The First Deputy Majority Chief Whip of Parliament, Lydia Seyram Alhassan
The First Deputy Majority Chief Whip of Parliament, Lydia Seyram Alhassan

MP calls for action plan to bridge inequality gap among women

The First Deputy Majority Chief Whip of Parliament, Lydia Seyram Alhassan, is calling for a deliberate action plan by state actors that will ultimately improve the lot of women in Ghana.

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She said the action plan should focus on making women more conspicuous in public spaces, build their confidence with "a can do spirit" to increase their participation in multi-party democracy in an attempt to meet the 30 percent threshold in parliament.

The First Deputy Majority Chief Whip, who is also the 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 on March 8, 2023.

It was under the theme: "DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality."

"But I do so at the risk of sounding trite and banal given that it has become an annual ritual for such solidarity statements to be made without necessarily following through with an action plan.

"That notwithstanding, it is appropriate to utilise this occasion to reflect on how far we have come as a nation and the world in general, in championing the agenda of women," she said.

She 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.

Steps ahead

"Today, women can work to earn a living. Today women can vote to determine the system of government desired by the people 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, reducing the incidence of teenage pregnancy and improving maternal healthcare delivery to reduce maternal mortality.

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

Gaps

"In highlighting gender gaps in STEM 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. 

The MP said despite the progress made, numerous challenges, particularly, regarding the participation of women in the processes of governance remain. 

Challenges

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

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

Madam Alhassan said gendered economic and household inequalities, in the face of the increasing monetisation of ghana's democracy, continued to crowd out women from the political space given that many women simply lack the financial muscles required to meet the capital-intensive demands of today’s politics.

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