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General News
Achievement of MDGs depends on gender equality - Kofi Annan 2/13/2007
Accra, Feb. 12, GNA - Busumuru Kofi Annan, immediate past UN Secretary-General, on Monday said the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), more than anything else would depend on the empowerment of women and gender equality. He noted that in the 27 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, much had been done to advance the progress of women but these had fallen short of what was needed.

"Until there is gender equality, there can be no sustainable development. It is impossible to realize our goals while discriminating against half the human race," he said.

Busumuru Annan made this remark at the launch of the State of the World''s Children Report 2007 in a special message contained in the report.

The 148-page report on the theme: "Women and Children - The Double Dividend of Gender Equality", focused mainly on the empowerment of women and girls as the means to ensure children''s rights protection. The Report put together by UN Children''s Fund (UNICEF), focused on five broad areas of the Call for Equality; Equality in the Household; Equality in Employment; Equality in Politics and Government as well as Reaping the Double Dividend of Gender Equality.

Busumuru Annan said: "When women are healthy, educated and free to take the opportunities life affords them, children thrive and countries flourish, reaping a double dividend for women and children."

He noted that eliminating gender discrimination and empowering women were among the paramount challenges facing the world today. Busumuru Annan explained that when women suffered discrimination, it impacted on both boys and girls and not just girls and urged governments, civil societies and their development partners to mainstream issues of gender equality and ensure complete elimination of gender discrimination.

Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children''s Affairs, who launched the Report, emphasized the need to mainstream gender issues and called for advocacy and sharing of information among stakeholders at all levels of decision-making, household, workplace and in politics. She noted that to achieve gender equality, men and boys needed to be included in advocacy to help empower women and girls, saying that there were some strong male advocates of gender equality.

Hajia Mahama said even though women had very little opportunity at the decision-making levels, available evidence showed that women performed better as decision makers than men.

Hajia Mahama thanked the out-going UNICEF Country Representative, Ms Dorothy Rozga, for her contribution to ensuring women and children''s rights, health and education in Ghana.

She said in the three years that Ms Rozga served in Ghana, she contributed to the elimination of measles, polio, helped to ensure fee-free basic education, the passage of the Disability Act (Act 58) encouraged the use of mosquito bed nets as a measure against malaria, among other things.

Ms Rozga supported the message of Busumuru Annan and suggested that the goals of the Growth and Reduction Strategy (GPRS) could not be achieved if women were not empowered with equal opportunities as their male counterparts.

Mrs Elizabeth Salamatu Forgor, District Chief Executive (DCE) for Bole noted that out of 138 districts in the country, only 12 were headed by women.

She also said that women were gunning for at least 38 districts and hopefully half of the total in the near future.

Ms Theresa Nobiya, National Health Coordinator of the Ghana Red Cross Society, said they had trained at least 2,500 women as volunteers to educate their colleagues in 15 communities in northern Ghana on the eradication of guinea worm and other diseases.Source:

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