The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has called for the second look at the manner the electioneering process in Ghana are handled in order to enable and encouraged more women to contest for elections to represent their constituents in parliament.
Factors such as the discrimination against women, the perception that politics is the domain of men, which leads to the vilification of women who want to venture into politics and the general unenthusiastic support for affirmative action programmes undermines the female population and relegate them to subservient positions in public life.
Hon Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was of the view that many Ghanaian women shy away from contesting for political office due to the masculine nature for contesting an election in Ghana, coupled with the huge amounts of money spent on contesting for an elections.
According to him, women in general are averse to risk and therefore abhor the thought of spending too much money on an enterprise that could go both ways.
Addressing the women caucus of parliament at a programme organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MoPA), under the theme, “Stress Management and Social Media Utilization For Effective Parliamentary Work”, the Hon Minister noted that the need for Ghana to encourage and entrench women participation in politics and parliament is critical.
He disclosed that in 1957 ten (10) women were selected by the National Assembly to fill ten seats, and none one of them were elected. This progressive move was however not maintained by subsequent Parliaments.
The Minister for MoPA, who is also the Majority Leader of Parliament and Leader of Government business, observed that although Ghana is not near the 30percent women in parliament target as imposed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the country has made some progress. But quickly acknowledged the need to encourage and entrenched women participation in parliament.
He used the occasion to call on the women caucus to lead the charge to get the Interstate Succession Law, The Spousal Right Bill, and the Affirmative Action Bill passed into law. He expressed his disappointment at the women caucus of parliament for not showing any interest during the passage of the Children’s Act.
In his welcome address, the Acting Chief Director of MoPA, Dr Evans Aggrey-Darko, reiterated that Ghana is struggling with strategies that would enhance the representation of women in public life.
According to him, the creation of a new ministry devoted to gender issues and its elevation to cabinet status, reduction of filling fees by the political parties for women who want to contest positions in the various capacities, the creation of the women organizer’s position at the various levels within the political parties’ hierarchy, among others, have proven insufficient in addressing the fundamental challenge of low female representations in public life including parliament.
“Since 1992, the representation of women in parliament has always been below 14percent even though our census data have consistently shown that women constitute more than 50percent of Ghana’s population. This low representation of women still remains one of the democratic deficits of our country,” he lamented.
Two resource persons from the University of Ghana, Legon, took participants through how to manage with stress, and also how to effectively use social media to make their work effective.