THE Head of Human Rights and Gender at the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Mrs Chris Dadzie, has expressed concern about the continuous refusal of the National House of Chiefs (NHC) to admit queens into the various houses of chiefs.
Describing it as discriminatory, she said both the 1992 Constitution and the Chieftaincy Act provide for queens to be members of the NHC and, therefore, expressed surprise as to why the NHC had closed its eyes to the matter.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic after a validation meeting of women groups on the Constitution review in Kumasi, last Friday, Mrs Dadzie said the Network for Women Rights in Ghana (NETRIGHT) was working hard to ensure that the right thing was done.
The 1992 Constitution defines who a chief is. It says he or she has to be properly nominated, elected and enstooled. It says it does not state whether that person is a woman or a man.
The Chieftaincy Act also talks about membership of the NHC as including the Asantehene and any paramount chief.
Mrs Dadzie said there was an area in the country where the paramount chief was a woman yet she had been prevented from holding membership of her Regional House of Chief because she was a woman.
The three-day forum organised by NETRIGHT in collaboration with the Women Manifesto Coalition and Window of Hope Foundation discussed the proposed drafts of a working group set up by NETRIGHT to review the 1992 Constitution.
About 120 participants from some identifiable groups in the northern sector attended the workshop.
Earlier in her address at the forum, Mrs Dadzie said various proposals relating to marriage, working rights of women, and employment among others, would be made to the Constitution Review Commission for consideration.
For instance, she said foreigners who married Ghanaian women should not be discriminated against. This was so because the emphasis had always been on discrimination against Ghanaian women who marry foreigners.
She noted that most Ghanaian women were in the informal working sector and their work was not recognised. There was, therefore, the need for a constitution review to give recognition to them, especially, when discussing micro-economic indicators.
“We want to fight for fairness and not just to tilt the scales in favour of women,” she said.
She stated that a constitutional provision would be sought to ensure that all social, cultural and other practices, which discriminate, dehumanise, or were injurious to the health or physical and mental well-being of a person were prohibited.
Again, she said a proposal was to be made for the National Health Insurance Law to cover maternity costs and address maternal mortality,
There was also the need for laws to tackle gender discrimination in customs and practices related to land and property.
In a welcoming address, the Executive Director of Window of Hope Foundation, Mrs Elizabeth Adubofuor, said the era where women played second fiddle to men in certain areas of national development were gone.
There was, therefore, the need for women who thought they were second-rate citizens to rise up and assert their rightful places in the socio-economic development of the nation.