ADA WOMEN’S DECLARATION AND PLATFORM FOR ACTION
We are the women of Ada. We are and we represent women from the Ada East and the Ada
West Districts of the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. We are queenmothers, women
farmers, fishmongers, market women, trades and craftswomen, women with disabilities and
saltwinner women of the Songor.
Because of poverty and the relegation of women, many for us are non-literate. But we have
found our voice and our strength in each other. Concerned with our common condition, we
have consulted with our various communities and joined together to produce this, the Ada
Women’s Declaration and Platform for Action. Fittingly, we launch it today on 2018
International Women’s Day with its theme of “Press for Progress towards Gender Parity.”
We launch it to say we will no longer be excluded because we deserve to be included and
because our community Ada, our nation Ghana, and indeed the world cannot afford for us to
Our initiative draws inspiration from the Beijing Women’s Declaration and Platform for
Action adopted by the governments of the world, including our own Ghana, in 1995 and
which says women’s rights are human rights. It is founded on our own 1992 Constitution of
Ghana and particularly Article 17 (1) and (2) which says that all persons are equal before the
law. It is supported by the Women’s Manifesto for Action adopted by women in civil society
in Ghana in 1984 and by the 2005 National Policy for Gender Equality and Women’s
Empowerment. It is upheld by many international declarations and protocols which our
various governments have signed, starting from CEDAW, the Convention for the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and through to the 2016 Sustainable
Development Goals, in particular Goal No. 5 to ensure Gender Equality and Women’s
Empowerment. Fundamentally, our Ada Women’s Declaration and Platform for Action is
rooted in our heritage, where by tradition the richest natural resource in Ada, the Songor salt
lagoon, is considered the legacy of a woman, Yomo, together with the principles of equity
and mutual support for the well-being of all.
We launch the Ada Women’s Declaration and Platform for Action to call for equality to
be lived, in our homes, in the sites for our livelihood, in our Traditional Council, in our
We are pressing for our domestic rights. To our husbands we say: Treat us as your partners
in all respects and not as objects of your pleasure and power. Speak to us, do not beat us.
We now have laws that protect against violence against women but let us live harmoniously
and in solidarity without need for the law. Whether conventionally or differently able, marry
us properly, register our marriages and do not discard us as though we were interchangeable.
To our in-laws we say do not cast us out and impoverish us when your sons have left us.
We are pressing for our economic rights. There is no woman in Ada who does not toil for a
living for her family. Without our labour food cannot be put in our family bowl, our children
cannot be clothed and even our dead buried in dignity. Give us the resources to do better.
To our fathers, we say: allow us women to inherit equally. Allow us to own land to till
ourselves. To our livelihood partners, including our husbands, treat us transparently. If you
are a fisherman selling fish to me, your wife, use standard weights. If you are a chief or local
government responsible for fixing tolls, do it with us, the market women or the seamstresses
and the hairdressers. If you are the custodian of the Songor, stop atsiakpo, or the construction
of private pans, and restore the age-old equitable access to win the salt through which we
feed our families and educate our children. If you are the District Assembly, ensure that our
disabled women consistently get their rightful share of the Common Fund.
We are pressing for our governance rights. Governance in the home, in the Traditional
Council, in government. The fact that we are women does not mean that our brains are
inferior. Allow us to participate freely in dialogue and decision-making and shape the
destiny of our families and our clans. Let us assume leadership as equals. Let there be a
queenmother along with a chief in every community and let them be joint servant-leaders. At
the Tradtional Council, do not use clan queenmothers simply as decoration. Let every clan
queenmother participate in Traditional Council meetings as every clan chief does. Make the
requirements financially reasonable so each queenmother can be gazetted and use her
legitimate place in the roster of the nation’s traditional authorities to serve our community
more effectively. At the local government level, reject the current situation where the Ada
East District Assembly has only three assemblywomen out of xx and the Ada West District
Assembly, only one woman out of xx. Together with the national government, even now
apply the principle of the Affirmative Action Bill which allocates at least 40% of all seats in
government to women. Begin with the government appointees to the Assembly. Remove all
social and cultural impediments to the appointment and the election of women.
In pressing for these rights, we are pressing for the rights of young girls and women, now and
in the generations to come. In some ways they are better off, but in some ways they are not.
More are fortunately going to school but all must go to school and stay in school. But society
continues to disrespect them as females and treat them as objects. With the breakdown of our
communal values and continuing impoverishment, we are experiencing what was previously
unheard of: teen-age pregnancy, rape, child trafficking, child prostitution. This is
unacceptable! A community that cannot provide for and protect its children and young
women is no community!
So, once again, today, on International Women’s Day 2018 we the women of Ada of
representing all strata and occupations of women across Ada East and Ada West in the
Greater Accra Region of Ghana launch the Ada Women’s Declaration and Platform for
Last year, on 14 October 2017, we celebrated the first Ada Women’s Day. We will continue
to celebrate it every year to say, to remind and to track that we not only have the right but
also the capacity to be included fully in all spheres of life. In collaboration with all in Ada
and beyond – girls, boys, women, men, traditional leaders, and government leaders at all
levels – our inclusion will make a significant difference to the well-being and progress of all.
Together with you, for the well-being of our families, of the Ada community, of our nation
Ghana and of the larger world, we declare: Yes, of course, Women Can and Women Will! Yo
hu peo … !
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