103
125
    Ibid p. 103

                                                                                 36
(especially in the rural areas) giving rise to ownership insecurities and other
problems.


Generally, inheritance and succession to property are determined by patrilineal
descent in the Northern sector of Ghana, the mid and southern parts of the Volta
Region and among some Ga communities. While matrilineal system of inheritance
and succession pertain to the Akan speaking areas in the southern sector of Ghana.
The traditional inheritance systems have, however, been greatly influenced by recent
legislative interventions including:
          •   The relevant provisions of the 1992 Constitution
          •   Intestate Succession Law, 1985 (PNDCL 111)
          •   Customary Marriage and Divorce (Registration) Law, 1985 (PNDCL
              112)
          •   Administration of Estates (Amendments) Law, 1985
          •   (PNDCL 113)
          •   Head of Family (Accountability) Law, 1985 (PNDCL 114)
          •   Intestate Succession (Amendment) Law, 1991 (PNDCL 264)


The Land Adminstration Project (LAP), was developed from 2000-2003 with
assistance from the World Bank and other donors. It is designed as a 15-year project
of land administration reform beginning with a five year pilot phase running from
October 2003 to 2008. This has been extended for another 2 years.

Goals
   Enhance economic and social growth by improving security of tenure

    Simplifying the process of acquiring land by the populace

    Developing the land market and fostering prudent land management by
     establishing an efficient system of land titling, registration and administration
     based on clear, coherent and consistent policies and laws supported by
     appropriate institutional structures


The Land Administration Project (LAP) received immense input from the Ministry of
Women and Children‟s Affairs to ensure that gender discrimination was eliminated in
land tenure and ownership systems. However, it was detected that most of the
problems that women faced with regard to land ownership stemmed from cultural
beliefs of both patrilineal and matrilineal societies of Ghana which did not permit
women to own land. The LAP, which had the mandate to resolve the bureaucracy
surrounding land ownership and titling has not been unable to provide the needed
resolution to gender discrimination in land ownership. This matter can only be



                                                                                   37
resolved through dialogue with traditional leaders126. Additionally, the LAP has to
recognize that women access and use land differently. If land is commercialized
which will provide equal opportunities for men and women to equally own land, it has
to be realized that women‟s low economic power and ways of owning land through
family and marriage ties will disadvantage them127.
LAP as at January 2009, has drafted a gender strategy to be used by both LAP and
other land agencies.



2.13- Right to Cultural Environment

As part of the executive arm of government, there is a Ministry of Culture and
Chieftancy Affairs which is the ministry responsible for culture issues. In Ghana, in
most societies there are clear distinctions and separations as to what a woman is
supposed to do and what a man is supposed to do which are backed by reasons of
culture even though the underlying factor is gendered roles.

Ghana has some laws criminalising certain cultural practices such as negative
widowhood rites, female gential mutilation and ritual servitude-„trokosi‟. The levels of
cultural restrictions on a Ghanaian woman vary from urban to peri-urban to rural
areas with the rural woman being the most severaly affected.

However it is not clear the level of participation of women in the formulation of
policies relating to the removal of cultural restrictions even though they generally
have direct implications for women who are the victims.

2.14- Right to a Sane and Viable Environment

Generally, women have limited access to natural resources due to a number of
factors including unclear inheritance and succession plans by families, financial
constrainst to be able to purchase these resources as well as the patriachial nature of
societies. Women in mining communities are usually left out when compensations
are being paid because the land bearing the resource is usually vested in either the
chief or a male family head128.

Ghana has the Ministry of Lands and natural resources as well as Evironment,
Science and Technology. However, there are no clear mechanisms to intergrate
women in the processes of planning, and management of natural resources. This is
so even though women are usually the target when it comes to capacity building and
awareness creation on the preservation of the environment.


