Human Rights of Women: National and International Perspectives

By Rebecca J. Cook | Go to book overview

Chapter 18
The Impact of Structural Adjustment Programs on Women's International Human Rights: The Example of Ghana

Akua Kuenyehia


Introduction

This paper is not an economic analysis of Economic Recovery Programs, neither does it seek to put forward any economic ideas. It is simply an attempt to put in the context of human rights the privations suffered by a section of one society as a result of programs fashioned by international financial institutions for the solution of the economic problems that have beset our nation for many years. The paper looks at the nature of these programs in the special context of Ghana and advocates that, important as it is that the economy be put on a sound basis, it is also necessary that the social cost of these programs be considered carefully and that every attempt be made to alleviate them so that the people most affected adversely would have a chance to enjoy their human rights.

The discourse on rights, and specifically human rights, has assumed immense significance and has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years. The question, however, is how women's rights and their international human rights feature in all these discussions. Even though women have enjoyed civil and political rights for some time, it has been contended that international human rights law has as yet not been applied to redress the disadvantages that are suffered by women for various and complex reasons. For women in Africa, there is the added complication of the effect on them of structural adjustment programs that have been going on for a decade or more. The severity of the socioeconomic conditions in African countries undergoing structural adjustment is such that it is questionable whether the whole discourse

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