House Advocates for Women’s Participation in Political Decision-Making and Gender Equality

09-12-2019



Members of Parliament (MPs) have expressed their concern about the regrettably low participation of women at all levels of decision-making in Ghana despite the fact that they constitute more than half of the country’s population.



The Members attributed this unfortunate situation to the patriarchy or male dominance of Ghanaian cultural norms, a key aspect of the Ghanaian social system that recognises the woman’s role and status inferior to those of the man in almost all aspects of social, political and economic life. 



They indicated that custom, law and even religion have been used to rationalize and perpetuate these differential roles to the extent that women themselves seem to have accepted and internalized them. 



The lawmakers added that the unequal playing field created by political parties disadvantage women because they do not have the required resources for political campaigns and electoral processes coupled with an uninformed public about women’s human rights and contribution to development.



The MPs in unison agreed that without women participation in the public discourse or decision-making process, it would be difficult for Ghana to achieve sustainable development.



The Members of the august House made these observations when contributing to a statement made by Hon Catherine Apeku MP for Ajomoro Gyiwa on the low representation of women in the upcoming District Level Elections. 



Hon Apeku in her statement disclosed that the number of women aspirants who had filed to contest the upcoming District Level Elections out of a nationwide total of 57,030 was a discouragingly low figure of 4,660 representing a mere 8.17% of total aspirants.



She lamented this is notwithstanding the fact that women comprise the majority of the population and play a crucial role in society as co-creators of good governance and decision-making at the family and society as a whole.



She stressed that the legal frameworks of the country give equal opportunities for both men and women to register to vote, to exercise their franchise, and to stand to be elected   as presidential candidates, members of Parliament or Assembly representatives in both local and national government structures.



Hon Catherine Apeku noted that though a few women have made great strides in the political sphere the numbers are very insignificant and the low participation of women in decision-making process adversely affects their progress in improving the legal and regulatory framework for promoting gender equity because very few of them are influencing the legislative process at the district level.



The former Tourism and Creative Arts Minister elucidated further that in spite of efforts by Governments both in the past and present as well as civil society organizations, women’s participation in political leadership in Ghana is still very low compared to other African countries and women are still very much at the periphery of political, economic and social decisions and rely most often on decisions made by others regarding their lives.  



She proposed that the House opens discussions on the possibility of allotting a significant quota for the nomination of women at the district level and further suggested that the 30% allotment for government appointees should be amended to 50% for more women representation, a provision which she said must be entrenched to protect the interest of women as well as shore up their participation at the district level to enrich democracy.



MP for Afram Plains North Betty Krosbi Mensah, in her contribution stated that cultural practices and discrimination against women discourage them from actively engaging in politics though they play critical roles as role models in education, trade, industry, in the judiciary and other public spheres of live.



Alexander Apenyo-MarkinApenyo, MP for Effutu argued that partisan politics at the district assemblies level can be an avenue for women participation in politics especially at the grassroots level and urged the government to resource women and encourage them to participate in decision making. 



MP for Atwima Kwawoma Dr. Kojo Appiah-Kubi lamented that there are a lot of educated women yet rather unfortunately very few are in decision making due to factors such as resource restrains, customary and traditional norms that militate against women participation in politics and decision-making. 



He noted this can be attributed to factors such as leadership roles which are still seen as being more masculine, indicating societies should be led by men, thereby relegating women into the background of political decision making in Ghana. 



He added that name calling, religious, cultural and religious beliefs, discrimination and the assumption that the world today is a man’s world today’s mitigate against women participation and called for the passage of  Affirmative Action Bill.



Richard Mawuli Quashigah, MP for Keta regretted the unfair treatment for women with a population of 51% of population having such low representation in decision-making and called for the removal of primitive practices and the erroneous impression that the woman’s place is the kitchen.



He stated that a lot of women are in the legal field but relatively very few are in leadership positions at various levels due to stigmatisation and cultural norms that impede women participation.



Hon. Rockson-Nelson Etse Kwami Dafeamekpor, MP for South Dayi passionately advocated for proportional representation as in Uganda and urged the government to refrain from lip service promises but provide a deliberative legislative process for equal representation of the various identifiable, marginalised and disadvantaged groups at all levels of decision-making.    



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