Let’s encourage more women into politics

After 30 years of stable democratic dispensation, it is disheartening to witness the dwindling number of women participating in Ghanaian politics, both at the local and national levels, with each passing election cycle. 

Despite the 1992 Constitution guaranteeing women political rights, the reasons for their low participation are attributed to the lack of financial resources to campaign, discrimination and exclusion, unsupportive families, stereotyping, and the lack of support from political parties. 

Ghanaian women are underrepresented in political decision-making processes, with only a few capable of establishing themselves in the political space.

Dr Miriam Rahinatu Iddrisu, a Social Development and Gender Specialist/ Consultant, expressed similar concerns in a recent interview with the Daily Graphic.

She cited statistics that indicated a decline in women's participation in politics, which did not align with Ghana's credentials as a mature and stable democratic country with a well-functioning multi-party system and a strong broadcast media. 

In the eighth Parliament, Ghana has only 40 women, 20 on the side of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and 20 on the side of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), which represents only 13.8 per cent of the total number of parliamentarians.

Even more alarming is the statistics on the number of female ministerial appointees into government over the years.

For example, in 2000, when the number of state ministers were 32, only four were females and the males were 28, while in 2020, out of the 30 ministers appointed, only six were females and the rest males.

The Daily Graphic believes that it is high time we rallied behind our women to take part in active politics to achieve gender parity in our democratic journey.

We must encourage and support women who offer themselves for elective positions in the upcoming district and local level elections.

Political parties must also support women to contest in their strongholds to guarantee more women representation in the next Parliament.

Furthermore, we must pass the Affirmative Action Bill to facilitate the 40 per cent representation of women in decision-making.

We can look to other African countries such as Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa, that have successfully actualised affirmative action to increase women's representation in Parliament.

We are of the conviction that encouraging more of such illustrious women to participate in politics would ensure that women's voices and perspectives are represented in decision-making processes.

 This would lead to more inclusive policies and better reflect the needs and concerns of all members of society.

Also, having more women in politics would provide positive role models for young girls and women, inspiring them to pursue leadership roles and careers in public service.

That would also bring diversity of thought as women bring unique experiences and perspectives to the table, which can lead to more innovative and effective solutions to societal problems.

We must constantly be reminded that women in Ghana face unique challenges and issues such as gender-based violence, maternal mortality and limited access to health care.

Having more women in politics would lead to policies that better reflect and address these issues, improving the lives of women and girls across the country.

The fight for more women representation in our politics will not come easy.

Still, it is the responsibility of all women civil society organisations and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to mobilise resources to support women who would offer themselves for elections at the local, district and national levels. 

Let us all come together to support our women to fill a lot of political spaces to help shape our politics.

 We must move beyond mere wishes and hopes, and be very deliberate in taking real steps that will open more doors for women to participate in politics and secure leadership roles in the legislature and the executive arms of government.

We need more of them in frontline politics; after all they are more than half of the Ghanaian population.

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