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Elicit and Include the voices of girls and women

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25th January 2010
Michelle Bachelet
Executive Director
UN Women

From: Girls and Women in Ghana

Dear Ms. Bachelet,

‘If I rule the world’
This letter is not only my voice and vision but the silent yet sacred voices and vision of girls and women from difficult backgrounds in corners of Ghana that you may never know or see.

As I begin to write to you the voices of girls from difficult backgrounds that I work for and with come ringing like a bell in my ear. If I rule the world I will make a policy for all girls and women to be educated and for them to be treated with dignity’ says 15 year old Nana Ama, visually impaired student of the Akropong School for the blind in Ghana. For Humu, I want a world where girls can be who they want to be, where our voices will be heard and respected’.

The real issues in our world’
In our world we bear the brunt of everything from natural to unnatural occurrences like wakening up on New Year’s Day to pay for increased ‘tro-tro’ fares. We wanted to let you know three key issues in our community that affect us girls and women. These are girls education, maternal mortality and gender equality.

Girls Education
We believe that education is the key to empower girls and indispensable to the development of our community and country. Our country has made progress in girl’s enrolment but sustaining especially those of us from difficult backgrounds is a challenge. Again, majority of us do not have access to education just because we are physically challenged. We believe strongly that when girls and women are educated they can contribute to alleviate poverty, hunger and diseases.

Maternal Mortality
Every year a number of our sisters, mothers and aunties lose their lives to mortality but should our sisters, mothers and aunties die as they give life? We do not think that it is fair or just for them to die giving life when we can prevent maternal mortality.

Gender Inequality
There is still discrimination against girls and women. In our world, the boys can play after school but we cannot as we are tasked with fetching water, cooking, selling and other household chores. We think both girls and boys can share household chores so that we can all play because ‘all work and know play also makes Jacqueline a dull girl’.

How we think your office can promote gender equality and uphold the needs of women locally and globally.
-Empower more girls and women through the promotion of education and training for girls by supporting girls education projects, campaigns and programs.
- Support programmes and projects that aim at promoting and achieving gender balance in all sectors in the country.
-Support and sustain women initiatives and groups. Many women have initiated projects that seek to address and solve varying degree of social problems that affect the development of women including gender equality, girls and women education as well as empowerment from their own resources. They should be supported financially, morally and politically.
-Work with men to promote the understanding between the sexes and gender equality.
-Empower citizens of countries especially girls and women to hold governments accountable
-Elicit and include the voice of women at all levels on all issues because every issue affects the woman.
-Put money into women’s hands. When women have money they are able to better educate their children

We are confident that together we will work to improve the situation of girls and women in our community and communities and around the world

Sincerely,
On behalf of Girls and Women from difficult backgrounds
Gifty Pearl Alimo
(Ghana)
Founder -Greight Foundation
www.greightfoundation.blogspot.com

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As the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women officially begins its work this month, World Pulse is asking women worldwide: What is YOUR vision and recommendation for UN Women? We invite you to raise your voice by writing a letter to UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet outlining your recommendation for how this new UN agency can truly affect change on the ground to promote gender equality and uphold the rights and needs of women both on a local and global scale.
Learn more: http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/programs/international-violence-agai...

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Sydney Stead's picture

Dear Gifty, Thank you so much

Dear Gifty,

Thank you so much for writing this beautiful letter and for speaking out, not just for yourself, but for all the the girls and women in Ghana. Your opinions and helpful suggestions for Michele Bachelet are invaluable and very wise.

In the next week, we will compile your letters and share your voices with the GEAR Campaign, who have been working closely with UN Women to ensure the inclusion of civil society groups, and through the PulseWire community, grassroots women leaders, as they set their agenda. We will also be sending your letters directly to Michele Bachelet and other senior leaders of the newly formed UN agency, to demonstrate the effectiveness for sourcing opinion, knowledge and needs from the global grassroots women's movement through our online community. Through this, we hope to open a portal for our community to have a direct line of influence within the UN Women agency.

Best wishes,
Sydney

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