Scores of Faith Based Organisations (FBO) in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Tuesday launched the Ghana Chapter of “Side by Side” association, a faith movement to advocate against gender disparities and promote gender quality in the country.

The movement was part of a global association formed to fight against social inequalities such as child marriage, female genital mutilation, child abuse, rape, child trafficking, and marital abuses to promote gender justice in regional and national coalitions.

Business24

The CSOs are, World Vision International, Oxfam Ghana, Women in Law and Development in Africa while the Faith Based Organisations are the Christian Council of Ghana, Traditional Leaders, the Ghana Muslim Mission, Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, and the Federation of Muslim Women Association in Ghana.

Mr Ernest Okyere, the Country Manager of Christian Aid, a development agency that operates to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals globally, said the movement aimed at speaking against policies, laws, cultural systems, traditions, and beliefs that encourages inequalities.

The Movement after realizing how society had accepted certain gender disparities against women as a way of recognising its culture and values, thought of a way to promote the Ghanaian culture and equal rights between males and females as well.

He said in May 2018, CSOs from the West African sub-region held a conference to promote the establishment of a national chapter of the Movement in each country to fight the menace.

“If we cannot have an equal society, then we are somehow bound to break apart,” Mr Okyere said.

He disclosed that there would be a national launch of the Movement on March 13, this year.

Mr Okyere explained that the Movement, was based on the premise that faith leaders were influential in perpetuating gender injustice, and as such have an increasingly important role to play in reversing the situation.

The Reverend Dr Cyril G. K. Fayose, the General Secretary of the Christian Council in a speech delivered on his behalf called on all faith-based organisations to join the Movement to address issues of sexual and gender violence especially against girls and women.

“I urge all and sundry to respect the rights of everyone and protect the integrity of God’s creation by promoting gender equality,” he said.

He said the Christian Council was willing to join in the education, awareness creation and sensitisation to halt social injustice and gender-based violence in the country.

Hajia Aisha Abdul-Kadiri, the National Secretary of the Federation of Muslim Women Association in Ghana said Muslim men sometimes misinterpreted the tenets of the Qur’an as stipulated in ‘Chapter 4:34’ that urged husbands to protect their wives as they were stronger than them.

She explained that, it only gave men the directive to make women feel as important players in their homes.

She said some Hadiths of the Islamic Religion on marriage teach husbands to treat their wives in the best way, and pamper them, adding that, “When a Hadith teaches husbands to deny wives access to bed and chastise them as a way of discouraging them from repeating wrongs, it doesn’t mean you should punch them”.

Naa Korkor Adzieoyi I, the Queen Mother of Adabraka Traditional Area, condemned instant justices meted out to alleged criminals especially women such as stripping them naked and abusing them.

She asked women to be discerning in their dealings with some influential people in the society as they could take advantage of them.

She said gender inequality was also very common among chieftaincies in the country, adding that, most queen mothers had ceremonial positions which somehow rendered them ‘useless’ even at functions.

“The Chiefs are most often invited to programmes and when once, you are lucky to be invited, the Chief is rather invited to talk while you just sit and listen. Meanwhile, most of our queen mothers are graduates,” she said.

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