Politics of 2014-08-02

More women should contest forthcoming district elections - FOSDA

The Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA), on Thursday urged more women to contest the forthcoming district assemblies’ elections to enable them participate actively in policy formulation and decision-making processes.

Mrs Theodora Williams Anti, FOSDA Programme Officer said the participation of more women in politics and the decision-making process with their male counter parts would provide a balance that more accurately reflects the composition of society and is needed in order to strengthen democracy and promote its proper functioning.

She said although women constitute 51 per cent of Ghana’s population, currently they account for less than 10 per cent of people in public office and only eight per cent of Parliamentarians.

Mrs Anti made the appeal in Accra at a day’s sensitization workshop on Gender Equality Policy Guidelines for Media and Political Parties, during which a new policy document dubbed “Promoting Women’s Participation in Public Discourse: A Guide for Media and Political Parties” published by the West Africa Human Rights and Democratization (WAHRD) Alliance was discussed.

The workshop was attended by journalists, civil society organizations (CSOs), and representatives of the Convention People’s Party, the People’s National Convention, the Progressive People’s Party and the National Democratic Congress.

The Programme Officer called for 30 per cent increase of women participation in media discussions on politics and national issues.

She commended the WAHRD Alliance partners - FOSDA, the Media Foundation for West Africa and the West Africa Network for Peace building for their laudable initiative in coming out with the policy document.

According to the policy document, women’s equal representation in politics, governance and public life is a perquisite for democracy, good governance and development.

It is based on the assumption that women have been excluded as a result of history, socio-economic, ideological, psychological and institutional factors, and the inability of public policy to redress these obstacles.

It said Ghana’s national and international obligations are aligned with the United Nations mandated figure of a minimum of 30 per cent women in public office, a target already endorsed by political parties.

The document observed that even though several interventions to address women’s low representation in public life have been embarked upon with varying degrees of success, the media has not hitherto been engaged as a strategic intervention tool to promote gender parity at all levels.

It urged the media and political parties to forge a strategic partnership to ensure greater representation of women within their establishments to provide the platform for visibility and a pool of available women to offer themselves for public office in order to achieve the stated targets.

The document also called for the utilization of local languages to increase women participation in politics and public discourse, especially at the district assemblies’ level elections.

It said women should be encouraged to take up ranking positions in their political parties to improve their communications skills and be motivated to take part in all political programmes.

It recommended that government should ensure gender balance in the appointment of women and men to all advisory boards, management, regulatory or monitoring bodies.

The policy document urged civil society organizations to establish media watch groups that could monitor the media and consult with them to ensure that women’s needs and concerns are properly reflected.

Ms Afi Yakubu, FOSDA Executive Director lauded the media for their enormous support in promoting gender issues, declaring that “no civil society organization can survive without the active support of the media.

FOSDA is a non-governmental organization with a mission to promote peace and human security through capacity building, research, documentation and advocacy.

Source: GNA
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