Civil Society Organisations in the North have decried the slow pace of Ghana's efforts at promoting a higher number of women in leadership and decision making positions.
They noted that since the implementation of the Decentralisation system in the country, more than 30 years ago, there were still gaps in gender parity that resulted in low level of participation and representation of women in all aspects of decision making structures.
According to them, lack of funding to support women vying for assembly elections thwarted the progress of the implementation of the Beijing global policy on achieving gender equality and women's rights.
This among other gaps were; discussed at a recent review meeting of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, organised by Network for Women's Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) and the Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM), on the Beijing + platform Action Plans adopted in 1995 , where Ghana was one of the 189 countries that signed onto it to promote gender equality and women's rights.
In line with a draft report on some critical areas worked on by thematic working groups at various consultative and zonal meetings, it was noted that interventions made by government in that direction still needed increased efforts in the Beijing +25 action plan.
Dr Jane Frances Lobnibe, a Lecturer at the University for Development Studies (UDS) and a participant who presented a group's feedback on some of the critical gaps identified, noted that though government's effort in the area of empowering women to go into politics by setting up a fund at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection was laudable, such a fund existed only by name.
She therefore called for proper budgetary allocation to the ministry to support women contesting in local government elections.
The Participants commended the CSOs for educating the women and urged them to keep the women informed on the latest development of government's works on their concerns.
Dr Lobnibe noted that some cultural norms and values were challenges to women's empowerment and leadership and therefore recommended that queen mothers be empowered to play more visible roles in communities to demystify the role of women in leadership.
Other recommendations included; the need for all institutions especially the health sector to endeavour to make sign language a priority at maternal and childcare units to help mothers with hearing and speech impairment to express their health concerns when they visit health facilities.
Ms Abigail Fati Abdulai, the Executive Director of WOM said the objectives of reviewing the draft report being worked on by thematic working groups was to enable the CSOs to make parallel reports during the meeting of the UN Commission on Status of Women (CSW) to be organised in March 2020.
She said the representations at the meeting in Bolgatanga was a force to reckon with in the march towards global equality for women and served as a learning platform for some of the participants.
According to the global gender report 2017, Ghana was placed 112 out of 114 countries for the gender index on political empowerment (IPU/UNDO).
Issues on gender inequality, socio cultural subordination, attitudes and low levels of women's political participation and representation in Ghana were undermining the ability to achieve rapid results in the fulfillment of the Beijing platform for Action, the report indicated.