A clarion call has been made on Ghanaian electorates to consider voting massively for women candidates who will be contesting the upcoming District Level Elections.
The advocate, Abantu for Development, a women’s right Policy and Advocacy Organization says it considers the upcoming local government elections as another opportunity to deepen efforts to promote gender sensitivity in the electoral process and an invaluable possibility for the realisation of gender equality.
The organization also holds the view that facilitating the election of more marginalized citizens, particularly women into districts assemblies in the December 17, election would not only be fair and just, but a mandatory national assignment as an extension of true democracy and equal citizenship.
At a press conference organized to push for increased women’s representation in the upcoming Local Government Elections in Accra recently, Abantu bemoaned that in spite of the fact that local government is meant to democratize governance for a more equitable allocation of resources in the development process, “ women have been unable to make inroads over the years.”
It noted that women find themselves on the fringes and are still confronted by limited options and formidable social, economic and cultural barriers that place them at a great disadvantage.
According to Abantu, since the inception of the decentralised system in Ghana, women have failed to attain the 30% UN recommended minimum threshold in representation in the district assemblies and now stands at less than 6%.Due to women’s inadequate representation and participation, they have been unable to contribute in defining policies and add value with their own experience.
It indicated that many countries in including several in Africa are acting decisively to ensure women’s equal participation and representation in decision making.
It observed that the highest number of elected women in the district assemblies was in 2006 when 478 women were elected out of a total membership of 4732. Following the 2015 local government elections, only 282 women got elected into district Assemblies out of a total of number of 6061 members nationwide
This scenario above, represents the failure to take required decisive initiative to address the multiple factors that make it difficult for women to contribute their own life experience and their voices.
“Therefore we would expect that within the upcoming electoral process, Ghana will focus on initiative that would facilitate inclusion of expanded diversity of experiences in ways that are democratic.
“Abantu calls on the media to use their various platform to give priority to actions aimed at supporting women’s increased representation in district assemblies. Gender equality is the surest path to sustainable development,” it stated.
The event brought together some women candidates from various electoral areas in the Greater Accra Region to share their experiences with the media regarding their challenges and how they are faring in their campaigns towards the district level elections.
The event was put together by Abantu for Development with support from STAR- Ghana. It was on the theme “Strengthening Women’s Capacities for Effectiveness in Ghana’s Local Governance System.
By: Mohammed Suleman