Second Women’s Manifesto launched
Mr Fritz Kopsieker (2nd right), Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin (3rd right), dignitaries together with some participants, launching the 2nd Edition of the Women's Manifesto for Ghana. Picture: EDNA ADU-SERWAA

Second Women’s Manifesto launched

The Women’s Manifesto which was launched in September 2004 is a political document that sets out critical issues of concern to women in Ghana, and makes demands for addressing them.


The manifesto is a direct result of concerns about the insufficient attention given to critical issues affecting women and the under representation of women in politics at the policy and decision- making levels and in public life in general.

Given the challenges that women were confronted with, it is important to put in place mechanisms that will progressively draw attention to their needs and concerns and enable them to participate actively in public affairs.

Election 2016 and women 

It is against this background that the Women’s Manifesto Coalition (WMC), hosted by ABANTU for Development, with support from the Friedrich Ebert Stifung (FES), Ghana,  a German foundation for social democracy, has launched the second edition of the Women’s Manifesto for Ghana to serve as a guideline for the various political parties to draw their 2016 manifestos to address the needs of women.

Themed, “The Role of Political Parties in Increasing Women’s Participation in Election 2016” the 90-page manifesto contains a number of demands which represent the basis of women’s concerns.

These demands border on women’s low participation in governance, their poor access to resources critical for making a living, their predominance among people living in poverty and women’s health, particularly, the unacceptable high rates of maternal mortality.

The manifesto, therefore, provides a platform of a common set of demands for the achievement of gender equality and equity and sustainable national development.

Attention to manifesto 

Speaking at the launch in Accra, the Director of ABANTU for Development, Dr Rose Mensah-Kutin, reminded the various political parties that as they drew their own manifestos for Election 2016, they should direct their attention to the demands contained in the Women’s Manifesto for Ghana more earnestly.

She said there were compelling arguments that women were central to the new breed of politicians who offered Africa the opportunity for a deeply rooted, untainted democracy.

“Women tend to go about politics in a ‘bottom-up’ way. Inclusiveness in women’s political participation is, therefore, about negotiating power and changing power relations and this is a challenge political parties must confront”, she added.

Not inclusive nor democratic

In a presentation on the theme, the Research Mobilisation Manager of the Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA), Ghana, Madam Susan Aryeetey, described party structures which did not result in equal participation of men and women as neither inclusive nor democratic.

According to her, although the adaptation of gender quotas had become popular in recent decades, it was not the only strategy that political parties could use to increase women’s participation in the political process.

Party structures 

Madam Aryeetey said political parties must transform inflexible internal democratic structures to ensure that women were fully represented in all committees of the parties and not just the women’s wing of the parties.

She also urged the various civil society organisations, the media and women in political party structures to play a watch-dog role to ensure that political parties contributed to placing Ghana among the world’s top 20 countries, where women’s participation in politics had recorded between 40 and 50 per cent political participation.

Low participation not acceptable

The acting Director of the Department of Gender of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), Mrs Comfort Asare, in her address, said the current representation of women in Parliament, working up to about 11 per cent, as well as their under representation in other national and local decision- making structures was not acceptable and should be the concern of all stakeholders.

She also urged all men to add their voice to efforts to support women to attain public office because the population of women was more than men and as such “we need more women in Parliament to speak on issues that affect women because when men decide for us, it is not always what you want but when we decide for ourselves we will talk on the issues that affect us”.

The Resident Director of FES, Ghana, Mr Fritz Kopsieker, in his remarks observed that there was lack of sensitivity for women’s needs in a male-dominated society, and stressed the need to have enough women representation to address those needs and to effect the desirable change.

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