Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection has announced that the National Social Protection Policy is ready to be presented to Cabinet for approval by the end of the month.
She said the social protection policy aims at a well-coordinated, inter-sectoral social protection system that would ensure effective implementation and coordination and enabling people to live in dignity through income support, livelihoods empowerment and improved systems of basic services.
Nana Oye Lithur made the disclosure in her address at the Ministry’s Midterm Review of Ghana’s Gender Agenda.
The meeting brought together stakeholders from both the public and private sector, civil society orgainsations and gender based institutions for the review process.
“Many of our women continue to suffer economic deprivation as a greater percentage of persons living in extreme poverty are women. This puts them at risk of varied forms of exploitation and abuse,” the Minister stated.
“The Framework for the development of a National Social Protection Strategy therefore, represents Government’s vision of creating an all-inclusive society through the provision of sustainable mechanisms for the protection of persons living in situations of extreme poverty,” she added.
She said the Ministry had finalized the Affirmative Action Bill and it would be submitted to Cabinet within the next week or two for consideration.
“The Bill, when passed into Law, will carefully identify and effectively redress areas of social, cultural, economic and educational imbalances and ensure gender equality in Ghana.
“The Law will rectify historical wrongs by mandating that certain opportunities be made available to those distinguished by gender, minority or underrepresented status,” Nana Oye Lithur said.
“The purpose of the Affirmative Action Bill is to promote the full and active participation of women in public life by providing for a more equitable system of representation in electoral politics and governance in accordance with the Republic of Ghana’s international and constitutional obligations and national development aspirations,” she added.
She said an integral part of the Bill is a plan to have more women to occupy strategic decision-making positions.
She observed that the Ministry co-sponsored the Intestate Succession and Property Rights of Spouses Bills with the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General and obtained Cabinet approval for both Bills.
She noted that the Bills were currently with the Joint Select Committees on Constitution and Gender.
Nana Oye Lithur said the objective of this Bill is to make the intestate succession regime more responsive to the needs of the immediate family of persons who die intestate.
She said when it gets passed, the Bill would eventually cover up the lack of recognition of contributions made by non-working spouses.
“The Bill will also provide a uniform intestate succession that will be applied throughout the country irrespective of the inheritance system of the intestate and the type of marriage contracted,” the Minister said.
She explained that hence, the situation where surviving widows were often victimized, thrown out of a deceased husband’s home and reduced to penury would be put to a stop.
Nana Oye Lithur said the Domestic Violence Law provides an integrated support to victims.
She said the Ministry had developed Domestic Violence Regulations to make its implementation effective particularly to improve the protection, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of domestic violence.
She said this instrument had been finalized with legal support from the Attorney General’s Department.
She announced that a consultative meeting was scheduled with the Parliamentary Subsidiary Legislation Committee for consideration before laying it in Parliament for approval.
On shelter homes, the Minister said “still on direct intervention programmes, the Ministry has been able to operationalize a shelter for victims of domestic violence as in many cases, such victims become stranded and homeless.”
She said the shelter offers safe space where victims were provided with relevant help and housing, while the state agencies worked to seek justice for them.
She said the shelter is located in Accra and is open to women escaping abusive or violent home settings.
Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, the Director, ABANTU For Development, who chaired the function, in her remarks said the year 2015 is a milestone year in the context of development issues, not only at the global level, but for Ghana as well.
She mentioned some of the significant achievements as the world is marking the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the worldwide review of progress made in the implementation of this blue print for women’s empowerment and gender equality had been undertaken. GNA