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Dean of the School of Information and Communications Studies at the University of Ghana, Professor Audrey Gadzekpo has lamented the rather intolerant political landscape of Ghana which holds women back from actively participating in political activities.
According to her, Ghanaian politics has been infiltrated with high levels of abuse, both physical and verbal to an extent that most women would rather lay back instead of sharing the forefront with men.
Highlighting such instances of abuse against women in politics, she recounted a specific incident in the parliamentary chamber in February 2019, where the minority in parliament unhesitantly tagged Lydia Alhassan as a ‘bloody widow’ for replacing her late husband in the legislative house.
The minority further boycotted her swearing in to register their displeasure following the violence that ensued in the bye-election that got Mrs Alhassan in power.
She noted, however, that, such cases of abuse remain why Ghana continues to perform abysmally in the course empower more women to take political leadership roles.
Prof Gadzekpo remarked, “For me it boils down to the kind of political environment that is created for elective politics…When it comes to elective politics something happens, and I think it’s the nature of our politics. The acrimonious, toxic nature of politics and also the patronage system that characterizes politics here and that’s why we don’t get women either contesting or when they do contest they don’t go far…”
She affirmed her interactions with some women in politics have given her much insight into how women in politics are perceived by some Ghanaians and even treated by their families.
“I know that because I’ve talked to a few women politicians and when you’re socialized in a patriarchal society like Ghana, ‘nice women don’t get embroiled in certain things’ and therefore if you’re a woman in politics, and you’re out there and we have uncivil discourses where people are tearing at each other and you go toe to toe then you’re not a very nice women and then you get called names…,” Prof Gadzekpo added.
Prof Audrey Gadzekpo was speaking at a CDD forum in Accra, March 4, 2020, under the theme; Feminism in Ghana: Are there new approaches in the push for Gender Equality?
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