2.15- Right to Sustainable Development

Following the application to the enhanced highly indebted poor country (HIPC) facility
in 2001, the Ghana government formulated and adopted the Ghana Poverty

126
    Interview with Francesca Pobee-Hayford on 15.01.09; Interview with Dzodzi Tsikata on 13.01.09
127
    Interview with Dr. Nana Akua Anyidoho, ISSER, University of Ghana 14.01.09
128
    Female participants at capacity building workshop in Tarkwa by FIAN, Ghana 2007

                                                                                                    38
Reduction Strategy Paper I which was implemented from 2003-2005. A major
weakness of the paper according to gender based civil society organisation was the
absence of clear measure and mechanisms for the inclusion and promotion of
women in the poverty reduction strategy. Therefore in formulating the GPRS II which
is the Growth and Poverty Reduction Paper II for the period 2006-2009, efforts were
made to inculcate the opinion and concerns of women. However, it cannot be said
that there was equitable participation of women at all levels of the formulation of the
document – from conception, decision-making and now the implementation.

Currently the government has started gender budgeting in certain key ministries such
as Finance Ministry with the hope that these would be replicated in al other
ministries. However, the process is slow. Aiming at sustainable development, the
government introduced a mirco credit scheme targeted at women. The aim of the
project is laudable; however it was flawed at the initiat stages when there were
complaints of partisanship in the distribution of the funds as well as the poor
repayment levels of the credits givene out. Therefore training programmes were
designed and capacities of the groups and individuals who wanted to access the loan
were built.

The GLLS 5 for instance gives sex disaggregated data on poverty and therefore
government is aware that poverty is high among women in Ghana. The micro credit
scheme which is not in all areas in the country is just one of the means of reducing
poverty among women. However, other programmes and policies must be put in
place to help reduce poverty among women.


2.16- Right to Peace and Women’s Protection in Armed Conflicts

In Ghana, the police and military continue to be the primary security agencies
maintaining law and order. There is a national security council as well as regional
security councils put in place for the maintence of peace in the various regions in
Ghana. These fall directly under the Ministry of interior.

Ghanaian women are involved in prevention of armed conflicts both internally and
internationally through peacekeeping operations. For instance there were 116
Ghanaian women involved in United Nations Missions between 2000-2006 and 344
women involved in AU missions so far129.


Ghana has signed the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons. At
the national level, in 2007, a commission on small arms – the Ghana National
Commission on Small Arms was set up by Parliament under the National
Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapons Act, 2007 (Act 736) which also gives
the commission its madate to work.

Ghana has hosted several refugees from neighbouring countries and has taken
measures even though not adequate to protect and provide for these refugees
among whom women are the most. However, the bulk of the work is done by civil

129
      Statistics compiled by DOVVSU

                                                                                    39
societies who work on issues of conflict. Adhoc measures are also put in place by
gender based civil society organisaitions such as raising funds and food items for
persons especially women in conflict zones in Ghana as well as in refugee camps.


2.17- Special Protection of Aged Women

Article 26 (2) of the Ghanaian Constitution states that all customary practices which
are dehumanizing or are injurious to the physical and mental well-being of a person
are prohibited. Yet there is no law that bans the practice where old women are
labeled witches who are thereby sacked from their homes. In 2003, the UN Special
Rapporteur on Violence against Women had expressed concern about the practices
where most accused witches are older women, often widows, who were identified by
fellow villagers as the cause of difficulties such as illness, crop failure of financial
misfortune. Such women were thereby subjected to lynching and banishment to
„witchcamp‟ villages. Government of Ghana stated in its Periodic Report to CEDAW
that „Kukuo has a population of about 1,429 and unlike the other alleged witches
camps such as the Gambaga outcast home in the East Mamprusi and Gnaani in
Yendi districts, the alleged witches are not isolated but are rather integrated in this
community‟130. The 2003 Annual Report of the Commission of Human Rights and
Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), reports that there are 1,090 women in witches‟
camps in Yendi, Bimbilla and Gambaga, all in the northern part of Ghana. In 2006,
the CEDAW Committee in its concluding comments called on the government to
address this problem131. This has still not been done.

The elderly over the age of 70 years receive free healthcare under the National
Health Insurance Scheme.

2.18- Special Protection of Distressed Women

Articles 2 (f) and 5 (a) of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of
Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) requires states to take concrete measures
to modify or eliminate customs and cultural and harmful traditional practices that
discriminate against women in order to promote women‟s full enjoyment of their
human rights. Article 20 of the African Charter‟s Protocol guarantees the protection of
human rights for widows and ensures that widows are not subjected to inhuman,
humiliating or degrading treatment.

