Accra, Jan. 28, GNA - An increase in women's participation in politics has been recognised as central to the nation's effort at achieving democratic governance. "An essential tenet of any democratic framework is the recognition and exercise of the political rights of both men and women. A gender-blind political agenda is far from being democratic and cannot be credible," Ms Adwoa Bame, Executive Director, Women Initiative and Self-Empowerment said on Monday.Ms Bame was speaking at a press conference organized by Women's Manifesto Coalition in collaboration with ABANTU for Development and Women in Broadcasting (WIB).
It was on 'Women as running mates for elections 2008'. Ms Bame called for institutional and electoral initiatives, including political parties to be committed to achieving an increase in the number of women in decision-making.
She noted that the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women of which Ghana was a party, enjoined all member states to take measures to promote women's participation in decision-making and public life. Ms Bame said there was the need take a critical look at the political, socio-economic and socio-cultural factors that contributed to women's under-representation in politics and other spheres of decision-making.
"Addressing the factors, which individually or collectively contribute to making women unmarketable for certain positions of decision making and public life is what we are calling for", Ms Bame said.
She said political factors, including the environment; the electoral systems and societal support for women must be addressed in tandem with socio-economic factors such as access to training, capacity building and education for women.
"Women need to rise above this socialisation and take up the challenge to contribute to decision-making processes for the general good of all," she added.
Ms Bame said appointing a woman Vice-president would be useful but was quick to add that it would have limited value if the underlying factors that prevented women from full participation in politics were not tackled.
Ms Sarah Akrofi-Quarcoo, President of WIB, said engendering politics went beyond giving equal participation to women but rather working to remove the practical and structural obstacles that hinder their effective involvement.
"It is also about opening the political space for all, who, for one reason or another are cut off the process. It is time for men to begin to see women's inclusion in decision-making and public life not as a "win-lose" situation but a recipe for true democracy", she said.