Women rights advocacy organizations led by the Women’s Manifesto Coalition and Abantu for Development on Thursday, September 2nd, 2021 marked the 17 years of existence of Women’s Manifesto for Ghana.
The event, which was held via Zoom and on the theme ‘“Women’s Manifesto for Ghana: A Legacy for Women’s Rights,” was meant to review, appraise the significance of the document in advocating for women’s rights as well as identify the progress made and the challenges that need to be addressed.
Seventeen years after the launch and subsequent review of the Women’s Manifesto for Ghana, the Manifesto has become a household document contributing to notable improvements in gendered practices, though total gender equality has been slow in coming.
According to the activists, the production of the blueprint was historic as it sought to provide a mechanism within Ghana’s context that would draw attention to the nature and magnitude of inequalities and demonstrate how these socio-economic and cultural barriers affect the various dimensions of women’s productive lives as citizens.
The Manifesto consist of ten sections including a preamble and a concluding “call to action” to men. The ten central themes include; Women’s Economic Empowerment, Women and Land, Women Social Policy and Social Development, Women in Politics, Decision-making and Public Life, Women, Human Rights, and Law.
The others are; Discriminatory Cultural Practices, Women and Media, Women, Conflict, and Peace, Women with Special Needs and Institutions with a Mandate to Promote Women’s Rights.
The virtual dialogue brought together over 90 participants including civil society organizations to discuss the significance of the Manifesto. It was moderated by Hilary Gbedemah, a lawyer and former Chairperson of CEDAW.
A panel of three, including Mr. Nana Kwasi Gyan Apenteng, a seasoned journalist and former Chairperson of the National Media Commission (NMC) offered their opinions on the role of the advocacy document in creating a democratic society.
The Women’s Manifesto for Ghana was launched at the Accra Conference Centre on September 2, 2004. The Manifesto lays out a set of demands and policy prescriptions to ensure that the equality and human rights of women are upheld.
The release of the Manifesto also marked the formation of the Women’s Manifesto Coalition (WMC), a broad coalition of civil society organization, which advocates for the broader participation of women in society, which is meant to monitor the government’s efforts to implement the demands. Through this process of coalition building, participatory deliberation, and the coordination of demands, the Manifesto was able to directly impact national policies affecting women.