Participants at a gender capacity building workshop for political parties have stressed the need for the various parties to make affirmative action a provision in their constitutions.
The participants, majority of who were women politicians, also called on the political parties to establish an empowerment fund to support women to contest for parliamentary seats and other key positions in their parties.
They noted that the issue of gender mainstreaming was extremely low in political party activities while for the past years manifestos of political parties during elections had been silent on issues relating to women and gender with few promises which were often not fulfilled.
There was, therefore, the need for the political parties to be gender sensitive and mainstream gender issues in all their activities, a communiqué issued at the end of the two-day workshop in Cape Coast for political party executives of the five major political parties said.
The parties comprise the New Patriotic Party, the National Democratic Congress, the Progressive People’s Party, the Convention People’s Party and the People’s National Convention.
The workshop, organised by the Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED), with sponsorship from the National Endowment for Democracy, brought together participants from the Greater Accra, Western, Volta and Central regions.
Issues discussed included commitment made by the various political parties in the lead-up to the 2012 general elections and its aftermath, the global view of gender mainstreaming, governance framework and structure and how to advocate and negotiate to reach a deal.
The communiqué called for a cross party network for women politicians of different political parties to interact and discuss issues that mitigated the progress of women in society.
It said women were largely used by political parties who contributed significantly to their development and as such must be given the needed recognition to be able to do more.
The communiqué said political parties were important institutions that played critical roles and that it was time they realised their important roles and acted accordingly.
“The political parties must begin to see the important role they play because they are not ordinary institutions but the biggest and highest institutions we have.
"They form government and government makes all the decisions and sign treaties on behalf of the country. So when we have the political parties understanding gender issues and having it as a working tool, some of the issue we are fighting about now would not be a concern,” it said.
Ms Esther Tawiah, the Executive Director of GenCED, said the training formed part of its electoral project to build the capacity of political party executives to understand gender related issues.