Kamis, 18 April 2013


RWANDA has spearheaded affirmative action leading to an increase in the number in women’s representation in that country’s parliament, with 56.25 per cent of members of the legislature being women.

World regional average representation of  women in parliament, released by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, dated February 1, 2013 placed Senegal 6th with 42.5 per cent female representation in parliament, South Africa 8th, with 42.3 per cent of women in the legislature, calculated on the basis of 54 permanent seats, excluding 36 special rotation delegates appointed on an ad hoc basis. Mozambique has 39.2 pe cent of women, Uganda has 35.0 per cent female representation in parliament and Angola, 34.1 per cent.

More efforts are being made to increase women’s representation in decision-making and gender quotas have increasingly been used as a tool for increasing gender equity in political representation.

During the 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, Ghana did not file any female presidential candidate as efforts by the former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings and Madam Akua Donkor to contest the elections on the tickets of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and the United Freedom Party (UFP) respectively, did not materialise as a result of their inability to meet the deadline for the filing of nominations at the Electoral Commission

For the parliamentary elections, 133 women out of the total of 1,332 parliamentary candidates contested the elections, as against 103 women who contested the elections in 2008. Out of the 133 candidates, 30 emerged victorious.

To help sustain the interest of female parliamentary candidates who contested in the 2012 elections but lost in their bid to go to parliament, ABANTU for Development, a non-governmental organisation, on Tuesday organised a consultation workshop for 30 non-elected women parliamentary candidates to strengthen their capacities for future elections.

The workshop was also to create an environment where participants could share their experiences and deliberate on lessons learnt from the elections and also utilise  the platform to enhance ongoing discussions  on how women’s increased representation and effective participation in politics and decision making in the country could be enhanced.

Also, the workshop was intended to develop an action plan on continuous advocacy on women’s representation and effective participation in elections and governance process in general.

Speaking on the topic, “ Women’s Candidature in Election 2012: Perspectives from the Electoral Commission of Ghana”, a Commissioner of the Electoral Commission Mrs Pauline Adobea Dadzawa said as the country continued on its path as a leader in democratic reforms in Africa, it was important that its achievements were reinforced by the progress in women’s political participation.

“Ghana has earned the title of one of Africa’s most hopeful democracy by making continuos progress in closing the gender gap in governance and ensuring that women participate in decision making at all levels,” she said.

She said as part of strategies for strengthening women’s participation in politics, the African Union should continue its cooperation with regional structures to strengthen electoral process.

Also, regional and national organisations should conduct an audit of performance against targets set by member countries adding that many African countries need to embark on deliberate electoral reform to ensure the advancement of women’s representation in governance.

She said amendments to existing constitutions should guarantee gender equality, as happened in South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia.

“Lobby groups should also advocate a 50-50 campaign in favour of ‘One man and one woman’ regardless of the electoral system adopted,” she added.

Mrs Dadzawa, however, recommended that government should actively promote and encourage candidacy of women candidate through the use of quotas that could be re-enforced through appropriate systems, adequate electoral systems and legal measures to emphasise women’s right.

She said the national constitution and other national legal frameworks, specifically family law, must guarantee women’s equal rights.

She also urged various political parties to promote the candidature of both men and women in elections, publish party lists with male and female candidates, and comply worth parity quotas regardless of whether or not they are voluntary.

The Resource Mobilisation and Sustainability Manager of ABANTU for Development, Mrs Hamida Harrison in her address reaffirmed the organisations commitment to strengthen the capacity of women who have demonstrated an interest in national leadership and public office.

“It is interrelated in our long-term development objective of mobilising, harnessing and sustaining the national will, especially of the women, exchange of knowledge and skills and mutual sharing of experiences and information to enable us stand up and demand for non-discriminatory and fair action that will recognise the rights of all,” she said.

She lauded the efforts of the women for exhibiting commitment, confidence and faith, adding that “By your candidature, you have reinforced the demands that women must be entitled to equal distribution of public, private responsibilities and that more equitable presence of men and women in political process is fundamental in redressing gender inequalities and imbalances”.

Mrs Harrison urged women to work collaboratively to ensure better response to their efforts, needs and concerns adding that they must work for enabling environments, tools and frameworks that will allow for a truly transformational social value system.

This, systems, she said must include the recognition and the creation of a gender playing field of equality of political rights and to allow not only the right to elect but also be elected.

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