Low female representation in Parliament worrying — Hanna Tetteh

BY: Salomey Appiah

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hanna Tetteh, has expressed concern over the under-representation of females in Parliament, saying it invariably affects the quality of legislation passed by Parliament.

She said the fact that the men outnumbered the women in Parliament affected the decision-making process, a situation which affected the quality of legislation passed, especially bills concerning women.

Ms Tetteh expressed the concern at a training workshop organised by ABANTU for Development, a gender-based non-governmental organisation, and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, an international agency, for women parliamentary aspirants at Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region.

“Men are not interested”

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The workshop was to strengthen the women’s capacity to enhance their knowledge to be more effective in the 2016 general election and beyond.

The minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for Awutu-Senya West in the Central Region, said the delay in the passage of female-related bills in Parliament was a clear indication that male parliamentarians were not interested in issues concerning women.

She cited the Property Rights of Spouses Bill which was to regulate how properties of spouses would be shared in the event of a break up of marriage which had been in Parliament for a while.

“We have had the Property Rights of Spouses Bill that has been in Parliament for a while now. There is no appetite for our male counterparts to push it forth,” she said.

She added that the Affirmative Action Bill which had been approved by the Cabinet was likely to face the same fate as the Property Rights of Spouses Bill when it got to Parliament. 

“Plan well”

She said the about 11 per cent women constituting the law-making body was not enough for women’s voices to be heard, hence the need to push more women into the parliamentary race.

Ms Tetteh highlighted the need for female parliamentarians to distinguish between political interest and fighting for the cause of women to improve the status of women in Ghana.

Giving some tips on how to raise funds for a campaign, she advised female MP aspirants to plan well, draw budgets and get funding for them through appeals to people they knew would support them.

Some of the female MP aspirants at the workshop shared the same concerns expressed by Ms Tetteh and called on the public to support women aspirants.

Other aspirants speak

The aspiring MP for Okaikoi South, Ms Harriet Anita Abaidoo, for her part, said although there were not many women MPs, the 30 female MPs in Parliament could still make the move, saying: “30 is a force to reckon with for now.”

An aspiring MP for Ablekuma West, Madam Diana Twum, for her part, said it was time females were fully represented in Parliament to take on issues concerning the welfare of women.

Earlier, in her welcome address, the Programmes Officer of ABANTU for Development, Ms Grace Ampomaa Afrifa, urged the female aspiring MPs to put away their party affiliations and collectively lift the banner of the women’s agenda.