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Work courageously to attain vision in politics - Minister tells women

BY: Salome Donkor & Rebecca Quaicoe Duho
Mrs Cynthia Morrison, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection
Mrs Cynthia Morrison, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mrs Cynthia Morrison, has advised women who intend to enter into politics to be firm and work courageously to attain their vision.

She said calling of names such as such as ‘Iron Lady’, ‘Mami Gyata’ and ‘witch’ among others, should not deter women who had the ambition to enter into politics, pointing out that politics was a tough area and women who nurtured the ambition to be politicians should adequately prepare themselves and pursue their goals with high sense of principles.

The minister, who is also the NPP Member of Parliament for Agona West in the Central Region, gave the advice in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra during which she outlined her mission and vision for the ministry.   
 
The 1992 Constitution guarantees equal participation of men and women in decision-making, but there is the low representation of women in Parliament and at the various levels of decision-making.  

In 2008, men constituted 211 out of the 230 parliamentarians, representing 90.7 per cent, while that of women was 19 representing 8.3 per cent. In 2012, out of 275 parliamentarians, 247 were men and the women were 28, a percentage of 89.8 and 10.2 per cent respectively.

There was a little marginal increase in 2016 under the Fifth Parliament with women making up 25 MPs out of the 275 parliamentarians, representing 12.75 per cent.

This clearly shows a male dominance in the country’s political governance though the country’s population is 51 per cent women and 49 per cent men.

Affirmative action

Speaking at an Alumni Lecture by the University of Ghana as part of its 70th anniversary celebration, in Accra recently, the Speaker of the Parliament of Ghana, Right Reverend Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, pushed for measures to increase women’s participation in politics, saying an affirmative action could be one of the ways to increase women participation in politics for the country to catch up with the agenda of all-inclusive government.

Touching on the same topic at a symposium to mark 25 Years of Parliamentary Democracy in Ghana — Challenges and prospects, the Speaker of Parliament of Uganda, Dr Rebecca A. Kadaga, urged the government of Ghana to introduce policies to increase the participation of women in Parliament and other decision-making positions.

Barriers

The minister mentioned some barriers that deterred women from active participation in governance as  lack of resources for campaigns, lack of confidence to take up leadership positions and women’s domestic responsibilities which also compounded the situation.

She said to increase women’s participation in governance and in other levels of decision-making, there was the need for increase in advocacy and women’s empowerment programmes, the creation of an enabling environment for gender equality, dealing with socio-cultural barriers and strengthening the capacity of women and girls to increase their access to education and employment.

She said there was the need to mentor both men and women, particularly the young ones and those in schools to enter into politics and take up decision-making positions, adding that the ministry would continue to meet with donor partners to discuss the issue of sponsoring women to enter politics.

According to the minister, the time had come to mentor boys and girls to know that the upkeep of the home was for both men and women in order to consciously prepare both men and women to be part of the maintenance of the home so that when they grew up, naturally they would help in taking care of the home.