A group of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), have challenged the various political parties, canvassing for votes ahead of the 2016 polls to show commitment to issues affecting women in politics, as part of the electioneering campaign.
The group led by Abantu for Development in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung(FES) made this call at a sensitization programme on the topic: ‘’The media’s Role in Increasing Women’s Participation in Elections 2016.’’
According to the group, the parties and the Government, must show their commitment to the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill as well as gender equality in politics ahead of the elections.
The bill, the group stressed if passed will give forty percent of representation to women in politics.
The group is not only challenging the political parties but the media to also increase attention on women in politics through discussions on their candidature.
Speaking at the session, Madam Sarah Akrofi-Quarcoo, a lecturer at the Department of Communications Studies, University of Ghana (UG) said national elections play an important role in the struggle for better governance and democracy.
According to her, this has been the platform for fierce contest for the position of leadership, power, access to resources, social justice, democratic participation and a more equitable gendered society.
‘’Elections have been the main gateway to ensuring the principles of political pluralism and therefore such events provoke serious questions about inclusiveness particularly, the representation and participation of women in governance,’’ she said.
She noted that since Ghana returned to multi-party party democracy in 1992, women’s networks and groups, have not relented in their advocacy efforts for gender parity in governance through national elections.
She revealed that, such struggles predates 1992 as records have shown that the recognition of the value of women’s political participation, in the post –colonial government of late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, where he appointed ten women to the National Assembly by Affirmative Action in 1960.
By the elections of 1965, the number of women increased from ten to nineteen but fell drastically in 1969 to one.
These changes in the political landscape was as a result of the intermittent coups between 1966 and 1981 which accounted for the decline in what appeared to be women’s lack of interest in politics she explained.
She was quick to add that the return to multi-party democracy reversed the trend and in 1992 where sixteen gained seats in the 200 capacity Parliament.
The number increased to 18 in 1996, then rose to 19 in 2000; 25 in 2004, declined to 19 in 2008, but increased to 30 in 2012.