In response to this, Article 29 of the Constitution guarantees the rights of people with
disabilities generally. The Directive Principles of State policy enjoins the state of
Ghana to protect and promote all other basic human rights and freedoms, including
the rights of the disabled, the aged, children and other vulnerable groups in the
development processes132. Additionally, in line with Article 29 of the Constitution, the
Persons with Disability Act (Act 715), 2006 was passed. Women with disabilities are
among the most vulnerable groups in Ghana133. Additionally, widows are often the


130
    CEDAW/C/GHA/Q/5/Add.1 paragraph. 20
131
    CEDAW/C/GHA/CO/5 [ara22
132
    1992 Constitution, Article 37 (2) (b)
133
    Women’s Manifesto for Ghana September 2004 59

                                                                                     40
subject of harmful widowhood rites that though have been criminalised remain in
practice134.



Instances and outcomes of cases brought before the law courts pertaining to
discrimination against women and human rights abuses involving women (e.g.
violence against women, early marriage, forced marriage, FGM, human
trafficking, etc.)

On 15th January 1999, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice
decided on the first ever sexual harassment case. It is reported in „Decisions of the
Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice‟135. In March 1997, Ms
Tettey was employed as a Flight Attendant by an airline, Fan Airways Limited. After
nine months in the position Ms Tettey received a dismissal letter. However, no
grounds were stated. She filed an action at CHRAJ alleging that the owner and
Managing Director of Fan Airways had harassed her sexually and had dismissed her
because of her refusal to acquiesce to his unwelcome advances. It was held by
CHRAJ that the conduct of the respondent constituted sexual harassment in the
workplace and amounted to discrimination within the meaning of Article 17 of the
1992 Constitution136.




Magistrate Rules against Obnoxious Custom

 In January 2007, in Nyamkomasi Ahenkro in the Central Region of Ghana, the
children of an old woman who had died were prevented by the elders of the village
from being buried in the village. Their reason was that it was the customary rule of
the community that witches cannot be buried in the village. Not knowing what to do,
the children of the deceased filed a case in a magistrate court in Assin Fosu
challenging the custom. The Magistrate ruled that the custom was gender insensitive,
and in contravention of the Constitution and therefore obnoxious. He ordered that the
deceased should be allowed to be buried in her village137.




III- Third Part

Challenges and recommendations

       Definition of discrimination against women in Article 17 (2) of the 1992
        Constitution is not in conformity with the definition contained in CEDAW Article
134
    ‘Ministry to assist 7,000 widows, orphans in Upper West Region’ GNA Report in Daily Graphic, 12.01.2007
135
    1994-2000 CHRAJ, pg. 13
136
    Manso v. Norvor, August 1998 affirmed by the High Court in The Commissioner, Commission on Human
Rights and Administrative Justice v. Prof. Frank Awuku Norvor, Suit No. FT (HR) 6/2001
137
    Agnes Kiting Mensah ‘Magistrate Rules against Obnoxious Custom’ Daily Graphic, 12.01.07

                                                                                                         41
          1 which covers the prohibition of direct and indirect discrimination138.

        Whilst maternity leave is guaranteed under the law, paternity leave is not. Only
         a few organisations including NGOs have a policy that grants paternity leave.
         Not providing this benefit in a national law reinforces the notion that caring for
         a newborn is a woman‟s job.


        Despite efforts to address women‟s health needs, challenges of dealing with
         the socio-cultural beliefs around women‟s reproductive health still exist.
         Documentation on management of abortion complication is inadequate. There
         is lack of awareness and information on how women‟s bodies function at
         various stages of life including at menopause such as eliciting family and
         community understanding.


        Although there is no law in Ghana that prevents women from participating in
         politics or in areas of Ghana‟s economic or social life, women are generally
         under-represented in politics and in public life. There seems to be no long-
         term strategic framework put in place to address this failure which has been
         attributed to a lack of political will and a deficient commitment to gender
         equality among political parties.

