Media must give prominence to women in politics - Lecturer
Ms Sarah Akrofi-Quarcoo, Lecturer, Department of Communication Studies, University of Ghana, has appealed to the media to devote more air-time and space to support women’s campaign efforts in this year’s election.
She noted that though women had demonstrated capacity and commitment in contributing effectively to national processes, they are yet to see sufficient actions on gender equality hence the need for the media to throw more light on their activities.
Ms Akrofi-Quarcoo was speaking at a press conference in Accra organised by Abantu for Development and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung to promote social contract and mechanisms for increased women representation in the 2016 election.
It was on the theme: “The Role of the Media in Increasing Women’s Participation in Election 2016”.
Ms Akrofi-Quarcoo said statistics show that parliamentary representation of women had been unstable, declining from eight per cent in 1992 to 10.8 per cent in 2004, falling again to 8.9 per cent in 2008 and rising to 10 per cent in 2012.
This statistics, she said, called for the need to make the public understand the essentials to vote for more women during elections.
Ms Akrofi-Quarcoo said women’s low representation within the national governance structure limited their valuable contributions to development and achievement of gender equality.
She said this had become an issue of global concern which must change as women had important roles to play in the development of their economies.
Women’s increased participation in politics and public discourse was vital to democratic governance, poverty and hunger reduction, elimination of violence, greater equality, and peace and security, Ms Akrofi-Quarcoo said.
The role of the media had become extremely critical for the smooth functioning of democracy as they helped to form public opinion, she said, and called for an end to the negative portrayal of women in high places.
“Women are not portrayed as the voters’ choice and the media use certain adjectives to describe them putting a question mark on their credentials and their successes,” she said.
Ms Akrofi-Quarcoo, thus urged the media, being the purveyors of news, to reverse the trend to ensure gender equality in the governance system.
Mrs Hamida Harrison, the Deputy Director of Abantu, said women had been relegated to the background for far too long and that must change to provide them the opportunity to participate in governance.
Citing Parliament as an example, she said; “Ghana cannot develop in the right direction if she has 51 per cent of her population as women and only 30 women are representatives in a Parliament of 230 seats”.
She, therefore, called for attitudinal change and the need to implement all conventions Ghana had signed to allow for higher representation of women in all spheres.