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•Lydia Seyram Alhassan — First Deputy Majority Chief Whip
•Lydia Seyram Alhassan — First Deputy Majority Chief Whip

Monetisation of politics crowds out women–Lydia Alhassan

THE First Deputy Majority Chief Whip of Parliament, Lydia Seyram Alhassan, has said the increasing monetisation of Ghana’s democracy continues to crowd out women from the political space.

She said many women simply lacked the financial muscles required to meet the capital-intensive demands of today’s politics.

She, therefore, called for a deliberate action plan by state actors to improve the lot of women in the country to increase their participation in multiparty democracy in an attempt to meet the 30 per cent threshold in Parliament.

She said the action plan should also focus on making women more conspicuous in public spaces and build their confidence with "a can-do spirit" to enable them to venture into politics.

Ms Alhassan, who is also the New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wugon, made the statement on the floor of the House to commemorate this year's International Women’s Day celebration that falls on March 8 every year.

This year’s celebration is on the theme: DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.

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Ms Alhassan told the House that it was a fact that sexist and patronage-based political culture, as well as gendered economic and household inequalities continued to militate against the participation of women in the process of governance in Ghana.

She posited that the varied forms of abuse of women politicians lend credence to the pervasive sexist political culture in Ghana. 

Steps ahead

Ms Alhassan said since the Beijing conference in 1995, nations across the world have taken practical steps to promote women’s rights across a wide range of domains.

"Today, women can work to earn a living.

Today women can vote to determine the system of government desired by the peoples of a state.

Today, the antiquated idea that the place of a woman is in the kitchen has been discarded," she added.

While calling for more to be done, she also applauded Ghana for working hard to promote girl-child education, reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy and improve maternal healthcare delivery to reduce maternal mortality.  

Ms Alhassan said the Free Senior High School programme for instance has effectively removed barriers to female education just as the free maternal healthcare policy introduced in 2008 by former president John Agyekum Kufuor to significantly improved maternal healthcare delivery in Ghana.

The MP said despite the progress made, numerous challenges, particularly regarding the participation of women in the processes of governance, remain and therefore there was the need for deliberate actions to be taken by all political actors to address them.

Gaps

"In highlighting gender gaps in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education, Hon, Members, you will all agree with me that, we in Ghana are fortunate to have one of our own, Hon. Ursula Owusu- Ekuful , a minister and  gender activist who is championing the ‘Girls-in- ICT (GIICT)’ Initiative.

This year, the GIICT programme will cover five regions, and train 500 ICT teachers and 5,000 Girls.

At the secondary and tertiary levels, 100,000 high school girls, 100 tertiary students, 100 teachers and parents will also benefit from the training. 

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