        The gender gap between boys and girls widens at the second cycle and
         tertiary levels. At the secondary school level, out of the entire population of
         students, females constituted 33% and males 67%. During the 2003/2004
         academic year, student enrolment at the universities comprised 67% boys and
         33% girls. In the same year, the polytechnics recorded a 78% male and 22%
         female enrolment. Females still congregated in the arts subjects than science
         subjects. For example in the 2003/2004 academic year whilst there were 32%
         females reading Arts, 23% read science, particularly applied science (catering,
         fashion).

        Government social services are non-functioning to their maximum because
         social services like Department of Social Welfare, Department of Community
         Development, Departments of Women and Children are under resourced and
         are unable to do the work which has been entrusted to them. It means that the
         necessary services that the people should be receiving are not being provided.

        Many men are shirking their responsibility to maintain their families thus
         putting the burden of child care on women. Non-maintenance of children tops
         the list of cases that are received at state and non-state legal aid institutions.
         In 2008, the Domestic Violence Victim Support Unit received over 4000 cases
         on non-maintenance of children. In 2007, the Ghana Legal Aid Scheme
         recorded 1,253 cases on non-maintenance of children; FIDA Ghana recorded
         in 2005 -1,113 cases, in 2006 – 1,775 and 2007 – 1504 cases; and WiLDAF
         recorded over 400 of such cases in the same year. Due to this problem and
         the fact that many children fail the Basic School Certificate Examination


138
      CEDAW/C/GHA/CO/5 paragraph. 12

                                                                                        42
         (BECE), cohabitation, teenage pregnancy and „streetism‟ have become
         worrying trends.

       The country is witnessing large numbers of people migrating to the cities as a
        result of non-existent jobs in the regions. There is an increasing number of
        „kayayei‟ or female porters mostly from the northern regions to the market
        centres in the cities because these young women are not in school, are school
        drop outs or cannot find jobs.

       Inadequate infrastructure facilities for water supply impact significantly on
        women‟s workload because collection and use of water is primarily a woman‟s
        responsibility. About 42.1% of women have access to pipe borne water or
        tanker services, while 33% use a well or bore hole. The remaining one quarter
        depends on unprotected sources such as river, spring and ponds. In northern
        Ghana 88.4 % of water is collected by women and 9.3% by girls. Females in
        poor households commonly spend up to 70 minutes per person per day and
        travel distances of between 3-8 kilometers to get water. Some of the poorest
        people in Ghana live in the rural savannahs, an area plagued by guinea worm
        and bilharzia as a result of insufficient supply of potable water. 139

       Some challenges still remain in relation to care for the aged. Not many
        programmes exist to integrate the disabled into the society.140 Despite efforts
        to address maternal mortality in Ghana, the rate is still very high especially
        when most deaths occur from preventable causes.

       Despite passage of the Domestic Violence Act in 2007, the law is not being
        implemented. Statistics on violence against women are very high. In 2008,
        there were 713 cases if defilement, 227 cases of rape and 1880 cases of
        assault. In all of these, men were the perpetrators141

       Civil society groups must continue their educational programmes so that
        people will understand the real meaning of equality between men and women.
        This will enable people to incorporate the spirit of gender equality into cultural
        practices142.

       Since 1992 when Parliament was enjoined by the Constitution to pass a law
        regulating property rights between spouses, this has not been done. A draft bill
        on Property Rights of Spouses was introduced by the Ministry for Women and
        Children‟s Affairs and the Attorney General Office in 2008.

       There are still cultural and traditional practices against women that are so
        deeply rooted. There is no law protecting old women who are branded witches


139
    Statistics provided at the Ghana Joint Assistance Strategy (GJAS) Meeting between Development partners
and government on 30th June 2008
140
    There is a documentary on the disabled in Ghana that is presently being screened on TV3. It calls on people to
be friendly towards the disabled, to extend a hand to them when they need such assistance and for the
government to introduce a programme of integration into the public sector.
141
    Statistics from DOVVSU, Accra
142
    Interview with Prof. Ellen Bortei-Doku Ayeetey, University of Ghana, 14. 01.09

                                                                                                               43
          and banished from their homes. Polygamy is discriminatory and there is the
          need to have a law abolishing it.

