ABANTU for Development, a women’s rights advocacy organization has urged Ghanaians to consider voting massively for women candidate in the upcoming district level election to be held in November 2019.
Abantu is of the view that facilitating the election of more marginalized citizens, especially women into districts assemblies in the upcoming election 2019 will not only be fair and just but a mandatory national assignment as an extension of true democracy and equal citizenship.
In a statement issued at the end of a day’s engagement with the media in Accra on Tuesday, Abantu bemoaned that since the organization of the district assembly elections in Ghana, women have failed to attain 30 percent UN recommended minimum threshold in representation in the assemblies making gender- based exclusion in these structures, a major deficit in equality in participation.
The event was put together by Abantu for development with support from STAR-Ghana on the theme Women’s Inclusion as a Critical Link in Implementing Ghana’s Local Government Systems
Currently, only 282 women serve as elected members of district assemblies out of a membership of 6061 nationwide.
The statement said “the continuous historical low level of women’s representation in governance both at the local and at the international levels is a national indictment. It represents the failure to take their required decisive initiatives to address the multiple structural, functional and other factors that make it difficult for women to contribute their own experiences.”
It noted that women’s absence not only limits the diversity of the debates in policy – making in the district assemblies, but also restricts voices in community and development discussions in general.
It added that as a country, the issue of parity in women’s participation in policy making structures should be a core concern in strengthening democratic culture.
“Abantu considers the 2019 local government elections as another opportunity to deepen effort s to promote gender sensitivity in the electoral process and an invaluable possibility for the realisation of gender equality.
“Therefore we call on state, media and all stakeholders to give priority to initiatives and local actions aimed at supporting women’s increased representation in district assemblies.
Speaking to the media after the event, Madam Kinna Likimani, a Gender Activist who facilitated the occasion, noted that women had greater need for financing and urged all stakeholders, including men, to financially support women candidates and to vote for them.
Madam Likimani encouraged the media to give higher priority to women’s interests in local government elections and to magnify women’s needs and concerns in the public mind by asking relevant questions and reporting on issues that perpetuated inequalities and women’s exclusion.