This year's celebration last Thursday, was under the theme Partnership for Peace: Perspectives on Women's Effective Participation in the Electoral Process in Ghana. The focus of the commemoration was to explore ways of building linkages among stakeholders working in the areas of women peace and security issues. The event was also to strategise to ensure peace before, during and after the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections within the context of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) and other related resolutions.
Participants numbering about 30 were drawn from the Government, traditional authorities, Civil Society Organsitions (CSOs), political parties and security sector.
Addressing the participants, Dr Bernard Coquelin, a representative from the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and the Chairperson of the UN Gender Team, explained that Human Rights were universal principles which should served as the basis for the establishment of some minimum standards for all Governments and citizens.
He noted that despite the wide universality of the concept of human rights, its practical application was generally weak in many areas and even disregarded in some instances.
According to him, the Government of Ghana has ratified several human and women's right treaties including the approval of a National Plan of Action on UNSCR 1325, aimed at increasing women's role in peace building, conflicts resolution and management.
Thus attention being paid to the UNSCR1325 is therefore not only timely but very appropriate given that high spate of conflicts and emergencies continue to undermine the peace and security of women and girls in particular.
UNSCR 1325 seeks to reaffirm the recognition of the impact of conflicts on women and girls especially as well as bring to the fore the fact that the contribution of women to peace and security is being underutilised.
Providing instances which prevent women from attaining high political positions, Mrs Paulina Adobea Dadzawa of the Electoral Commission, Ghana, noted that politics had traditionally been the domain of males, and many women have found it unwelcoming or even hostile. She pointed out that societies in which traditional or patriarchal values remained strong might even frown on women entering politics.
Also unfavorable cultural predilections, paucity of financial resources, low level of education and less access to information, among others, act as practical barriers to women who may want to enter politics.
Mrs Dadzawa believed that, Many of us are convinced that greater participation of women in governance especially getting into elected offices will be very helpful in peace building. Women are generally less incline to sharp or violent language and are more sensitive to the ultimate effects of violence on women and would do everything to prevent it when they are in decision-making position.?