Gender Specialist advocates quota system for women in politics
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) has been called upon to collaborate with the two main political parties in the country to ensure that they come out with a gender strategy that would provide quota systems for women, especially in areas they consider to be their strongholds.
This is to ensure more women participate in decision-making process of the country, especially in the district and local level elections.
A Social Development and Gender Specialist/Consultant, Dr Miriam Rahinatu Iddrisu, who made the call, asked for the MOGCSP and Civil Society Organisations into women’s empowerment to be adequately resourced to enable them to work with the two main political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on their gender strategy to help push the agenda of female representation in the country forward.
Describing Ghana’s low female representation in decision-making, especially, at the local and district level elections as worrying, Dr Iddrisu, who was speaking in an interview, said if the two dominant political parties had quotas for females, it would increase the female representation in their parties and the country at large.
This, she explained, would go a long way to also improve participation and bring inclusiveness in the whole party politics and promote gender equality.
“We can work with institutions such as Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF), ABANTU for Development and the MOGCSP to collaborate with these two dominant political parties and support them to engender their manifestos so that it trickles down to the grassroots where women are also prominent, women’s voices are heard and women are visible at all levels.
That way, the younger generation will aspire to know that leadership is not a man thing but unisex and that whoever has what it takes can assume that leadership role,” she said.
Traditional, religious and opinion leaders should be encouraged to spearhead crusades to promote the cause of women representations in politics in their respective communities.
These stakeholders must organise campaigns to educate the local people about the importance of women in both national and local politics,” she said.
The National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana (NALAG) has said over the past years, women’s participation at the local and district levels had decreased with women’s participation standing at 3.8 per cent and that was a decrease from 10.1 per cent recorded in 2006.
Statistics from Abantu indicate that out of the 261 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), only 39 are females and out of the 261 presiding members in the country, only 10 are females.
The United Nations (UN) recommends a 30 per cent minimum threshold and representation of women in the decision-making process.
Dr Iddrisu said the two dominant political parties had been able to infiltrate into the country’s local assemblies as a result, when one was not aligned to any of them, it was hard for them to get the needed finances or resources to be able to campaign and that, she pointed out, was where a lot of institutions could build the capacities of women and resource them to be able to play their roles at the grassroot level.
She said promoting women’s participation at the local and district level elections could maximise social and economic development and help reduce poverty.
“Women’s full and equal participation in political and electoral processes is considered a plus in women empowerment efforts.
Having both men and women involved in decision-making broadens the perspectives, increases creativity and innovation, diversifies the pool of talents and competences, reduce conflicts and improves the process of decision-making.
“So when grassroot structures overlook women and other vulnerable groups, they are deprived of the unique experiences and skills that women, men and vulnerable groups can bring to development and sustainability,” she said.
She pointed out that gender was about advocacy, sensitisation and change of mindset and, therefore, called for support in the change of mindset of women to enable them to offer themselves for top political positions.