       Government has to amend the citizenship law to address the discrimination
        where a foreign man married to a Ghanaian woman must be permanently
        resident in Ghana to acquire citizenship, while a foreign woman married to a
        Ghanaian man does not have to.

       Despite efforts to address women‟s access to justice, many women face
        impediments in gaining access to justice such as high filing fees and
        ignorance of legal rights.

       The Ministry for Women and Children‟s Affairs needs to be adequately
        resourced to provide gender policy direction to all the various ministries to
        ensure the incorporation of gender rights in all programmes of the state. The
        current practice where some ministries tackle specific issues on gender as a
        matter of course, without proper coordination does not augur well for gender
        equality. For example, the Ministry of Health deals with maternal mortality, not
        as a gender issue, but as a health problem which only occurs among women.
        Likewise, the Ministry of Education tackles education of girls basically because
        of the target of achieving universal basic education, and not because women
        have been in a disadvantaged position due to lack of education. The
        Department of Social Welfare also tackles women‟s issues because they are
        widely occurring and often reported. “This is not a culture of thinking
        gender”143.

       There are a number of pregnant women and lactating mothers in Ghana‟s
        prisons. It took a presidential pardon early January 2009 to release pregnant
        and lactating mothers from prison144.



Conclusions and Recommendations

         Synthesis of key findings

Over the last 2 decades the Government of Ghana had performed commendably in
taking appropriate measures towards elimination of discrimination against women.
Although, international treaties have not been „domesticated‟ as part of the national
laws of Ghana, the Constitution, national law, policies and programmes aimed at
ensuring gender equality conform to aspects of these treaties. That notwithstanding,
there are areas that require urgent action towards gender equality and equity.

Key legislation such as the Labour Act, Human Trafficking Act, Persons with
Disability Act, and Domestic Violence Act among others as well as the adoption of
the Gender and Children‟s Policy, an Affirmative Action Policy Guideline, policies on


143
   Interview with Francisca Pobee-Hayford, Director of Women’s Dept. of MOWAC on 15.01.09
144
   Interview with John Burke Baidoo, Lawyer, 12.01.09; Just before the ex-President Kufour left office in
January 2009, he granted clemency to 500 prisoners including pregnant and lactating mothers.

                                                                                                            44
health particularly relating to maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS are highly
commendable.

There are other pieces of legislation that abolish customary practices that are
injurious to girls and women. These include the criminalisation of female servitude
(trokosi), FGM and cruel widowhood rites. It is also noteworthy that punishments for
the offences of incest, defilement and rape have been increased.

Establishment of institutions to deal with human rights abuses (CHRAJ), domestic
violence (DOVVSU), women‟s access to justice (Ghana Legal Aid Board) and an
unprecedented increase in the number of courts is also appreciated.

Education, an important element towards bridging the gender gap is being addressed
through programmes that have increased enrolment of children at the pre-school and
primary levels.

Ghana is also commended for creating the Women‟s Development Fund and the
Micro-Finance and Small Loans Scheme (MASLOC) to support women‟s economic
empowerment. Towards getting more women into the decentralised government
structures, the Ministry for Women and Children‟s Affairs did well to establish a
Women in Local Government Fund.

Women are still under-represented in public office despite the fact that there some
key positions are held by women such as the Chief Justice and Speaker of
Parliament.

The National Gender and Children‟s Policy which was launched in September 2004
does not provide ample direction for guiding interventions in various ministries,
departments and agencies.

Despite affirmative action policies within the education sector to improve upon girl‟s
enrolment, there is no policy in place to be effectively applied to women‟s
participation in decision making. The Affirmative Policy Guideline of 1998 has only
remained a guideline and not a substantive policy.

Many institutions have developed gender policies to promote equal employment
opportunities. These gender policies guide recruitment and staff relationships145.


