A call has been made on Ghanaian voters to consider voting massively for women candidates who will be contesting the District Level Elections in 2023.
Even though processes for the said election have not begun, ABANTU for Development, a leading women’s rights policy, and advocacy organization has started rallying to ensure that more women partake in the district level to ensure some parity.
The Organization said 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.
Ghana’s Local Governance was created to provide centres of self-governance, inclusive local participation, equal decision-making, planning, and development. However, women’s presence remains low. Currently, the representation of women in Ghana’s Local Governance system stands below 5%. Women constitute the majority of Ghana’s population and offer knowledge, expertise, and skills in the social, political, and economic development of the country.
At a press conference organized in Accra by Abantu for development with support from the African Women Development Fund, the organisation argued that 34 years after the establishment of the decentralised system, women continue to grapple with inequality in representation and are perennially excluded in making up the numbers in district assemblies that can make their Participation effective.
Abantu in a press release issued at the Confab stated that the 2019 district level election recorded only 226 women winners out of more than 6,270 electoral areas country-wide.
“In this environment of exclusion and severe underrepresentation of women, the nation is losing out on diverse leadership and the attainment of economic and social justice.”
The organization also holds the view that facilitating the election of more marginalized citizens, particularly women into district assemblies would not only be fair and just but a mandatory national assignment as an extension of true democracy and equal citizenship.
“As a nation, our elections should be conducted and undertaken by both the state and the electorate within the overall commitment to gender equality of women and men towards the goal of genuine inclusiveness equal citizenship, and societal benefits.”
Addressing the participants at the conference, on the topic, Electing More Women In Local Level Elections 2023 Is A Sound Investment Mrs. Magdalen Kannae, a practitioner in gender, local governance, social development, and peacebuilding said there is a call for an urgent need for all stakeholders to mobilise women across the country to increase their participation and representation in the upcoming 2023 District Level Elections.
Mrs Kanne stressed that women have the capacity and zeal to make productive decisions to develop the country when included on the decision desk.
She added, “Women Facilitate genuine democratic participation that empowers grassroots and channels their inputs constructively into national development efforts; Promotes rapid social and economic development; Promotes effective mechanisms to ensure public accountability.”
She also called for the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill into law to ensure gender equality She mentioned that development happens in communities and it is in communities that women and men can discover their voices, assert their rights and mobilize action to achieve their developmental aspirations; hence the government must pass legislation aimed at reserving special quotas for women and also should provide special funds for NGO’s to support women candidates.
Hamida Harrison, Convenor of Women Manifesto Coalition, who facilitated the programme said ABANTU for Development will support five local districts come the next year 2023 to ensure women are elected to part take in discussions of developmental agenda at the local level.
“We are concentrating on women because we feel women are the most marginalized; we deny women seats in places where decisions are taken and there is the need to promote women in public life.”She added.
She believes that investing in women is an investment for the nation
The media pledged its support to push the agenda forward but stressed the need for women aspirants to make themselves accessible for media interactions whenever they are called upon.
By: Mohammed Suleman/Publicagendagh.com