A number of gender activists and women rights advocates have described the selection of Ms Eva Lokko as the running mate of the flag bearer of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) as a positive step towards changing the face of politics in Ghana.
Speaking in separate interviews with the Daily Graphic on their reactions to the selection of Ms Lokko to partner the party’s flag bearer, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, in the upcoming general election, they commended the party for its initiative and said the action was a positive step towards the attainment of increased women’s representation in politics and at other levels of decision-making.
They said the selection of Ms Lokko who has a lot of experience and professional competence, “adds a lot of value to our campaign and advocacy for increased women’s representation in politics, and it also demonstrates that there are a lot of competent women in the country to hold key positions”
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The President of the Women Assistance and Business Association (WABA), Madam Gloria Ofori Boadu, said Miss Lokko was not just a women but a competent and qualified person who could work to fulfil the confidence reposed in her.
She said the whole world was moving towards gender equality, and that social change was such that no country could hold it back because of the realisation of the economic importance of giving equal opportunities to both men and women to be part of the development process.
Madam Ofori Buadu, a lawyer, said women constituted more than half of the population of most countries in the world, adding that “we in Ghana cannot remain primitive, but be part of the dynamic process by involving them in national development ”.
Madam Boadu who contested the parliamentary primaries in the Abuakwa South Constituency on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party, but lost her bid to become the party’s parliamentary candidate in the 2008 elections,called on political parties to develop their structures to promote the increased participation of women in politics.
She said women who declared their intension to enter politics should be supported and not castigated.
The Executive Director of the Human Rights Advocacy Centre, Nana Oye Lithur, said the selection of Miss Lokko as the first woman running mate of a registered political party for the 2012 elections puts women in the spotlight, and she stood tall among the running mates of the other political parties.
She said a look at her curriculum vitae showed she was a very competent and capable person with the requisite experience and qualification.
Nana Oye congratulated Dr Nduom and the PPP for selecting Ms Lokko, and said their action conformed with the recommendations of the Constitution Review Commission to get more women in politics and decision making and also fitted well into the commitment of the PPP to involve women in key positions of the party, and to field females for 40 per cent of PPP’s parliamentary aspirants.
She said ”we are looking up to Ms Lokko to champion the cause of women and demonstrate that women at high levels of decision-making can make a meaningful impact.
Nana Oye said it was quite impressive that a number of young women had contested the parliamentary primaries and won on the ticket of the various political parties, adding that they all added to an interesting political phenomenon in this year’s elections.
The Executive Director of the Ark Foundation, Mrs Angela Dwamena Aboagye, said although it was exciting that the PPP had selected a woman as the running mate, that was not enough in terms of addressing the critical issues of concern of women in Ghana raised in the Women’s Manifesto, which was compiled by the Coalition on the Women’s Manifesto for Ghana in 2004.
She said an aspect of the country’s culture and the national life led to discrimination against women and relegated them to the background.
She said all the political parties needed to take critical look at issues of concern to women raised in the manifesto in relation to the 10 themes, namely, women’s economic empowerment, women and land, women, social policy and social development, women in politics, decision-making and public life and women, human rights and the law, discriminatory cultural practices, women and media, women, conflict and peace, women with special needs and institutions with a mandate to promote women’s rights.
She said there were many competent and qualified women in the country, and that conscious efforts should be made through affirmative action and capacity building programmes to encourage them to go the extra mile to come forward to actively participate in the country’s development process.
Written By: Becky, Josephine, Eric & Elizabeth