The Speaker of Parliament of Uganda, Dr Rebecca A. Kadaga, has urged the government of Ghana to introduce policies to increase the participation of women in Parliament and other decision making positions.
Delivering a lecture in Accra last Thursday, Dr Kadaga said the 37 female Members of Parliament (MPs) out 275 MPs in Ghana's Parliament was far below the average, as compared to most African countries, including Rwanda and Uganda.
She was speaking on the topic: "Enhancing women’s political representation and participation in the search for good governance and development in Africa — Affirmative action and beyond" at a symposium to mark 25 Years of Parliamentary Democracy in Ghana — Challenges and prospects.
Dr Kadaga said as Ghana prepared to go for election in 2020, it was crucial for the country to make serious changes to allow more women to participate and win the elections.
That, she said, would ensure a more equitable society, given the fact that women constituted more than 50 per cent of the country's population.
"Look at all options to enable us do justice to women not only in Parliament but in other areas. 51.2 per cent women. They have a role to play. Get women in the decision making process", she urged.
Dr Kadaga observed that in Ghana's Constitution, the pronoun 'he' had been used prominently to refer to candidates for parliamentary elections and other areas.
That, she said, was a discrimination against women, and therefore, called for the amendment of that pronoun to reflect gender balance.
In his remarks, the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, said he supported the popular saying of Dr Kwegyir Aggrey to the effect that if you educate a woman, you educate a nation but if you educate a man you educate an individual.
He, therefore, stressed the need for women to be given the opportunity to unearth their potential.
"Women constitute more than 50 per cent, we want them to be equally represented. We want you to ensure that the equity anticipated in the 1992 Constitution is respected", he said.
Prof. Oquaye suggested that special seats could be created for only women to compete for in parliamentary elections.
In her presentation, a member of the East African Legislative Assembly, Ms Oda Gasinzigwa, said Rwanda had made strides in increasing women representation in Parliament, local government and other areas.