The Upper East Regional Director of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Abdulai Jaladeen, has said Ghana’s laws stipulate that wives can own half of any property single-handedly acquired by their husbands when there is a divorce.
He made this known at a one-day training workshop organised by the Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM) on “Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV)” in the Upper East regional capital, Bolgatanga.
The workshop had 40 female traditional, religious and community leaders and addressed issued concerning sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) under an initiative dubbed: ‘The ENOUGH Project’.
It forms part of an annual engagement aimed at empowering women, girls and boys to take up positive action against SGBV.
The project is being implemented by WOM in six communities in the region in collaboration with the Oxfam International Ghana and the Women in Law and Development in Africa, Ghana (WiLDAF-Ghana), with support from the European Union (EU).
The six communities include Balungu, Bongo-Beo and Vea in the Bongo District and Gundork, Kongo and Logre in the Nabdam District.
Mr Jaladeen, who is also a lawyer, explained that women being denied a share of their father’s property and their husbands’ as well, forms part of violence against women.
“Here in the Upper East Region, when they are sharing properties, they think that the woman belongs to the husband’s house. They don’t give you in your father’s house. When you go to your husband’s house, they also say you are a stranger in your husband’s house; so, they don’t give you.
“So, you have lost in your father’s house; you have also lost in your husband’s house.
“All those things are violence perpetrated against women and the law frowns upon that. When a man and a woman acquire property, the law says it belongs to the two of you. Once I have married you today, and tomorrow I buy a car, that car belongs to the two of us. If I build a house, that house belongs to the two of us. If you also build a house or buy a car, they belong to us,” he indicated.
He continued: “In the event that the two are separating as no longer husband and wife, those properties are going to be shared whether you contributed or not”.
“Once you were there and the man had sex with you, you washed the man’s things, you cleaned the man’s room, you prepared food for the man, you bathed the children— all these things, if the man were to be paying you, do you know how much he would pay you a month? That is what we call unpaid care work,” he noted.
“And once these things are there, the law recognises that when there is a problem in a marriage and the parties are dissolving the marriage, whether you contributed or not, but once you were husband and wife, they should share it (property) equally,” he stressed.