How to increase women’s participation in politics and governance has been the concern of many political actors across the country.
Therefore, when the largest opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), went to the polls on Saturday to elect the first batch of its candidates for the 2020 parliamentary election, the hopes and expectations of many people, especially advocates of women’s empowerment and proponents of the affirmative action policy, were high, hoping for the best for women.
Sadly, of the 157 candidates elected, only 17, provisionally, were women, representing about 10.8 per cent. (See story on page 17.)
Although other parties are yet to conduct their parliamentary primaries, from the results of the NDC primaries, it appears our woman folk will continue to fight for political parties without gaining anything in return.
Just before the NDC went to the polls last Saturday, a senior lecturer at the Department of General Studies at the Methodist University College, Dr Bonsu Osei-Owusu, had called on the two major political parties — the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the NDC — to begin the affirmative action policy in some of the constituencies they considered their strongholds to give women who qualified the chance to contest parliamentary seats. (See story on page 17 of the Friday, 23rd August, 2019 edition of this paper.)
That, according to him, would open a new chapter on the country’s political landscape where more women would be voted for to enter Parliament to enable them to contribute their quota to national development.
Expressing similar sentiments on the topic in a press statement to mark the Africa Day of Decentralisation and Local Development recently, the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) had described the historical low levels of women’s representation in governance as a national disaster.
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According to NALAG, the situation also represented the failure of the state to take the required decisive initiatives to address the multiple structural, functional and other factors that made it difficult for women to effectively contribute to national development efforts.
We at the Daily Graphic share in these observations.
In our view, the under-representation of women at any level of governance and decision-making results in a democratic deficit.
It is imperative, therefore, that we create the needed enabling environment for gender equality and the empowerment of women. This can be done through a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach, with emphasis on education, employment, economic empowerment, health, as well as increased participation and representation in decision making at all levels.
Although women’s empowerment would not happen overnight, it is our contention that for that to prevail, there should be persistence, commitment and change in the way women think in order to realise the desired effect.
That is why the Daily Graphic would like to support any move aimed at empowering more women to participate in politics and governance.
As a start, we would like to share in the view that political parties must begin the affirmative action in their strongholds to get more women into national politics.
Indeed, the Daily Graphic contends that we need a deliberate effort to integrate gender perspectives in all national programmes, especially women-focused gender programmes.
We also need to develop innovative gender-balanced strategies that will enhance gender equality and women’s development across the country.
It is only when we collectively do this and move strongly towards empowering and encouraging many more women to enter politics that we will be able to inject more efficiency into our body politic.