Recommendations for the elimination of all forms of discriminatory provisions
and gender equality gaps in the national constitution, laws, statutes, policies
and programmes


          Government of Ghana should review the Affirmative Action Policy Guideline,
           make it a substantive policy and implement it to increase the number of
           women in politics and decision-making positions. Government should urge


145
      Interview with Dr. Ellen Bortei-Doku Ayeetey, University of Ghana, 13.01.09

                                                                                    45
    political parties to agree to implementation of a quota system as a means of
    having more women in politics.
   The national women‟s machinery has resource constraints which hinder it from
    achieving its mandate. Therefore the government should strengthen it by
    increasing its budgetary allocation, increasing its human resource base and
    providing it with the necessary logistics to enable it play its very important role
    in ensuring advancement of women.
   The Labour Act should be amended to give paternity leave for fathers thus
    reducing the burden of care of babies on mothers. Government should ensure
    the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) reaches women in
    the informal sector in the country to register them so that they will be able to
    enjoy pensions in their old age. With the current oil find in Ghana, the State
    should ensure that women are employed within the oil sector on an equal
    basis with men.
   Ghana should adopt a process that makes all women‟s rights international
    treaties part of national law to make them an integral part of Ghana‟s own
    enforceable standards.
   Government should take steps towards enforcing the Criminal Offences Act
    provision on traditional practice. A law that abolishes the customary practice of
    labeling old women witches should be promulgated.
   The government should continue to emphasize the importance of education as
    a fundamental human right. In particular, it should implement programmes that
    will retain girls in schools. Education will address the „kayayei‟- female porters
    phenomenon.
   The Property Rights of Spouses Bill should be passed into law to address
    situations where women‟s rights to property are not fulfilled as a result of
    cohabitation, proof of substantial contribution and non-value placed on house
    work.
   The government is urged to expedite all necessary administrative matters to
    enable the full implementation of the Domestic Violence Act. In particular, the
    Fund that will assist victims of violence should be set up without further delay.
    Women‟s health needs should be addressed, in particular provision of
    information on the various stages of a woman‟s life and on HIV/AIDS. Ghana
    is encouraged to continue with provision of more health facilities and
    personnel towards addressing access to health.
   Legal aid institutions should be well resourced to address the large number of
    cases on non-maintenance of children.
   Measures aimed at abolishing polygamy should be adopted by the state. It is
    quite clear that this could be a contributory factor to the large number of
    children who are not maintained by their parents.
   It was recommended that activities aimed at eliminating gender discrimination
    should be packaged to include men. This is because the larger majority of
    persons in decision-making positions who have the power to bring about the
    desired change are men. Without their involvement, gender discrimination
    would remain “a woman‟s theory” which may not be fully applied.
    The inclusion of men as a critical target should be done in all other sectors
    such as economic rights as well.
   Women in decision-making positions also need to be provided the necessary
    backstopping to understand policies, programmes and bills from a gender
    perspective.
                                                                                    46
   Review the National Gender and Children‟s Policy for proper direction to all
    ministries, departments and agencies to incorporate gender.
   Government must invest in the collection and analysis of age and sex
    disaggregated data
   There is need for monitoring and evaluation of activities and policies
    implemented to enhance the lives of women. Micro-credit facilities, training
    programmes and funds instituted for women (individuals and groups) were not
    carefully monitored; therefore, it is not known whether these measures led to
    real improvement in the lives of women
   The draft gender strategy on Land by the Land Adminstration project (LAP)
    must be studied and validated by women especially by the Women‟s Ministry
    to ensure it addresses all concerns of women on land issues.
   Culture was generally recognized as a major source of discrimination which is
    being tackled by national laws. However there is need for a review of
    discriminatory cultural laws and practices as a means of eliminating them. This
    needs to be done with traditional leaders to ensure communal acceptance and
    coordination. National laws that regulate these practices would serve to back
    up the elimination of these practices and provide avenues for legal
    prosecution.
   Ghana should have an equal opportunity law that inculcates the principles of
    gender equality and equity.
   The Labour Act does not adequately cover domestic workers majority of who
    are girls and women. Special regulations have to be made protecting domestic
    workers.
   Need for a gender equality commission as found in other countries like Kenya.
    The commission will be dedicated to recommending policy, monitoring and
    implementing programmes that lead to gender equality.




                                                                                47