by Esther Tawiah, Executive Director for GenCED
There have been contemporary debates in the media which focuses on attaining equality and equity for all citizens especially women.
Governmental policies, civil society advocacies and academic literature today have been on issues related to women’s rights because of the low participation of women in politics.
The United Nations (UN) proposes a 30 percent benchmark for women’s participation in national governance but it is yet to see implementation in Ghana.
According to the 2010 Population and Housing Census conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), Ghanaian women constitute about 51.2 % of the national population but unfortunately the number of women represented in Parliament is very poor.
Currently out of the 275 seats in parliament, only 36 seats are occupied by women. These numbers are woefully inadequate and does not reflect inclusiveness which is a core tenet of democracy.
Equity in participation in the Ghanaian national political field is asymmetrical thereby limiting women’s involvement in the decision-making process. Addressing the gender gap in politics at the national level requires critical assessment of opportunities and limitations that underpin women’s participation.
Addressing women’s participation in national life is the preserve of Political parties. Political parties create an opportunity for all, including women, to participate at the frontline of politics.
Political parties come up with policies, organize people to rally behind their ideologies and also select candidates in to represent various political positions.
They also lead electoral campaigns and when elected, they implement the programs of government.
Despite these roles played by Political Parties, women are largely left behind during these processes simply because party programming and structures do not accommodate for gender mainstreaming. Without gender mainstreaming women will not get needed resources to effectively participate in politics and overall national development.
Political parties as the gate ways for democracy can do so much to ensure the inclusive participation of women besides slashing filing fees.
Political parties can establish gender quotas in order to ensure that a certain percentage of candidates to be elected as party leaders and candidates are women.
Leaders of political parties can draft laws and policies to address sexual violence against women in the political space. Political parties can also provide build the capacity of women in their political parties to provide them the needed knowledge to thrive in the political terrain.
As various political parties embark on their primaries elections for election 2020.
The Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED) is calling on all Political parties and delegates to help make it possible for equal election of men and women into politics since the inclusivity of all persons ensures a strong and vibrant democracy.
Ghana | Atinkaonline.com